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Infiniti confirmed for 2012 Australian arrival

Slick: Infiniti's G37 convertible will be among the first models to arrive during the brand's Australian re-launch in 2012.

2012 local launch for Nissan premium brand as UK gets freshened G range

Infiniti logo9 Mar 2011

By HAITHAM RAZAGUI

JAPANESE luxury brand Infiniti will be re-launched in Australia next year, GoAuto has learned ahead of an official announcement expected in coming weeks.

Nissan Australia head of corporate communications Jeff Fisher told GoAuto of the Infiniti brand, “It’s arriving next year, although we have not yet nailed down a specific date. We are setting up a dedicated team to manage the brand and [Nissan Australia’s managing director and CEO] Dan Thompson will preside over Infiniti.”

The news comes as the European-delivered 3 Series-rivalling Infiniti G range receives a refresh for 2011 – comprising three models that will no doubt lead Infiniti’s Australian offensive.

The revised and simplified G range, comprising sedan, coupe and convertible is now all-automatic, with new paint finishes and alloy wheel designs.

A seven-speed adaptive transmission with paddle-shifts is now standard across the range, the options list has been pared back and the number of variants has been reduced from nine in the sedan range to four, the five coupe variants have been trimmed back to three and the convertible is now only available in top-spec GT Premium guise.

The G sedan range, now available with ‘Malbec Black’ exterior paint, opens with the rear-drive G37, with bi-Xenon headlights that swivel with the steering, power-adjustable front seats and 18-inch alloy wheels.

16 center imageNext up is the G37x GT, equipped with all-wheel drive and adding heated leather seats while the G37x GT Premium gains adaptive cruise control, satellite navigation, reversing camera, sunroof and 10-speaker Bose sound system with 30GB of music storage.

Topping the sedan range is the rear-drive G37 S Premium with four-wheel active steering, limited-slip differential, sports suspension and upgraded brakes plus all the toys from the AWD GT Premium.

The coupe line-up, which in addition to ‘Malbec Black’ paint is available in ‘Lapis Blue’ is rear-drive only and available in GT and S Premium trim, which badge-for-badge, equal the equipment of the sedan.

The Coupe in S trim has the four-wheel stering, limited-slip differential, sports suspension and upgraded brakes of the S Premium but loses the 10-speaker sound system and sat nav.

The rear-drive, folding hard-top G37 GT Premium convertible tops the G range with 19-inch wheels, climate-controled seats, 13-speaker Bose sound system with head-rest mounted speakers and the option of ‘Monaco’ red leather upholstery and red-stained maple wood interior trim.

All Infiniti G models are powered by a 231kW 3.7-litre V6 closely related to that of the Nissan 370Z, enabling every model to reach 100km/h in six seconds or under and continue to a top speed of 250km/h (240km/h for AWD-equipped models).

Infiniti’s unsuccessful first encounter with the Australian market in the mid-1990s comprised of a single large rear-drive sedan called Q45 sold through Nissan dealerships.

Until recently, Infinitis were largely designed for the US market and thus available only in left-hand drive but a return Down Under has been made possible because of the right-hand drive engineering for the UK market.

As GoAuto has reported, Nissan Australia planned to launch Infiniti earlier but put it on hold as it weathered the global financial crisis.

A full Infiniti model line-up has been promised for Australia, which will include sedans, coupes and SUVs as seen in Europe.

Nissan Australia managing director and CEO Dan Thompson told GoAuto in February last year that Infiniti has always figured in the company’s future model plans, as part of its GT2012 (Growth and Trust 2012) program created in 2008 to get Nissan Australia back on to its corporate feet and into a period of sustained growth and prosperity.

“My intention is before the end of GT2012 we will see the Infiniti brand in Australia," said Mr Thompson.

A compact Infiniti concept, the Etherea hatchback, was premiered at the Geneva show this month, hinting at the brand’s intention to go head-to-head with the BMW 1 Series, Audi A3 and Lexus CT200h.

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