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Frankfurt show: Infiniti aims big with Q30

Going on 30: The Q30 shares some of its underpinnings with the Mercedes-Benz A-Class and it will be joined by its QX30 crossover twin soon.

Infiniti steps up sales potential with Q30 premium compact contender


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15 Sep 2015

THE key to Infiniti’s fortunes next year will be the Q30 premium compact hatch, which has made its world premiere at the Frankfurt motor show and is expected to be the brand’s top-seller in Australia.

Infiniti is calling its first entry into the fast-growing segment already inhabited by the Audi A3, BMW’s 1 Series and the Mercedes-Benz A-Class (with which its shares much mechanically, along with the GLA and CLA models) an “active compact” and it will have an important role in global growth plans.

The Q30 will become the company’s first European-built vehicle, to be produced at recently upgraded production facilities in Sunderland in the United Kingdom, part of a £250 million ($A540m) investment.

Bringing much of the styling of the Q30 concept car unveiled at the same motor show in 2013, the Q30 will arrive in the second quarter of next year in Australia, with a three-pronged model line-up incorporating an entry level car as well as Premium and Sport variants.

Infiniti is aiming to attract a new breed of premium customers, seeking “go anywhere attitude” while being at home in the city with what it calls “urban individuality”.

The Australian range will be front-wheel drive only, although some northern hemisphere markets to get all-wheel drive variants - leaving those interested in all-wheel drive to wait several months until the QX30 SUV arrives in the third quarter of 2016.

Base and Premium versions measure 1495mm high, while the Sport model is 20mm lower in height, sitting on suspension more attuned to sharp handling.

The variants will also include styling and feature differences, with the Q30 Premium distinguished by LED front fog-lights, body-coloured and heated exterior mirrors, as well as chrome dual rectangular exhaust tips and 18-inch alloy wheels.

The lower-slung Sport gets altered bumper profiles, a gloss-black front grille, body-coloured side sills, dark-chrome dual rectangular exhaust tips, a leather-wrapped flat-bottomed steering wheel, aluminium pedals and 19-inch alloy wheels.

Buyers will also be able to further tailor the interiors with a choice of trim colour packages. ‘City Black’ offers black upholstery with purple stitching ‘Cafe Teak’ consists of brown and black upholstery with black stitching ‘Gallery White’ is a high-contrast white leather with red accents.

Infiniti is claiming class-competitive cabin space, as well as a boot capacity of 368 litres which it says ranks among the best in the premium compact segment.

Cabin quietness is also claimed as among the best in class, assisted by active noise cancellation in the larger diesel, sound-insulation materials and on selected models an active sound enhancement system.

Developed by engineering teams in Japan and Europe, the engineers tested over 50 prototype variations of the MacPherson front and multi-link rear suspension system and the speed-sensitive power steering.

Drivetrain choices for Australia are yet to be locked in but the engine line-up for the base version starts with a 1.6-litre petrol engine producing 90kW or 115kW, as well as 1.5 and 2.2-litre diesel powerplants with peak power of 80kW and 125kW respectively.

Premium and Sport use a 155kW 2.0-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine and the Q30 will be offered with a choice of a six-speed manual gearbox or seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

Among the driver assistance systems offered on the Q30 are an auto-parking system with 360-degree camera display, blind-spot warning, forward collision warning with emergency braking, automatic high beam and active cruise control.

The Q30 will also feature an upgraded version of the Q50’s InTouch infotainment system when it goes on sale in selected markets later this year.

The Q30 will be joined in the Infiniti line-up by its QX30 compact crossover sibling that is expected to make its debut at the Los Angeles motor show in November this year.

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