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Frankfurt show: Infiniti blends up a city-friendly concept

Join the Q: Infiniti’s latest design concept mashes up a city hatchback with coupe styling, and even blends in a bit of high-riding crossover.

Infiniti’s Q30 crossover hatchback concept redefines the design boundaries

27 Aug 2013

LUXURY car newcomer Infiniti has pulled the covers off a concept car that it says blurs the line between city-friendly hatchback, an alluring coupe and an adventure-bound soft-roader.

Due for an unveiling at next month’s Frankfurt motor show, the four-seat Q30 Concept features the same polarising mix of hard-edged lines and alluring curves as existing members of the Infiniti line-up, but with a few futuristic touches.

It will rival the Mercedes-Benz A-Class, Audi A3, BMW 1-Series and Lexus CT200h when it arrives in Australia in production form in about 2015 – if it gets the green light from Infiniti.

The Q30 is an advance on a previous concept from Infiniti unveiled in 2011. Called the Etherea, the earlier concept sported a supercharged 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine mated to a battery-powered electric motor, producing about 180kW of power.

However, while the Etherea was based on the same platform that underpins the Nissan Dualis and Renault Megane, the Q30 Concept is believed to wear mainly Mercedes-Benz underpinnings.

“The Infiniti Q30 Concept signals the contemporary design vision for a compact Infiniti vehicle which will target a new generation of premium customers,” the luxury arm of Japanese car-maker Nissan said in a statement today announcing the concept’s existence.

“Q30 Concept embodies Infiniti’s vision to deliver head-turning design, innovative materials with precise fit and finish and passionate craftsmanship, while provoking a radical shift in the premium compact segment. “ The car-maker said the Q30 was designed for younger customers seeking an alternative to traditional premium compact vehicles and are open to convention-challenging approaches.

“Infiniti is confident this merging of the dynamic design and sportiness of a coupe, the roominess of a hatch and the higher stance of a crossover will resonate with these customers,” it said.

Wearing headlights similar to those featured on the BMW Concept 4 Series unveiled earlier this year, the Concept Q30 shows a high-riding hatchback with hidden front door pulls similar to an Aston Martin, and short rear suicide doors with no visible handles.

There’s even a bit of Toyota RAV4 to the way the front guards end in a blunt surface that wraps around to the air intakes on either side of the scooped-out grille.

The side profile, including an ultra- short rear overhang, is reminiscent of Volvo’s C30 coupe.

The concept wears a soft-roader style black trim around the wheel arches and along the sill to give the impression of height, while the rocketship-styled glasshouse is rimmed in chrome.

The design also features the clamshell-style bonnet that helps with passing increasingly strict pedestrian impact laws by building up an air buffer between the bonnet and the hard points around the engine bay.

Few other details are known, including what will power the concept car once it makes the jump from the designer’s pen to the assembly line, however the car is expected to use a petrol-electric drivetrain mated to a continuously variable transmission.

The car is expected to sit below the Q50 sedan, which will cement the Infiniti line-up with a BMW 3 Series, Lexus IS and Mercedes-Benz C-Class rival.

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