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Exclusive: Police target Infiniti Q50 for patrol car

Blues and twos: Infiniti joins the long shopping list for a suitable highway patrol car that also includes Chrysler, Ford and Subaru.

Police keen on testing forthcoming performance Infiniti Q50 for highway duties

Infiniti logo30 Aug 2016

AUSTRALIAN police forces have asked to sample a version of Infiniti’s incoming Q50 performance variant, as it continues to assess replacements for its Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon highway patrol fleet.

GoAuto has learned that the rear-wheel-drive twin-turbo V6-powered four-door, due to launch in Australia in September, has been earmarked for highway patrol duty assessment by more than one Australian police department, including those from New South Wales and Victoria.

The news comes as police forces widen their search for highway patrol vehicles across a number of importers, including Chrysler, Subaru and Ford.

Outright performance is no longer a prerequisite for a highway patrol car, which differ in specification from what are known as ‘general duty’ cars. States such as Tasmania enforce a ‘no pursuit’ rule, for example, which decreases the need for a high-powered vehicle.

Potential cars are put through a set of rigorous tests that include repeated high speed-to-stop sequences that quickly expose weaknesses in drivelines and brakes.

An ability to transport suspects safely in the rear seat is also a requirement, along with sufficient boot space for signs, traffic cones and other equipment.

While Australian specifications are yet to be announced, the rear-wheel-drive Q50 High Performance will be offered globally in two different tunes from Nissan’s VR30 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 – 224kW/400Nm and 298kW/475Nm.

Infiniti also offers an all-wheel-drive V6 hybrid version of the Q50, which may be under consideration for general duty usage in areas like the Victorian and NSW high countries.

Infiniti Cars Australia was unable to provide GoAuto with any information about the proposal.

A spokesperson from the NSW Police Force told GoAuto that the decision on a replacement for the current fleet of Falcons and Commodores is still some time away.

“We are in discussion with a number of manufacturers at the moment, but no decision has been taken,” said the spokesperson.

Falcons and Commodores will still be on active duty on Australian roads until at least 2020, with the typical duty cycle of a Highway Patrol car currently at three years.

Meanwhile, two other importers are currently in negotiations with the NSW police to supply highway patrol cars.

Subaru’s four-door WRX sedan is again under consideration, after small modifications to the car’s braking system were performed to rectify an issue found during police testing at its driver training facility in Goulburn.

Subaru Australia declined to comment, but it is understood that police are happy with the performance and capabilities of the base model WRX, which is fitted with a continuously variable transmission (CVT), all-wheel drive and 2.0-litre turbocharged engine.

Another potential replacement could come from Chrysler, with company sources suggesting that the company’s 300 SRT has passed all testing requirements, and that sign-off on a final order is awaiting administrative clearance at a NSW government level.

Ford’s Mustang has been spotted in full NSW Highway Patrol trim, serving as a so-called ‘community engagement’ car. The V8-powered GT has also been undergoing off-site development to fix an overheating issue that was discovered during testing.

The two-door coupe is low on the list of full-line replacements, however, thanks to its cramped rear seats.

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