Q50 2.2D Auto Premium
is the premium brand of
Nissan, just as Lexus is for Toyota.
In the UK, Infiniti is probably better
known for its role as title sponsor
and vehicle performance partner
of Red Bull F1 Racing...
APART FROM THE NEW Q50 saloon, the Infiniti range consists of the Q60 Coupe
and Cabriolet models, the Q70 saloon, and the QX50 and QX70 4x4 SUVs.
With a limited range of relatively expensive models and a small dealer network
(there are just nine Infiniti Centres), sales of Infiniti cars in the UK has
been very low: just 232 in 2010, 382 in 2011, 530 in 2012 and only 386 in 2013.
However, for the first seven months of this year sales have improved by 34%,
with 357 registrations, due mainly to the arrival of the Q50 executive range
of saloons offering both diesel and petrol-hybrid power options that have allowed
them to become more effective in the company car and business user-chooser markets.
new 2.0-litre, 208bhp, four-cylinder, lightweight turbocharged petrol engine,
built in Tennessee, USA, by the Renault-Nissan Alliance and Daimler for the
Mercedes C-Class, will soon be joining the Q50 line-up.
The four-door Q50
Saloon, with its coupe
side profile styling and
powered by the 167bhp
with a seven-speed
autobox (both with
will appeal to high-
mileage users who like
to travel in some luxury
And a high-performance 'Eau Rouge' 3.8-litre V6 560bhp version
that takes its name from the famous F1 Spa circuit has recently
been displayed at various shows and motoring events.
the arrival of the new 2.0-litre petrol models, the Q50 range has been powered
by a 167bhp 2.2-litre turbodiesel and featured rear-wheel drive. There are also
359bhp 3.6-litre petrol/electric hybrid versions, one with rear-wheel drive
and one with all-wheel drive.
Spec levels are SE, Premium, Sport, S Hybrid and, primarily for business users,
Executive and Premium Executive. Hybrid versions use an automatic transmission
while diesel models offer a choice of manual and automatic gearboxes. Prices
range from £27,950 to £41,815.
My Infiniti experience was with the current best-selling Q50 model, the 2.2D
Auto Premium priced at £31,900. It's an alternative to the volume-selling BMW
3-Series, Audi A4, Mercedes C-Class, the VW Passat, and Volvo S60
so exclusivity could be the major appeal of the Q50.
The four-door Q50 Saloon, with its coupe side profile styling and powered by
the 2.2-litre turbodiesel with a seven-speed autobox (both with Mercedes-Benz
lineage), will appeal to high-mileage users who like to travel in some luxury
The engine sets no new standards in this executive sector in fact
it is still only Euro 5 compliant so it will soon need updates to meet the 2015
Euro 6 emission regulations.
grumbles audibly on cold start-up but once underway is quiet. With 167bhp, but
more importantly a high torque output of 295lb ft from 1,600rpm, it offers linear
and responsive performance right through its rev-range, all smoothly delivered
to the rear wheels through the seven-speed auto. Occasionally the gearshifts
felt on the slow side but then we have become used to the snappier performance
from the latest twin-clutch automatics.
speed is 143mph with zero to 62mph acceleration taking 8.5 seconds, which is
a shade slower than most of its rivals. In common with the competition, the
Q50 has a driving mode selector providing Standard, Snow, Sport and Personal
settings that can be applied to the car's performance. I actually felt Standard
to be the best driving mode.
The diesel engine
officially returns 58.9mpg
in the Combined Cycle
but on my test covering
town, country and motorway routes,
the real-life figure was
The Q50's fuel economy and CO2 emissions set no new standards for the class:
the diesel engine officially returns 58.9mpg in the Combined Cycle but on my
test covering town, country and motorway routes, the real-life figure was 46.3mpg
not too shabby given the car's relatively heavy weight (1,750kg)
which is also significantly more than that of its main competitors.
With regard to emissions, the official figure is 124g/km which means no road
tax for the first year and then £110 for the second year onwards; both more
than the BMW 320d and Merc C220 CDI. For company car users this means a Benefit-in-Kind
tax of 20% (more than the 18% of the BMW, Merc and Volvo S60) although the same
as the Audi A4 2.0 TDI auto and 2% less than the VW Passat 2.0 TDI.
As for ride comfort, Yes, the Q50 impresses in that department and felt well
balanced with its front engine and rear-wheel drive layout. Americans like a
quiet and comfortable ride from their sedans, and the USA is Infiniti's best-selling
market but even so the road noise intrusion for a car of this perceived quality
is too high the culprit may have been the optional 18-inch wheels
fitted to my test car although it could also have been down to the run-flat
tyres that are fitted to all European models.
Breaking away from the usual hard-edged European styling lines, the Q50 is big
and more curvaceous and, to some extent, imposing and classy and
an alternative to the rep-mobile image of the fleet-friendly BMW 3-Series and
the classy upmarket theme continues with a comprehensive array of equipment.
With the Premium spec it has most of the key kit including comfy leather-upholstered
seats. While it's roomy in the front, it's slightly short of legroom in the
rear and the centre rear passenger will have to put up with the transmission
Breaking away from the
European styling lines,
the Q50 is big and more
to some extent, imposing
'twin cockpit' fascia design includes two touchscreens, numerous controls and
switches that look a bit too much 'gadgetry'. Sometimes less is actually more.
Not included as standard is SatNav, even for this grade of model.
function comes as part of a £2,760 Multimedia pack; the Safety Shield pack with
intelligent cruise control, lane departure warning, blind spot warning, predictive
forward collision function and distance control assist are part of another £2,080
option. Checking the spec list, I found my £31,900 test car had nearly £10,000
worth of options.
Looking to be different from buying or leasing one of the mainstream premium
German brand models offers no price advantage for the Q50. However, core reasons
to buy include plenty of standard specification (but still with plenty of options
to suit your budget), and a comfortable front cabin.
Downsides include the very small UK dealer network (nine Infiniti Centres although
a tenth is currently under construction in Newcastle), noisy engine on cold
start-up, road noise intrusion; and it's not as dynamic to drive as, say, a
BMW 320. But then, what price rarity value?
Infiniti Q50 2.2D Auto Premium
Maximum speed: 143mph | 0-62mph: 8.5 seconds | Test Average: 46.3mpg
Power: 167bhp | Torque: 295lb ft | CO2 124g/km