So this is it, then. The first product to leave Infiniti’s assembly line in Sunderland, England after signing a deal with Daimler AG to co-develop select vehicles.
It’s fairly convenient in that Mercedes-Benz just released the GLA and A-Class models last year, the former sharing its underpinnings with the QX30, the latter with the Q30 hatch; both Infinitis are coming to Canada, but it remains to be seen whether or not the A-Class will arrive on our shores.
Thing is, the QX30 is a looker in its own right, standing as far apart from the GLA as Madonna does from Rosie O’Donell. It separates itself from the Q30 with a higher ride height and plastic cladding around the wheel wells. Otherwise, the two cars are very similar both in profile and stance, though the QX30 has a slightly wider rear track.
The QX30 benefits from Infiniti’s penchant for making unique-looking vehicles up and down the lineup; even the QX60, which is the one Infiniti model that deviates the least from its cousin in parent company Nissan’s stable – the Pathfinder – in the stylistic sense, has enough touches that clearly define it as an Infiniti.
Touches that the QX30 gets as well: the double-arch grille, sculpted body creases and flamboyant head- and taillight clusters are all present, and they do well to help the production car stay remarkably true to the concept, last seen at the 2015 New York Auto Show. It’s always refreshing when that occurs.
Inside, while the clock that has graced many an Infiniti centre stack didn’t make the cut, other features are standouts. The stubby gear lever, for instance; the last time I saw something remotely close to this was in a Mercedes. Not just any Mercedes, but the full-pull, V8-powered Mercedes-AMG GT S. Pretty Skookum stuff. You can use it do operate the QX30’s manual mode (a dual-clutch 7-speed automatic comes standard), but I have a feeling more buyers are going to opt to swap cogs with the wheel-mounted paddles, which also come as standard.
The 7-speed DCT is your gateway to the 2.0-litre turbo unit found under the hood (your only engine choice) that’s good for 208 horsepower, and if it matches the GLA 250 in that department, we expect it will be pretty close to the Merc’s 258 lb-ft of torque as well. That’s all well and good, but if what was being championed at the launch event on the eve of the 2015 LA Auto Show is any indication, the focal point is all on the handling.
Suspension duties are handled by ZF, with features like stiffened anti-roll bars and springs (to add stability, required thanks to the QX’s taller ride height over the Q30). AWD is also standard, with the ability to transfer up to 50 percent of power to the rear axle.
While most owners are likely to use their QX mainly for city use, Infiniti is targeting younger, more active buyers for the QX. Infiniti says that by 2020, the majority of buyers are going to be from gens X and Y, and they require a car that’s more an expression of “self” than “status”.
Assuming it’s priced right – nothing’s been announced in that department, but if the price of the current QX50 is any indication, expect the QX30 to sit just above the $30,000 mark – both myself and many of my colleagues at the launch figure the QX30 will sell in droves.
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