With the help of erstwhile competitor Mercedes-Benz, Infiniti is the latest luxury maker to target the fast-growing compact segment. The Japanese maker is giving us a full preview of the new Infiniti Q30 hatchback ahead of its formal debut at the Franfkrtu Motor Show this week.
The Q30 and the soon-to-come QX30 crossover will be the smallest offerings in the rapidly expanding Infiniti line-up. The two models share the same underlying platform as the Mercedes CLA and GLA models, but feature distinctly different interior and exterior designs. They pick up the latest Inifiniti cues, such as the distinctive boomerang kick to the back pillar.
“Q30 makes a daring visual statement through its sculpted, concept car-like exterior, unconventional stance and asymmetric cabin design,” suggests Infiniti President Roland Krueger. “The car has been engineered to exacting standards to deliver a driving experience that is unmistakably Infiniti. Q30 will accelerate the company’s strategy to become a leading global manufacturer of premium cars.”
The Infiniti Q30 will be offered in three distinctive trims, including two “bespoke versions,” dubbed Premium and Sport, which the maker claims will have slightly different designs, dimensions and driving dynamics. The base and Premium models, for example, have a height of 58.9 inches. The Sport model sits about an inch lower.
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The basic styling won’t come as a shock, though. The Infiniti Q30 picks up on some familiar design details, including the grille, coupe-like greenhouse and boomerang pillar design. A sharp crease rolls off the front fenders, plunging downward and then back up towards the taillights, linking together the front and rear door handles. The back end features wraparound LED taillamps and twin chromed exhaust ports.
“Infiniti is an expression of design. We want our customers to feel the hand of the artist at work in the sculpted, muscular aesthetic of our cars,” explains Alfonso Albaisa, the brand’s global chief designer. “Q30 design is marked by turbulent character lines and sculptural shapes that look stretched over bone and muscle. The effect is a spontaneous feeling of harmonious design that can be appreciated at a glance.”
The cabin takes on an asymmetric appearance, with a wave like shape that, Albaisa notes flows away from the driver. The idea was to give a more active experience to the driver while enhancing the sense of openness for passengers.
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Though this is considered an entry-luxury segment, Infiniti aimed to create a more upscale feel with soft-touch materials in areas passengers would contact, and with the use of suede-like Dinamica fabric for the roof liner and pillars.
Extensive use of noise-reducing materials has been complemented by an Active Noise Cancellation system.
Optional sport seats feature integrated headrests, and the Infiniti Q30 Sport gets a flat-bottomed steering wheel and aluminum pedals.
The new Infiniti Q30 uses a MacPherson strut front suspension with a multilink rear. The car also gets a speed-sensitive electric power-assist steering system.
The Q30 will be offered with a variety of different powertrain options. In Europe, that will include a 1.6-liter gas engine with output of either 120 or 154 horsepower, as well as two diesels. The U.S. will only get a 208-hp 2.0-liter inline-four. Transmission choices will be a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.
In keeping with luxury market trends, the Infiniti Q30 will feature a variety of safety features, including Blind Spot Warning, Forward Collision Warning with Emergency Braking, Moving Object Detection, and more. There’s active cruise control, Auto High Beam Assist, Automatic Park Assist and an Around View Monitor.
Expect to see the Q30 begin to roll into showrooms late this year. The QX30 will follow in early 2016.
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