Japanese luxury car manufacturer Infiniti has unleashed its latest weapon in the battle against the established luxury marques from Germany. The company hopes its Q50, which is designed and to be built in Europe, will be the David to the German Goliaths that are the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class.
Infiniti’s secret weapon in this fight is, ironically, Mercedes. The company has a strategic partnership with Merc’s parent company Daimler, which has provided the Infiniti Q50 with a 2.2-litre diesel engine that will boost the car’s appeal to fleet customers and those looking for a luxury vehicle with low running costs.
The Infiniti Q50’s 2.2-iltre four-cylinder diesel uses a single turbocharger to produce a healthy 170PS and an even healthier 400Nm of torque – enough to take it from 0-62mph in ‘under 9 seconds’. More importantly, the engine will return in the region of 64mpg while producing CO2 emissions of 115g/km (final figures will be confirmed closer to the car’s launch).
The Infiniti Q50 will also be available as a performance-oriented hybrid. In this configuration, the Q50 uses a 3.5-litre V6 engine mated to an electric motor, which produce a combined output of 364PS – enough for a 0-62mph sprint time of 5.5 seconds. Emissions in this model are a claimed 145g/km.
The Infiniti Q50 uses a number of clever technological firsts. Chief among these is the optional Direct Adaptive Steering (steer by wire) system that does away with the physical link between the steering column and the wheels. Instead, the car relies on electronics, much as a modern aircraft might, to facilitate more precise control. Q50 drivers can choose from a number of steering modes, which can make the car more responsive to smaller steering inputs (ideal for enthusiastic driving) or increases the ease with which the driver can turn the wheel.
Other Q50 technologies include Active Lane Control, which ‘magnetizes’ the car to whatever lane it’s in, helping prevent accidental lane drifting. It also features a forward-facing radar sensor that automatically applies the brakes if it detects the car in front (or even the car in front of the car in front) initiating an emergency stop. In addition, the Q50 features a clever back-up collision intervention system that detects cars approaching the vehicle as it reverses out of blind spaces. The system can apply the brakes in such cases if it believes a collision is imminent.
Infiniti has yet to reveal pricing information for the Q50, but expect it to be competitive with its 3-series and C-Class rivals.
Watch out for a full preview and further information shortly.