Do you happen to be old and lazy enough to put a sloth to shame? I’m sorry, but the Infiniti Q30 is probably not the luxury car for you. Don’t worry, there’s always Lincoln. But if you’re young and active and looking for something different, Infiniti has a very compelling car for you.
[Full disclosure: Infiniti flew me to Lisbon and gave me enough seafood to make sure I didn’t try to drive their test car all the way into the ocean.]
The Q30 is a big deal for Infiniti. It’s their first “global premium compact” car, built in Nissan’s Sunderland plant in England. Since it’s based on the Mercedes-Benz GLA crossover, it uses German engines and gearboxes as well as a few other bits from the Mercedes bin.
But with the suspension, software package and design both inside and out being Infiniti’s own, you’re looking at way more than a rebadged GLA. Before getting into what’s it like to spend some time in the Q30, let me walk you through all the fairy tales Infiniti felt important to share with us:
- We don’t know exactly what the Q30 is, but it’s certainly not a hatchback, nor a crossover.
- That’s because it sits lower than a crossover, but higher than a hatchback. What more proof do you need?
- This new, segment-spanning vehicle concept has an in your face attitude inspired even by poetry, so it’s safe to assume it will attract a new generation of premium buyers all over the world.
Get all that? What’s that, no? Never mind. Let’s just start with the exterior then.
Two years ago at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the Q30 Concept seemed to have all the swoops in the world, and now, I’m happy to report that the production version kept them all.
Those two lines are pretty daring on the side going all the way from the front to the rear, and with those thin A-pillars leading up to the low-slung roofline finished off with the C-pillar design they call “crescent cut”, the overall picture makes the Q30 look rather dynamic from almost any angle.
The grill features a gloss black double-arch 3D mesh and the Sport version I got the drive has different, more aggressive bumpers as well. The exterior felt like a win to me mostly because despite being bigger than your regular hatchback at 14.51 feet, the Q30 doesn’t look bloated at all. The same could not be said about the Mercedes GLA, so that’s a job well done.
The interior is a bit more conservative than the packaging, but at least everything is very clear and easy to use.
On the dash, you get lots and lots of buttons plus a 7-inch touchscreen, with Infiniti’s own software doing the rest. The Mercedes-Benz buttons on the steering wheel work just fine with that.
The Q30 Premium’s Nappa Leather trim is replaced by Alcantara in the Sport, but even the sportier seats felt comfortable enough for a long journey. The trunk will swallow 368 liters of your active lifestyle, which ain’t bad.
Infiniti also managed to create the quietest cabin in the segment. The claimed number is 10 percent lower than what the competition has, and it seems to be spot on because the Q30 is very civilized on the road indeed, even with the Sport sitting 15mm closer to the ground on 19-inch wheels. The most powerful 2.2 diesel even got active noise cancellation to keep that quality.
The suspension plays a huge role in that too. Once again, it’s Infiniti’s own development, and the aim was to end up with a comfortable ride that won’t disappoint with too much body roll at a pace either. They played around a lot with the damper- and spring rebound rates, and the results are quite impressive.
Being a global product like all upcoming Infinitis will be from now on, the Q30 will have to work on any road surfaces, so they even used two different geometries depending on the weight of the engine, since the difference can be as much as 264 pounds. That’s one fat person in your engine bay.
So, the ride part is fine, they made sure of that, but how about the handling?
Humorously enough, the car I drove won’t make it into the U.S., because I had the 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder with 208 HP and 258 pound-feet of torque and all-wheel drive. Infiniti will keep the AWD drivetrain exclusive to the QX30 crossover in America, which will debut with a bunch of new Infiniti engines at the Los Angeles Auto Show.