New Infiniti Compact Breaks Cover Ahead of Frankfurt Debut

Although it’s a relatively inexpensive vehicle type, Infiniti says it spared no expense for its first C-car, promising “superior fit-and-finish details, both visible and tactile, across all grades.”

September 14, 2015

4 Min Read
Infiniti Q30 Mercedes AClass derived
Infiniti Q30 Mercedes A-Class derived.

Infiniti releases full details of its new Q30 compact ahead of the car’s Tuesday debut at the 2015 Frankfurt auto show.

The Nissan-owned luxury brand is pinning a sizable portion of its global growth aspirations on the new Q30, a coupe-like hatchback based on joint-venture partner Daimler’s Mercedes CLA platform and on sale later this year in select global markets.

With 136,700 global sales this year through August, and an eventual goal of half-a-million units looming for the brand in the next decade, “The Q30 gives Infiniti the best platform from which to achieve its goals in key markets globally,” Infiniti says in a statement.

The Q30 is aimed at Generation X and Y premium-car buyers, who favor expressing individuality in their vehicle choice compared with using their car as a status symbol.

“The company’s inspiration was to create a vehicle that mirrored the existence of a new generation of premium buyers,” says Francois Bacon, vice president-product strategy for Infiniti.

With that in mind, Infiniti says every design decision for the Q30 was made for the individual. For instance, alloy wheels are laser-cut to precisely fit an accent color.

“The process is so precise that the bespoke colored lines can be as thin as 0.01 ins. (0.3 mm),” Infiniti says.

Although it’s a relatively inexpensive vehicle type, Infiniti says it spared no expense for its first C-car, promising “superior fit-and-finish details, both visible and tactile, across all grades.”

Satin-chrome-plated trim is used in lieu of less-expensive plastic chrome, and black-lacquer trim is employed on wheel arches and side sills.

Interior color combinations include City Black upholstery with purple stitching, Café Teak brown and black upholstery with black stitching and Gallery White leather with red accents.

Infiniti uses a new Italian-made faux suede, Dinamica, on the roofline and pillars of the Q30.

The luxury brand promises a quiet cabin, due to an active noise cancellation system. There is a claimed 10% improvement in audibility over leading segment entrants at 75 mph (120 km/h).

While the car looks tall, Infiniti says its overall height, 58-59 ins. (1,475-1,495 mm), is comparable to traditional compacts.

Infiniti says the car feels large, with “highly competitive” cabin room and cargo space that is among the best in the premium compact segment.

Design cues include twisting and flowing body lines, a shallow side glass area, a tweaked version of the brand’s signature double-arch grille with 3-D mesh, forward-motion C-pillars and a long, low-slung roofline.

Q30 Premium grades get LED front fog lamps and 18-in. alloy wheels, while the Q30 Sport has a bespoke front bumper and glossy black grille, as well as body-colored side sills and 19-in. alloy wheels.

The Q30 has three grades, base, Sport and Premium, with varied suspension settings. The base and Premium grades are best suited to reducing vibration and harshness on urban roads, while the Q30 Sport has a firmed ride with reduced body roll. It also has a 0.6-in. (15-mm) lower ground clearance than the base and Premium grades.

The base model in Europe will be powered by a 1.6L gasoline 4-cyl. making either 120 hp or 154 hp. Two 4-cyl. diesels are available, a 107-hp 1.5L or 168-hp 2.2L.

Premium and Sport grades have a 208-hp, 2.0L gas 4-cyl., which will be the sole engine in the Q30 sold in the U.S. No word if this is the Mercedes 2.0L turbocharged four Nissan is building for both automakers at its Decherd, TN, plant.

A 7-speed dual-clutch looks to be the standard transmission, with Infiniti noting a 6-speed manual is available.

The 7-speed DCT offers “smooth and seamless” shifting, with “almost uninterrupted” torque between gear changes to limit lurching.

Like most new luxury cars, the Q30 is chock-full of advanced technologies, including automatic park assist with around-view monitor and moving-object detection, blindspot warning, forward-collision warning with forward emergency braking, auto-high-beam assist and intelligent cruise control.

About the latter technology, Infiniti says, in a first for the brand, a special metal plating method now allows the ICC’s radar waves to pass through the Infiniti badge.

More than 750 Infiniti engineers in Japan and Europe developed the Q30, with a goal of creating “a dynamic driving experience unique to Infiniti” that strikes a balance between ride and handling.

Engineers debated 50 different shock-absorber settings before settling on one, Infiniti says, adding bump-shock rates and shock-absorber rebound rates also were specially tuned to make the car “forgiving and comfortable, without sacrificing agility.”

A MacPherson front-strut suspension was chosen for its tight packaging possibilities, and a rear multilink suspension has precise wheel control in many conditions, Infiniti says.

The car’s electric power steering is intuitive and speed-sensitive, claimed to offer a consistent and connected feel.

The Q30 will be the first-ever Infiniti to be built in Europe, at Nissan’s recently updated Sunderland, U.K., plant. Nissan invested €250 million ($283 million) in Sunderland to grow its capacity and ready it for premium-vehicle manufacturing. Some 300 new jobs have been added at the U.K. facility for Q30 production.

A former Infiniti U.S. executive told WardsAuto earlier this year the car would not arrive in the U.S. until 2016.

[email protected]

Subscribe to a WardsAuto newsletter today!
Get the latest automotive news delivered daily or weekly. With 5 newsletters to choose from, each curated by our Editors, you can decide what matters to you most.

You May Also Like