MOVIE favourite Buzz Lightyear sweetly proclaimed the impossible with his rousing catchphrase: ‘To infinity and beyond’. Well, the Toy Story hero’s declaration became reality for me – in a way – this week. For I found a car that goes beyond most, and it’s called an Infiniti.
The premium marque from Nissan certainly travels beyond in terms of luxury and equipment. The brand may not have a marked presence on our roads as yet, but Infiniti sold a record 101,220 cars around the world in the first six months of this year, up 30 per cent on 12 months ago. Infiniti increased its sales by 63 per cent in western European and aims to sell 500,000 cars per year by the end of the decade. The brand, which sells in 50 countries, is built in Japan and the US. Production in the UK is set to start soon. The Infiniti Q50 was among the finalists for the 2014 World Car of the Year and has just gone on sale in the UK.
Flush Magazine spent a week in a Q50S Hybrid AWD. The four-wheel drive, 3.5-litre petrol/electric 306 bhp sports saloon has a ‘direct response’ hybrid system, switching seamlessly between traditional fuel and electricity from a 50kilowatt (68bhp)battery. The company says the car will return a combined figure of 41.5mpg.
And, if that isn’t enough tech for you, the car boasts direct adaptive steering, a ‘digitally-enhanced steering connection’ no less. Inside there’s a kit-fest. With voice recognition you can set the sat-nav, phone a contact, and play audio tracks. And there’s a dual touch-screen system which connects to the driver’s smartphone. There’s so much more besides – powered and heated front seats with memory, heated, folding electric mirrors that automatically adjust for reversing, electric glass sunroof – the list goes on. Safety features abound, with electronic stability control, tyre pressure monitoring system and a rear view camera just a sample.
The Q50S is curvaceous, with supple lines that give it an immediate identity-boost over its more geometric Teutonic rivals.My only niggle was the foot-operated parking brake, which I initially found a bit awkward. With seemingly effortless power (155mph, 0-60 in 5.4secs), delivered to a driver swathed in leather and other luxury trims, Infiniti brings a superior experience. For those looking for smaller-engined variants there is a 2.2-litre direct injection turbo-diesel engine and a new four-cylinder turbocharged petrol, with 208hp, mated to a 7-speed automatic transmission.
The 1991cc petrol engine, showcased at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show has just made its sales debut in Europe. Over the next five years, Infiniti will increase its model range by 60 per cent and more than double the number of its power-trains. It is a powerful push for success, but in the conservative world of executive-express, status-symbolmotors there is no doubt more brand-building to come.
Price: £44,760 (inc options) OTR.
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