Motoring / Motoring News

Glen Hill
4 minute read
25 Jun 2014
10:00 am

Reaching for Infiniti

Glen Hill

The launch of the Infiniti Q50 in South Africa marks much more than merely the addition of another model to a range.

Worldwide the Q50 marks the beginning of a new era for Infiniti and brings with it a whole new nomenclature and focus. In South Africa the company has been fairly quiet waiting for its new “Q” designated ranges to be released to market.

I suspect we will see a higher profile from the brand from here on in.

Formula One fans will be familiar with the Infiniti name and logo as it is emblazoned across the Red Bull Racing team’s world championship winning cars. Infiniti like this association, as their vehicles have a sporty focus and they have their sights squarely focused on BMW customers, for example.

That is certainly fighting talk, as the German manufacturer is one of the most trusted in the world. However, luxury brands in South Africa are as strong. Our salary scales are distorted and this is reflected in how well luxury vehicles sell in our relatively small market. Infiniti therefore offer a serious opportunity to distinguish yourself, without having to compromise on the quality of the experience – in the case of the Q50 – while catering to the customer looking for something that sits sort of in between a 3- and 5-series in terms of size.

The 2.2-litre diesel priced from R399 000 starts the Q50 range and comes with a high level of standard equipment, including 17-inch alloy wheels and run-flat tyres. LED lighting is used in the rear light units, the front fog lights and the turn indicators integrated into the door mirrors, which are also heated and colour coded. Chrome-trimmed twin exhaust pipes and halogen daytime running lights enhance the car’s sporty presence.

The dashboard features Infiniti’s all-new InTouch system which boasts not one, but two LCD VGA touch screens along with a fully customisable digital environment. Audio is provided by a six-speaker system featuring a CD player, Bluetooth streaming, USB/iPod connectivity and voice-operated control. For the more musical perfectionist an advanced Bose system can be chosen from one of the many available options.

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The inside temperature is maintained by a dual-zone adaptive climate control system which features auto recirculation through a grape polyphenol filter to purify the air. The rear seats feature a 60/40 split and a ski hatch (not on Hybrid), while a multi-function leather-bound steering wheel and stylish front aluminium door sill protectors round things off.

Technology is high on the agenda with standard fitment of cruise control, speed limiter, stop start, hill start assist, rear view camera, rain sensing wipers and keyless entry. Safety systems include vehicle dynamic control, including active trace and traction control, tyre pressure warning and brake assist.

Moving up a step is the Premium grade, which adds R30 000 to the price of the Q50 2.2-litre diesel. The additional cost provides leather-trimmed seats, available in three colour choices: Graphite, Stone or Wheat. An automatic dimming rear view mirror is also included. Premium grade comes with a choice of interior trim ranging from the sporty look of Kacchu aluminium to the more luxury appeal of maplewood.

Starting at R 474 000, the Sport grade adds a more aggressive look with a different design to the front bumper section. Further differentiating the Sport model are distinctive LED headlamps, LED daytime running lights and 18-inch triple-spoke lightweight alloy wheels, also with run-flat tyres.

Inside the sporty Kacchu aluminium trim, a choice of either Graphite or Stone coloured leather is used. The front power-operated seats incorporate a more sporty design with a firmer hold and a memory function. The driver’s seat also benefits from additional and powered lumbar support while the steering wheel can be power-adjusted for reach and rake.

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The hybrid versions start at R559 000 and are aimed at performance rather than economy and come in either rear wheel drive or all-wheel drive options. They also use Direct Adaptive Steering (DAS), “steer by wire” technology. DAS provides the driver with the ability to adjust both the steering’s response and weight to suit personal preferences and style of driving. Integral to DAS is Active Lane Control which reduces the amount of driver adjustments needed to stay in the chosen lane on motorways.

The performance Hybrid Q50 is fitted with a 3.5-litre V6 engine capable of delivering 0-100km/h acceleration in a claimed 5.1 seconds. Sports suspension, regenerative braking and sports brakes are all standard. To warn pedestrians when the car is moving at slow speeds while in full electric mode, an external noise system is fitted.

The all-new Infiniti Q50 can also be personalised with a wide range of stand-alone options that include sunroof, 18 and 19-inch alloy wheels and Infiniti’s navigation system. However, to simplify matters there are also five different option packs: a Multimedia pack, a Welcome Pack (standard on Sport and Hybrid models) a Visibility pack, a Steering Pack (standard on Hybrid Sport models) and a Safety Shield Pack.

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