Sunday, 16 December 2018

Q50 is Infiniti more appealing if you want to cruise in comfort

THE time has come to talk of other things â?? to paraphrase Lewis Carroll â?? though

THE time has come to talk of other things â?? to paraphrase Lewis Carroll â?? though cabbages and kings are not quite what I had in mind.

I was thinking more of a car that might have popped right out of a wonderful poem such as The Walrus and the Carpenter because it is nothing if not an acquired taste.

The last time I drove an Infiniti Q50 was in a Georgian setting that definitely had a whiff of Carroll about it â?? the quirky cobbles and majestic splendour of the Royal Crescent in Bath.

But that Infiniti Q50 was a bigger beast. It sported a massive 3.7–litre V6 petrol engine, yet because it was also fitted with a direct response hybrid system it ghosted sedately across the cobbles with an air of aloof disdain.

This week’s drive, an Infiniti Q50 2.0T Sport Automatic, is a much more down–to–earth animal, sporting a less voluptuous 2.0–litre, four–cylinder direct injection turbocharged petrol engine.



And although they differ in feel and drive, they both have that pervading (and persuasive) air of luxury and comfort about them that I find most appealing. Maybe it’s my age.

Yet I have the feeling that Nissan, which makes Infiniti as its luxury brand, would rather the Q50 did not appeal simply to chaps like myself who these days rather enjoy cruising around in the lap of luxury.

In fact the Infiniti brochure calls this week’s drive “a truly dynamic sports saloon that masterfully blends luxurious refinements, uncompromising performance and determined efficiency”.

Let’s take each of those claims in turn: actually although the temptation is to be refined and sensible in the Q50, performance figures show it’s not so shabby when it comes to getting off the mark (0 to 62mph in 7.2 seconds).

The “luxurious refinements” cannot be argued with: personally I have always found the Infiniti range nice and comfy, thanks very much.

On economy I like that phrase “determined efficiency”. It shows that the brochure copywriter was determined to pick the mot juste.

I think he or she got the right one, too, though there are constant arguments these days about whether car makers’ fuel economy figures bear any relation to miles per gallon figures in the real world. But 43.5mpg on the combined cycle for a biggish car such as the Q50 is not bad going. And one senses a “determined” effort by Infiniti, like the majority of manufacturers these days, to produce engines that are as fuel–efficient as they can possibly make them.

I found as always that driving economy is as much about the way you drive as the car you are driving. Obviously a gas–gulping V8 or V12 is going to burn fuel. That could be said of a two–litre turbocharged petrol engine if you keep your foot hard to the floor at every opportunity. But not many people drive around like that now, though you get the feeling some would if they could.

The turbocharged petrol engine is one of my favourites. Fitted to the Q50 you can really make the car fly. Turbo petrol engines display none of the histrionics of turbo–diesels, though of course modern versions of the latter are much more refined: you would be hard pressed to find any turbo lag around these days.

In the real world of mid–executive motoring, I think the Q50 is an exotic: it somehow to me transcends the biff and bang of fleet cars that charge up and down our motorways every day of the week manned by stressed salespeople.

The Q50 is I’m sure quite capable of joining them and being a high–miler, eating up motorway stretches and taking a tough working schedule in its stride. Yet somehow I always feel the Infiniti is destined for higher things, maybe because its first port of call seems to be to perch at the luxury end of the marketplace.

For example, the interior, with its Infiniti Aluminium front door sills, pedals and footrest, Kacchu Aluminium interior trim and leather seat facings, seem to me a penchant for leather–and–steel interiors you might find in a modern apartment in London’s Canary Wharf. Not everyone’s cup of tea but a modern (some might say stark) take on today’s design values nevertheless.

So maybe the Q50 is for you. Maybe its Multimedia pack (£2,760) with Infiniti navigation, BOSE Premium audio system with 14–speaker sound system (which produces lovely sound) and DAB digital radio is enough to attract you. The Safety Shield pack (£2,080) that includes blind spot wand lane departure warning is aimed to keep you safe. If the Infiniti is to your taste and your pocket, the possibilities are many, infinite even.



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