2017 Infiniti Q30 is a Better Looking Benz
Beneath its flowing lines, the new 2017 Infiniti Q30 is a Mercedes-Benz. The products of joint development, the Infiniti Q30 and the Mercedes A-Class (not for U.S. sale) have plenty in common as far as their underlying engineering is concerned. Additionally, the Q30 is built in the United Kingdom and exported to markets around the world.
What’s in store for Americans from this English, German, and Japanese mash up? The new Q30 sits higher on the road like a crossover, is equipped with the same powertrain as a Mercedes GLA250, and serves as the new entry-level model for Infiniti, likely putting its starting price at just over $30,000.
Calling the Q30 an “active compact,” Infiniti claims that its newest model features “coupe-like proportions,” “defies categorization,” and is “designed for a new generation of buyers who are not willing to be defined by their choice of vehicle body type.”
You can see what Infiniti is trying to do here. The Q30 is a 5-door hatchback that sits up nice and high, like a curvaceous Kia Soul, but Infiniti needs to sell it as an upscale lifestyle choice to the Generation X and Y buyers who the company expects will buy this model, people who will find the Q30 appealing because it represents an expression of self rather than status.
Based on first impressions, it would appear that Infiniti is trying too hard. The Q30 is genuinely attractive, inside and out, more so than a Mercedes GLA. Combine this design with what should prove to be an appealing price tag, decent performance, and a modicum of utility, and the Q30 should attract plenty of new customers to Infiniti showrooms.
For the U.S. market, Premium and Sport trim levels will be available, the latter wearing a Q30S badge, subtle styling revisions, and 19-in. aluminum wheels. The Q30S will also sit a little lower on a sport-tuned suspension, and the driver will enjoy a flat-bottom steering wheel and aluminum pedal covers.
Signature exterior design cues for all Q30 models include a double-arch grille with a mesh insert, double wave hood design, and crescent-shaped rear roof pillars that Infiniti says conjure “the image of a rakish shooting brake.” In case you’re wondering, Google says that “shooting brake” is a dated British expression for “station wagon.”
Infiniti describes the new Q30’s interior aesthetic as asymmetrical with wave shapes and dynamic lines that twist apart and away from the driver. Promising “perceptual quality that meets the standards of the segment,” Infiniti employs soft-touch materials, available Dinamica simulated suede, and sound-dampening efforts to ensure a quiet cabin. Designer-style interior color combinations will include City Black, Café Teak, and Gallery White.
Because the Q30 sits higher off the ground than a traditional car, it is easier to get into and out of. Infiniti says it has paid particular attention to the Q30’s seat designs in order to deliver the best comfort in the segment. Behind the rear seat, cargo space is tight, measuring 13 cu. ft. When the rear seat is folded there is more room for your luggage, if not additional passengers.
A next-generation version of Infiniti’s InTouch infotainment system will be offered in the 2017 Q30, featuring a new tablet-style interface. Technology-related options include Automatic Park Assist with Around View Monitoring and Moving Object Detection, adaptive cruise control with forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring system, and automatic high-beam headlights.
Sourced from Mercedes, a turbocharged, 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine is bolted into the Q30, rated to make 208 horsepower and 258 lb.-ft. of torque. A 7-speed dual-clutch transmission is standard for the U.S. market, featuring paddle shifters and delivering power to the front wheels. Photography shows European-market Q30 models with “AWD” badges; rumor has it these may be called QX30 in the States.
An Active Sound Enhancement system is designed to provide a more pleasurable and engaging engine tone during acceleration. The Q30 sits on a MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension with ride and handling characteristics that were tuned in Europe, and the speed-sensitive electric steering delivers what the automaker says is “consistent and connected feel.”
Equipped with Infiniti’s expressive styling, featuring German engineering and European driving dynamics, and offering what is sure to prove an impressive value equation, the 2017 Q30 should find success with Americans who have a seemingly insatiable thirst for crossovers. And that’s what this Infiniti is, whether it’s got a Q30 or a QX30 badge on the liftgate.