The Infiniti Q30 Premiere: Should Lexus and BMW Be Afraid?
Infiniti has just announced that its first swing at creating what it calls a “Premium Active Compact” is ready for a world premiere at the International Frankfurt Motor Show in September this year, and that the all-new Q30 “represents a category-breaking vehicle concept developed for customers seeking urban individuality.” Jumping into the deep end of the pool at the last moment in order to swim with the rest of the kids may sound foolish to some, many forget that Infiniti has actually been testing the water for a while, and now might be the time for the luxury Nissan-offshoot to head for the springboard, as this car could be a real cannonball for them.
It’s been almost two years since the Q30 first made its North American debut at the L.A. Auto Show, and it’s now set for a public premiere that comes exactly two years after a prelude at the 2013 Frankfurt show. While a lot has transpired since its first unveiling, there is little doubt that the target market and theme for the car remains unwavering, as Infiniti strives to offer the next generation of luxury car buyer with a vehicle that has been virtually tailor-made to their demographic.
Smaller, tighter, sportier, and cheekier than anything to date, the Q30 is set to to compete with the likes of Lexus’s NX 200t and BMW’s X1, and with final testing and development in Europe now complete, rumors are saying that the car will carry with it many of the design cues it offered while on display at past auto shows. “Design is a key pillar of the Infiniti brand, and the new Q30 Active Compact perfectly embodies this approach,” said Infiniti president Roland Krueger. “The Q30 Active Compact delivers the distinctive design, the driving dynamics and the individuality that our customers expect of an Infiniti vehicle. With our first ever entry in the compact car segment, we continue the product offensive and provide additional options for our discerning customers.”
Slated for assembly in Sunderland, England, the Q30’s unlikely birthplace will make the U.K. the fourth country in three continents to manufacture Infiniti vehicles. But the unassumingly opulent automaker has more than one trick up its sleeve with this car, and it has everything to do with an unlikely European ally.
In 2013 the luxury automaker forecasted that the compact premium segment was set for what it calls “significant growth with the entry of young-minded affluent customers.”According to Infiniti the sharp-looking Q30 has been designed to reflect the kind of person who would own one, as it has an unmistakable “contemporary, individualized character” to it that has been cherry-picked for the next generation of premium customer. And while wealthy hipsters are indeed a living phenomenon, it is hard to imagine them giving up their overpriced Vespa scooters and designer bicycles right away for a high-ticket import luxury compact crossover.
“The Q30 Concept has a compact footprint geared to the global trend of younger customers entering the premium sector in search of a product that suits their urban lifestyle,” then vice-president of America’s Infiniti, Michael Bartsch said. Sharing design cues with the Infiniti Q50, and looking all the world like the more refined twin of the QX30, the Q30 blends the sportiness of a coupe with the roominess of a hatchback, and carries with it the elevated stance and presence of a full-blown crossover. Utilizing Infiniti’s “dual wave” effect via the use of dissymmetry, the sculpted visual appeal of the concept Q30 is by no means hard on the eyes, yet it still runs the risk of a receiving a massive cosmetic overhaul, which would then put it on the same path trodden by the designers over at Scion, who thought dumbing-down the new iM would be a good idea.
But thus far Infiniti representatives have held their word, and the concept model is rolling to Frankfurt virtually unchanged from the renderings you see here. Further, it is not a rebadged Nissan, or something resurrected from a discard pile found somewhere within the automaker’s design studio. According to Car and Driver, the new Q30 is a “re-skinned Mercedes-Benz A-class/GLA-class,” and it will feature the same peppy turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, an identical front-wheel drive layout, and seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. This all comes to be courtesy of a technology-sharing agreement that is currently in place between Daimler and Nissan-Renault, and with the GLA AMG set for even more insane amounts of power, the wishful thinkers in us are holding our breath for a high horsepower Q30 Sport Model.
So as the Infiniti brand prepares itself for its September 15 showing of the Q30, there is a feeling that the pool party might already be at capacity, and that yet another compact crossover is not going to set the automotive world ablaze. But with “younger-minded premium customers” inspiring the Q30 design team, and a fat slice of the pie still missing, Infiniti might actually be able to pull this one off, as it readies itself for diving into a new market head first.