Infiniti Q50 2.0t

Sport

Infiniti Q50 2.0T, front, action
Infiniti Q50 2.0T, head on
Infiniti Q50 2.0T, side, action
Infiniti Q50 2.0T, side, static
Infiniti Q50 2.0T, rear
Infiniti Q50 2.0T, boot
Infiniti Q50 2.0T, interior

THE latest recruit to Infiniti's line-up is a 2.0-litre petrol-powered version of its Q50 saloon.

It complements a 2.2-litre diesel and a 3.5-litre petrol-electric hybrid for the compact executive saloon designed to compete with the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class

While a 2.0-litre petrol model might not top the list for company car customers, private buyers might be advised to take a look at an alternative which in many ways offers a lot.

As Infiniti continues to build its brand in the UK, seven years after launching here, buyers are wooed with the kind of equipment list that would require a hefty additional outlay with competing marques. Added to that Infiniti claims to offer exemplary customer service.

The Q50 represents a serious step-up from its predecessor the G37 and crucially sits more in the mainstream with looks that aren't a million miles away from a BMW, though interestingly it bears more of a resemblance to a 5 Series than a 3 Series.

Overall it has classy and up-market design lines, with enough distinctive Infiniti styling flourishes here and there to set it apart.

It's a well put together vehicle with the kind if fit and finish one would associate with a premium brand and high quality switchgear and soft plastics abound.

The equipment list is generous. Although the 2.0t is only available in Premium and Sport trims (not SE), you do get a lot for your money.

A Premium model, which costs £31,755, comes with leather upholstery, heated front seats, dual zone climate control, tyre pressure monitors, rear view camera and Bluetooth and USB connectivity.

This car, the Sport, costs £34,125 and standard equipment also includes 19-inch alloy wheels, aluminium pedals and LED lights.

However, given the fairly generous standard equipment this car did have a couple of optional extras that offer much but do add significantly to the price tag.

The first was a £2,760 Multimedia Pack, which includes a decent sat-nav and a great Bose sound system, but is the only way to get DAB radio, something which is standard on a lot of competitors.

However a strong case can be made for the Safety Shield Pack - which costs £2,080.

This includes adaptive cruise control, a lane departure system and blind spot monitoring but also some suitably advanced collision prevention systems that could prove to be life-saving.

The Forward Emergency Braking technology not only monitors the speed and distance of cars in front but will even take control in an emergency and bring the vehicle to a halt if necessary. Similar technology comes into force when reversing.

Another example of advanced technology is the steer by wire system known as DAS (Direct Adaptive Steering). Arguably it takes a little acclimatising to but overall it does the job well enough and offers a selection of settings.

The cabin is reasonably roomy with comfortable and supportive seats, though the rear wheel drive mechanism imposes constraints when it comes to legroom for a passenger travelling in the rear middle seat. The boot though is generously-sized offering 500 litres of space.

While the 2.0-litre petrol engine, which like the diesel unit has been sourced from Mercedes-Benz, has limitations in terms of running costs - it also has some significant strengths.

Smooth, quiet and refined, in many respects it trumps the diesel and delivers pleasingly potent performance. Emissions-wise it doesn't fare badly. The Premium version emits 146g/km of CO2 while the larger 19-inch alloys of the Sport see that figure increase to 151g/km. Real world fuel economy is likely to be in the mid-thirties.

The 2.0t is only offered as an automatic, unlike the diesel, but the seven-speed automatic gearbox is smooth and slick and there's also a choice of driving modes which includes Standard, Sport and Snow.

I preferred the Sport mode over Standard for everyday driving, maximising performance at the expense of economy, though it still seemed reasonably frugal for a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine.

The Q50 handles well and delivers a decent and engaging drive and the ride is comfortable and smooth, though the larger alloys on the Sport do mean the ride is firmer.

Infiniti has big growth plans in Europe for 2015 and while the 2.0t is unlikely to play a major part in that, accounting for an estimated 10 per cent of Q50 sales, it nonetheless represents a welcome addition to the range.

FAST FACTS

Infiniti Q50 2.0t Sport

Price:£34,125

Mechanical: 208bhp, 1,991cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving rear wheels via 7-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 152mph

0-62mph: 7.2 seconds

Combined MPG: 43.5

Insurance Group: 40

C02 emissions: 151g/km

Bik rating:23%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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