Infiniti Q70 2.2D

Premium

Infiniti Q70, front
Infiniti Q70, front
Infiniti Q70, front
Infiniti Q70, front
Infiniti Q70, side
Infiniti Q70, rear
Infiniti Q70, interior
Infiniti Q70, interior
Infiniti Q70, rear
Infiniti Q70, interior

THINGS are looking up for Infiniti at the moment with record-breaking worldwide sales in 2015 rolling over into the first month of the New Year.

The latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders showed that the Hong Kong-based luxury car maker posted a 72 per cent increase in UK registrations in January compared to the same month last year.

That followed an increase in sales nationally of more than 60 percent last year over 2014 and helped the company to its 17th straight month of year-on-year sales rises worldwide.

Although the stats look impressive they represent a modest 1,195 actual vehicles shifted off UK forecourts last year and another 105 in January - so there's some way to go before the brand enjoys the popularity here that it has in America and the fast-emerging Chinese market.

The trend is in the right direction, though, and it has to be remembered that Infiniti has only been around since 1989 - and arguably only started seriously pushing itself in Europe much more recently.

A highly successful link-up with the Red Bull Formula One team helped to raise the profile and sales have been given some real momentum by the arrival in showrooms of the Q30 hatchback soon to be followed by the QX30, Infiniti's entry into the hugely popular compact crossover class.

Known as the M saloon before Infiniti renamed its entire range in 2013, the Q70 has, in contrast, been a stalwart of the marque's fleet for some time and offers an intriguingalternative to the primarily German fare in the executive saloon stakes.

A bold curvaceous design sets the Q70 apart from its competitors in the looks department, with a long, sleek profile and twin tailpipes giving it a sporty flourish.

Diesel, petrol and petrol-electric hybrid powertrains are available with four trim grades - Premium, Premium Tech, Sport and Sport Tech.

Coming in at £33,400 the 2.2-litre Premium diesel I drove is the entry-level model - although it has a far from entry-level feel about it.

Leather, veneer and soft touch surfaces give the cabin a really upmarket feel and there is an abundance of high-tech gadgetry on board including satnav, front and rear parking sensors, rearview camera, electronically adjustable front seats, keyless entry and ignition and dual-zone climate control.

There is plenty of room for four adults to get comfortable with good head and legroom in the rear seats - although the intrusive transmission tunnel means that the middle seat in the back is probably best left for children.

Personal storage space is good with a large glovebox and generous compartments in the centre console and rear drop-down armrest, while the boot is a generous size at 450 litres.

The 2.2-litre diesel engine was introduced to the range last year, replacing the previous 3.6-litre V6 option and brought improvements in economy that will increase the Q70's appeal to business users - so important in this class.

Fuel economy of nearly 60 miles per gallon on average and carbon emissions of 124g/km can be beaten by some rivals but are much better than the previous powertrain and mean that running costs are kept in check.

There is some compromise in performance with the smaller engine, the 0-62mph benchmark sprint taking almost nine seconds, but a top speed of 137mph is still impressive and, if you avoid Sport models, the Q70 is undeniably set up for a less hurried and more relaxed drive.

The seven-speed automatic transmission is a little hesitant when a swift injection of speed calls for more rapid shifts but otherwise smooth and the suspension takes most road surfaces in its stride to provide a settled ride.

FAST FACTS

Infiniti Q70 2.2D Premium

Price: £33,400

Mechanical: 170ps, 2,143cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving rear wheels via 7-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 137mph

0-62mph: 8.9 seconds

Combined MPG: 58.9

Insurance Group:35

C02 emissions:124g/km

Bik rating:23%

Warranty: 3yrs/62,137 miles

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