• Mercedes four-cyl turbopetrol engine
• 155kW/350Nm, seven-speed auto
• Another powertrain option
CAPE TOWN, Western Cape - Infiniti South Africa has added a two-litre petrol model to its luxury Q50 sedan range whose diesel and V6 petrol/hybrid sisters were launched almost exactly four months earlier (June 2014).
That launch was in the backwoods of kwaZulu-Natal; this week's Q50 2.0 event was in the now ever-so-green Western Cape on a disappointingly untaxing driving route from the Steenberg Hotel in Tokai, along the False Bay coastal road then inland towards Somerset West and Stellenbosch with a break for lunch at the Overture restaurant at Hidden Valley Wines, Stellenbosch.
Fun drive not, but the two-litre, Mercedes-derived, engine didn't disappoint - 155kW/350Nm is a lot of clout when you want to overtake - and neither did the continuing superb quality of the car's build. Though Infiniti is sharing Mercedes power, it doesn't aim to chase fans of the three-pointed star; nope, Infiniti sees itself as aiming for younger customers...
GALLERY: Original Q50 launch images
Base prices at the time of the previously-launched models in June 2014 were R399 000, R429 000 and R474 000 for the 2.2-litre, 125kW/400Nm diesels and R559 000 for the rear-wheel drive 3.5-litre V6 261kW/536Nm hybrid (R584 000 with all-wheel drive) though each offered customisation with a choice of wheel rims and tyre sizes, a sunroof and a number of add-on “packs”.
GALLERY: Q50 two-litre turbo
The latest Q50's modern, light, four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine (sourced from Daimler and modified by Infiniti) develops 155kW from 5500rpm and 350Nm from 1250-3500rpm and also sends drive to the rear wheels through a seven-speed auto transmission. Being pushed is so much nicer than being dragged...
Fuel consumption is listed as seven litres/100km.
The latest Q50's prices knit in well with those of the earlier diesel models at
R430 000 for the Premium model
R477 000 for the Sport.
Each is sold with a five-year or 100 000 maintenance plan (service intervals 20 000km) and a five-year warranty and here's what you get on the two basic models:
Premium (R430 000) comes with: stop/start button, rear-view camera, drive mode selector, Bluetooth, airbags, cruise control with speed limiter, heatable power external mirrors, halogen auto-levelling headlights, LED front and rear foul-weather lights, parking sensors, auto wipers, two touch-screens, two USB slots, dual-zone aircon, multifunction steering-wheel, keyless entry, 17" alloy rims and run-flat tyres, leather upholstery (front seats heatable), auto-dimming rear-view mirror, tyre-pressure monitors and a seven-speed auto transmission.
Sport (R477 000) adds (or replaces with) 18” triple-spoke rims, front sport bumper, daytime running lights, aluminium trim, power front-seat adjustment, powered steering-column adjustment, ‘intelligent’ keys with memories for users and their personal in-car settings, magnesium steering-wheel gearshift paddles, aluminium pedals, folding and reversing-synchronisation for the external mirrors, and ‘welcome’ lighting.
Over the next five years (from Oct 2014), Infiniti says, it will increase its model range by 60% and more than double the number of power trains. By the end of 2015 there will be nine Q models: until this week SA had the QX70, QX50, Q70 and Q60, now there is also the two-litre Q50.
GET PERSONAL WITH YOUR CAR
Coming are a Q70 facelift and in mid-2015 will arrive a Q30 and Q70 with, towards the end of that year, the awesome QX80. The company’s George Stegmann explained that these cars would consolidate Infiniti’s re-establishment in South Africa and accelerate the brand on a growth path intended to run until 2020 at which time Infiniti hopes to achieve a global sales target of 500 000 – “it’s a long-term investment”, Stegmann said.
The all-new Infiniti Q50, the automaker adds, can also be personalised with a wide range of standalone options that include a sunroof, 18 or 19" alloy rims and Infiniti’s navigation system. However, to simplify matters, here are the five option packs priced the same as thoses of the earlier models back in June 2014:
Multimedia pack – R30 800: Satnav and Bose audio with 14 speakers (no, really!).
Welcome Pack (already on Sport and hybrid models) – R21 800: Tyre-pressure monitoring with individual display, power and heatable external mirrors with folding and reversing synchronisation, intelligent key with smart access and enhanced memory, welcome lighting system, powered adjustment for rake and reach on the steering column, powered front seat adjustment with memory and powered lumbar support for the driver.
Visibility pack – R20 310: Adaptive front lighting, auto high beam and around-view monitor with moving object detection for clear and safe parking.
Steering Pack (standard on Hybrid Sport models) – R12 000: Direct adaptive steering and active lane control to give a more customised and precise feel to the steering while maintaining a more central path within a lane without the need for minor steering adjustments.
Safety Shield Pack – R27 000: Intelligent cruise-control, lane departure warning and prevention, blind-spot warning and intervention, forward emergency braking, predictive forward collision warning, distance control assist and reversing collision intervention.
Eight exterior paint colours are available (as described by Infiniti): Obsidian Black, Moonlight White, Liquid Platinum, Graphite Shadow, Hagane Blue, Chestnut Bronze, Venetian Ruby and Malbec Black. Metallic paint adds R3000.
'ROOM FOR COMPETITION'
Present at the Cape launch was Francois Goupil de Bouille, Infiniti's vice-president for Europe, Russia, the Middle East and Africa, a man patently - and rightly so! - proud of his products but willing to admit that taking on the German Big 3 at their own game is not possible.
"However," he added during a chat at the launch, "there is room for competition - for an alternative - and Infiniti is the premium challenger as a Euro-rival. Our competitors have set the standard very high... we have to match them.
"We will fail if we just copy the Germans. Our own designs must attract the customers; we will also score on innovation and technology and the Q50 is a key asset to help put us become a member of the premier club."
• For more on the whole Infiniti Q50 range go to the Infiniti website.