Based on the concept that first saw the light of day at the 2013 edition of Frankfurt, this compact family hatchback shares its platform with the market-leading Mercedes A-Class and will make for an interesting comparison with other up-market compact hatches such as the Audi A3, BMW 1 Series and Lexus CT.
In the two years since the Q30 was first revealed in prototype form, the admittedly eye-catching styling has rightly been left un-tinkered with. Chrome-plated trim, rather than plastic chrome, gives the Q30 a touch of genuine class and is complemented nicely by trim that frames the shapely and high-cut wheel arches. The Q30’s long, low-slung roof-line glides handsomely downwards to meet the hatchback tailgate.
At launch, the standard SE model will be joined by two higher spec Infiniti Q30 variants. The luxury-centred Premium edition has an elevated stance for better comfort on the road as well as extra standard equipment on offer including LED front fog lamps, heated door mirrors, chrome dual rectangular exhaust pipes and 18-inch alloy wheels.
Opt for the Sport version, however, and the Q30 drops an extra 15mm closer to the road, giving a firmer ride, and reducing body roll in the corners. The Q30 Sport looks the part too with a more aggressive rear bumper, dark chrome exhausts, custom body-coloured side sills and bulkier 19-inch alloys.
The Q30 will be bestowed by a plethora of engine options from launch. These range from a 154bhp 1.6-litre petrol unit to a pair of four cylinder diesels in the form of the 107bhp 1.5-litre and the more brutish 168bhp 2.2-litre. Thise opting for either Premium or ‘Sport spec will have the further option of a 2.0-litre, petrol engine to mull over, with its 208 horses on tap. Whatever the powertrain, the compact Q30 comes with a choice of fully automatic or manual six-speed transmission to cater for all tastes and preferences.
Tech such as Active Noise Cancellation, which emits sound waves from the four door speakers to drown out the murmuring of the engine combined with interior sound-damping materials, renders the Q30 cabin a pleasant and tranquil place to travel in. The touch-screen infotainment system is carried over from the Q50 premium saloon.
Why is the Q30 such a significant car for a relative newcomer to the European premium sector? Because, for the first time, Infiniti is building a portfolio that throws down the gauntlet to the established western heavyweights on all fronts; from sports saloons and premium SUVs to luxury compacts. And to reinforce its here-to-stay mantra, Infiniti is taking the significant step of making the Q30 its first ever European-built model.
To be assembled at the Nissan plant in Sunderland at newly-upgraded production facilities in Sunderland, the Infiniti Q30 active compact will go on sale in selected markets later in 2015 with first deliveries expected in January 2016 for the UK.