After receiving a late invitation to the British Grand Prix last weekend I arrived, late, at the Europcar desk at Heathrow Airport. As every frequent rental car user, I decided to try my luck at free upgrade from my economy ride for the weekend. Free didn’t come my way, but I was offered an Infiniti Q30 for what felt like a very reasonable additional fee. (after a bit of healthy negotiation)
Having become familiar with the brand name through Formula One with both Red Bull Racing and more recently the Renault F1 team, I was excited to be finally trying out an Infiniti model for myself. My car at home is a 2009 BMW 330, this feels like an appropriate benchmark for the Q30.
Stepping inside the cabin of the Q30 is a very pleasant experience. In racking up around 30,000KM’s per year, mainly on motorways I’ve become very picky about a quality interior. The interior is made up of a high quality materials produced to a high standard, suede upholstery with purple stitching was a great touch! There is a sense of familiarity to the switch gear in the Q30, mainly due the fact that much of it is shared with the Mercedes A Class / GLA. This is no bad thing, systems are easy to navigate and on the whole fairly intuitive.
Heading on to the motorway you get a feel for where the Q30 is most at home. The ride is self assured, not too soft, but not as harsh as you might expect from a German peer. The 7 speed automatic is responsive with a more than capable on-board management system, it’s very rare to find the Q30 grappling for gears. The Q30 has all the driver alerts you expect to find in a modern car, lane change and closing distance alerts, adaptive cruise control and blind spot warnings. Heading up from Heathrow to Silverstone was a breeze, the Q30 is a very pleasant place to find yourself. I did have some issues with the DAB radio, but I’ll put that down to user rather than system!
Over the course of the next few days the Q30 was put through it’s paces through back roads and tracks, trying to avoid the infamous Silverstone traffic. I have to say compared to the BMW this is where the Q30 comes a little unstuck. The road holding and vehicle dynamics do fall slightly short of the sector leaders. That being said the Q30 never feels unstable, it remains more than capable.
Another neat feature of the Q30, perfect for post race traffic jams, is the all round camera. From the central screen you can monitor how close you are to surrounding obstructions with ease, taking a lot of the stress of not paying for additional car insurance out of my rental experience!
The styling of the Q30 may not be to everyone’s taste. It is a large car for what it is. the loading space and rear leg room are not industry leading, but in all honesty I imagine they will be more than sufficient for the typical owner. I personally found the exterior of the car very appealing, it’s a car with which you will stand out from the crowd. It reminded me of the Renault Avantime project (pictured) seeking to create a new sub category within an existing model range.
When returning the Q30 to Europcar I found myself wondering If I would actually consider buying one for myself. To be honest, probably not. There is a lot I like about the car, and a lot I haven’t mentioned in this review. The fuel economy for example for a 2.2 litre engine was very impressive. The fact that it is built in Sunderland would let me feel like I’m doing something good for the UK, but would I buy it? With the specification I would want on the car the cost would be around £30,000. Which is more than I would feel conformable spending on a car in this category. So in short: No. I would however seriously consider leasing it! Being part of the Renault Nissan alliance, Infiniti are able to offer very attractive rates should you be on the market.
Model – Infiniti Q30
- Engine: 2.2 Diesel
- 7 Speed automatic
- Lease rates from £180- 280 PCM