Nissan’s luxury brand attempts to grab a slice of the burgeoning sporty hatchback market.
By Ghaith Madadha
By Ghaith Madadha
Long known for creating lusty, luxurious, and distinctly sporty saloons, coupes and SUVs, the Q30 is Infiniti’s stab at broadening the brand’s appeal. At the sporty and premium end of the C-segment hatchback market, the Q30 is distinctly more European than one might expect under its swoopy styling.
The Q30 is built in the UK and pitched squarely at the likes of the Audi Q3 and BMW 1-Series. Its European lineage is not derived from the French side of the Renault-Nissan Alliance. Rather than being based on something like a Renault Megane, the Infiniti Q30 is instead a product of a more selective two-way platform sharing, small ‘a’ alliance with Mercedes-Benz. It is built on the same platform as the Mercedes A-Class, and shares engines, gearbox, and much more with its German competitor.
The Q30 features several Mercedes-sourced engine options, including a 2-liter, four-wheel-drive unit powering the range-topping Q30 S model as driven. Sitting 20 mm lower than the rest of the range, the Q30S 2.0T AWD variant rides on larger 19-inch alloys shod with wider, low profile 235/45R19 tires.
Its low rearwards cabin design better fits with Infiniti’s other mostly rear-drive derived models, despite a transverse engine, front-drive based platform.
The Q30 S features a wide and snouty mesh grille flanked by deep intakes and slim moody headlights. Under its curvy bonnet, its turbocharged direct injection 2-liter four-cylinder engine drives all four wheels through a quick and smooth shifting 7-speed automated dual clutch gearbox, all shared with the Mercedes A250 4Matic.
Developing 208 BHP at 5500 rpm and 258 lb/ft torque throughout a wide 1200-4000 rpm mid-range, the Q30 S offers a muscular and punchy drive. Accelerating through 0-100 km/h in 7.3 seconds and capable of 230 km/h, the Q30 S’ generous mid-range torque allows for confident cruising, overtaking, and inclines, while underwriting eagerly progressive power accumulation. It also returns frugal 5.5l/100 km combined fuel efficiency with a stop/start system and seven gear ratios.
The Q30 S is eminently flickable yet confident through snaking country lanes. Steering is quick, light, and precise. It is eager yet committed through corners, with reassuring road-holding and front-biased four-wheel-drive reallocating power rearwards when needed. Firmer, lower, and tauter through corners, the Q30 S’ sport suspension also provides settled and buttoned down vertical control. It is also crisp through corners with progressive and easily correctable understeer and oversteer if pushed too aggressively.
The Q30 S rides on taut suspension and low profile tires at speed, but is nonetheless smooth and forgiving over imperfections. Meanwhile, its driving position is lower than typical hatchbacks, and affords a sporty hunkered down ambiance with a chunky steering wheel and long bonnet ahead. Well-adjustable, body hugging, and comfortable ‘S’ sports seats provide a good driving position, but non-integrated headrests would be better. It is elegantly sporty and provides decent rear space and a 430-liter luggage volume.
The Q30 S is well-equipped with soft texture and quality materials, convenience, tech and safety features. It uses some Mercedes-sourced switchgear, but cabin design and infotainment system—with voice recognition and smartphone integration—are Infiniti’s own. A standard panoramic sunroof gives an airy ambiance but slightly reduces headroom from models without it. Fitted with standard parking sensors, lane departure warning, 360-degree monitor, adaptive brake assistance, and forward collision warning and stop systems, the vehicle’s optional Tech Package adds intelligent cruise control and blind spot warning.
Engine: 2-liter, turbocharged 4-cylinders
Gearbox: 7-speed dual clutch automated, four-wheel-drive
0-100 km/h: 7.3 seconds
Top speed: 230 km/h
Power, BHP (PS) [kW]: 208 (211)  @5500rpm
Torque, lb/ft (Nm): 258 (350) @1200-4000 rpm
Fuel consumption: 6-liters/100km
Length: 4425 mm
Width: 1805 mm
Height: 1475 mm
Steering: Electric-assisted, rack and pinion
Turning circle: 11.4 meters
Suspension, F/R: MacPherson struts / multi-link