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Infiniti Q50 (2013) first look at Infiniti's 3-series fighter

By Ollie Kew

First Official Pictures

14 January 2013 16:00

Infiniti is launching an attack on the posh small saloon market with this, the new Q50. The first Infiniti to use the new Q badging structure, it's designed to grab your attention away from German default choices like the Audi A4 and BMW 3-series.

No surprises with the Infiniti Q50's styling then?

It's bulbous, covered in creases, and has hints of Lexus and Jaguar about it. It's typically Infiniti, but can it stand out against the outlandish new Lexus IS? Tell us your thoughts by clicking 'Add your comment' below. Infiniti claims the shape of the curvy body develops 'zero lift', and gives easier cabin access than the outgoing G37.

Inside, the tall centre stack is dominated by two touchscreens: the top screen shows your most popular functions, like sat-nav and radio playback, with other car functions displayed on the lower screen. Smartphone syncing is standard, and the Q50 will support downloadable apps for increased functionality.

What's under the Infiniti Q50's bonnet?

Details for the US-market engines are the only ones so far released, and predictably, there's no UK fleet market-friendly diesel among them. Instead, you can have a 328bhp 3.7-litre petrol V6, or a 3.5-litre petrol V6 teamed with a lithium-ion battery hybrid system, good for 360bhp and 457lb ft. Both powertrains are available in rear-wheel drive or Infiniti's 'Intelligent All-Wheel Drive' layout, and come matched to a seven-speed automatic transmission only. Drivers can override the auto via optional steering wheel-mounted magnesium paddleshifters.

CAR understands UK-bound Q50s will hop on the downsizing bandwagon and opt for turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol and diesel four-pots, sourced from parent-brand Nissan and its tie-up with Renault.

Any other tech highlights in the Infiniti Q50?

What might raise eyebrows is the drive-by wire steering, which can indepently alter each front tyre's angle and steering inputs electronically, and change the steering rack speed. Four levels of driver feedback are also offered. Don't worry, there's still a back-up mechanical rack for when the electrics go on the blink.

Aside from the 'virtual' steering, there's Active Lane Control, which uses a cameras to monitor your driving and keep the car stable. The system is included as part of the Lane Departure Prevention system, and also makes tiny adjustments for minor road surface changes or crosswinds. Another Q50 party trick is the 'i-Key', a programmable key which sets the car up to your personal driving style and infotainment preferences.

We'll hold fire on our full Q50 verdict until we've seen the UK car at the Geneva motor show in March 2013, complete with new engines and right-hand drive.