FRANKFURT MOTOR SHOW: Infiniti Q30 cross-hatch

words - Marton Pettendy
Nissan's luxury brand reveals its smallest model yet, the Q30 crossover hatchback concept

Infiniti has challenged the global luxury market once again with a concept car that blurs the lines between hatchback and SUV: the Q30.

The Q30’s position beneath the mid-size Q50 sedan, which goes on sale in Australia in November, is evidenced by its nameplate and size; the vehicle is based on the same modular front/all-wheel drive MFA platform as the Mercedes-Benz A-Class, but it wears Infiniti’s Q passenger car prefix rather than its QX name for SUVs.

While the Q50 will remain Infiniti’s top-selling model globally with annual production volume of about 65,000, up to 50,000 examples of the smaller Q30 will be produced at Nissan’s Sunderland plant in the UK for local and export consumption from 2015.

Making its world debut at the Frankfurt motor show today, the Q30 is said to be 95 per cent faithful to the production model that will follow, meaning key features like a raised ride height and edgy styling including a curvaceous roofline should continue into showrooms.

Infiniti President Johan de Nysschen said such design cues are directly aimed at younger Gen X and Gen Y buyers, who are forecast to account for 80 per cent of the global luxury car market by 2020.

“The shape of the Infiniti Q30 concept deliberately challenges categorisation. It is not a coupe, not a hatch and not a crossover so that it will appeal to younger customers who desire to disrupt convention,” he said.

“We are becoming the younger, trendsetting brand -- more relevant and more exciting. Infiniti Q50, and now the Q30 Concept, deliver on this promise.”

Measuring 4460mm long, 1470mm high and 1850mm wide, the Q30 ‘premium compact’ is 168mm longer, 83mm wider and 50mm taller than the Audi A3, as well as incorporating a higher hip point than the A-Class, which is 37mm lower overall.

The Q30’s production-challenging panels were styled by a group led by Infiniti’s Executive Design Director Alfonso Albaisa, who once headed Nissan’s European studio in the UK, where the Juke and Dualis were designed.

“The aim was to sculpt the panel surfaces as if they were hand-formed by craftsmen in an Italian coach-building workshop,” he said.

De Nysschen also used today’s Frankfurt show reveal to present Infiniti’s Director of Performance, three-times Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel, a special helmet to use in testing engineering prototypes of Q30, which will be the first Infiniti model he will be involved in developing from the beginning.

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Published : Tuesday, 10 September 2013
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