Preview sketch of Infiniti's new Q30 conceptEnlarge Photo
We’ll soon have our first definitive look at Infiniti’s upcoming compact car thanks to the unveiling of a new concept at the 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show next month. That new concept is the Q30, and it has been previewed today in sketch form.
The production Q30 is not due until 2015, so Infiniti still has plenty of time to refine the design. However, we must admit the Q30 concept looks promising and is already a major improvement on the somewhat bulbous Etherea from 2011, the automaker's first attempt at penning a premium compact car.
Comparing the two, it’s clear the new Q30 concept’s design has been influenced by the Etherea, particularly around its greenhouse, but there are also some sharper and more elegant lines that remind us of the sleek Emerg-E from 2012.
Responsible for its look was Alfonso Albaisa, Infiniti’s recently appointed design boss. He describes it as being “slender, sleek and seductive” and having the muscularity and lightness of a big cat like a cheetah.
Underpinning the Q30 concept and the production version it will spawn is the front-wheel-drive platform underpinning the new Mercedes-Benz CLA. The flexible platform is just one of the fruits afforded to Infiniti following the 2010 alliance deal between Renault Nissan and Daimler.
The previous Etherea was powered by a supercharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 245 horsepower and mated to an electric motor and CVT. The Q30 may offer a hybrid option as previewed by the Etherea but in regular guise we expect the car to feature four-cylinder engines sourced from Mercedes.
To help differentiate its Q30 from Mercedes' compact offerings, Infiniti will call on its official director of performance, reigning Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel, to further develop the chassis. It will be Infiniti’s first model Vettel will influence from its inception.
Production will take place initially at Nissan’s Sunderland plant in the U.K., sometime in 2015, but will eventually be expanded to Mexico for delivery to the North American market. Shortly after the Q30 is launched, we may see a crossover version, likely to be called a QX30 in accordance with Infiniti’s new naming strategy.
Stay tuned for the Infiniti Q30 concept’s reveal and much more details once the 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show gets underway on September 10.