The brand’s first foray into the compact market

We’ve had an idea of what the Infiniti QX30 would be for a while now. Not only did Infiniti bring a concept that was clearly very close to production ready to the Geneva Motor Show back in March, but Infiniti has also already shown us the Q30 hatchback, which is basically the same vehicle. Not only that, but both the Q and QX versions are built on the Mercedes-Benz platform that underpins the A-Class in hatchback form and the GLA-Class in crossover form. But, this is more than a simple rebadging, the QX30 will be built in a Nissan factory and many of the parts and all of the software will be Infiniti.

So there are some surprises still to be had with the QX30, especially since it won’t actually hit dealerships until 2017. But, Infiniti is giving us a good look at the new crossover at the L.A. Auto Show, and to be sure that everyone gets a good look, it is also being shown at the Guangzhou Auto Show in China at the same time. The U.S. and China are likely to be the biggest markets for the QX30, so this debut makes perfect sense.

Update 08-02-2016: Infiniti announced U.S. pricing for the QX30, and the base model is cheaper than the Mercedes-Benz GLA it is based on. Check out the pricing section for more details.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Infiniti QX30.

Exterior

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The look of the QX30 is obviously pretty similar to that of the Q30, and it is even surprisingly similar to that of the Geneva concept. There were a few of the sorts of changes that you’d expect in turning a concept into a production car, the mirrors are bigger, the wheels are smaller and so forth, but the sheet metal is essentially the same. It is also, obviously, taller than the Q30 hatchback, even if that design is slightly taller than what is usual for its niche. It’s a bold design, with strong creases running down either side, a different sort of look than Infiniti’s other crossovers.

Bold and unique designs are important in the compact crossover segment.

Bold and unique designs are important in the compact crossover segment. Infiniti’s press release is filled with dense marketing nonsense language, but the overall point is still a valid one: the sorts of people who buy compact crossovers don’t want one that just looks like a shrunken version of a brand’s bigger crossovers, they want something unique. Nissan taught this fact to the automotive world with the Juke, and wisely elected to follow the same path with the QX30. This will be especially useful in a market niche currently dominated by Germans, where shrunken versions of the X5 or the Q5 have been the mainstays.

Interior

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The design of the QX30’s interior is unique to Infiniti, but you might notice some Mercedes parts if you look closely. These are small things though, like buttons, and even if they aren’t unique, it’s not as though Mercedes makes bad interiors. There is a big 7-inch screen and everything is covered in Nappa leather in your choice of black or beige. This includes leather on the dash, complete with visible stitching on the seams, which really looks surprisingly good.

Infiniti also says the QX30 will have one of the quietest interiors in its segment. That’s quite a boast, and it’ll be interesting to see when the crossover finally hits showrooms. The seats are even said to offer above average support for your back, something that anyone who will be driving a QX30 for long distances is bound to appreciate.

Drivetrain

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There are several things that Infiniti isn’t telling us about the QX30’s drivetrain, while other areas are gone over in great detail. We know that parts of it are made by Mercedes and parts are made by Infiniti, and we’re guessing that the parts we’re hearing about at great length are the ones Infiniti built. This essentially boils down to the all-wheel-drive system and the suspension.

The suspension is one area where the QX30 differs from the Q30, not just in that its higher, but Infiniti has put a lot of time into tuning the suspension to counter the effects of the higher center of gravity on the crossover. The all-wheel-drive system is said to be capable of sending up to 50-percent of the engine’s torque to the rear wheels in the event that the front wheels start slipping. This obviously suggests that the QX30 is essentially front-wheel-drive during normal operation, a common setup in smaller vehicles with all-wheel-drive.

Infiniti hasn’t said anything about what engine will be offered, probably because this is a global debut and there will be different engines for different markets. But, it has said that there will be a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, same as you’d find in a Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class. So it’s pretty likely that, like the Q30, the QX30 will get the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine out of the GLA. That means 208 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, assuming that this does actually turn out to be the engine under the hood.

Safety

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The QX30 obviously hasn’t been crash tested yet, and the NHTSA hasn’t published any results for the GLA-Class yet either. But the good news is that there are Euro NCAP results for the GLA, and it was awarded a 5-star rating. There will be a number of electronic driver’s aides as well, although Infiniti has been oddly vague about these. We do know that there will be Around View Monitor with moving object detection and Intelligent Parking Assist.

Infiniti has even found a way for the radar for the adaptive cruise control to pass through the badge on the front grille. It’s a small thing, but it eliminates the need to find somewhere in the front fascia to mount it, and nobody is going to argue that it doesn’t look better for it, even if it is just a minor detail.

Prices

Pricing for the U.S.-spec QX30 starts from $29,950, which makes it nearly $2,900 more affordable than the Mercedes-Benz GLA it is based on. It’s also significantly more affordable than the BMW X1 and the Audi Q3, both priced from more than $33,000.

For $29,950, you get the standard model with front-wheel drive. Opt for the Luxury trim and the sticker increases to $32,600. The Premium version retails from $35,300, while the QX30 Sport is the most expensive FWD model at $38,500 before options. Moving to the all-wheel drive variants, the Luxury AWD starts from $34,400, while the Premium AWD retails from $37,700. The prices above don’t include the $995 destination and handling fee.

Model Engine/Drive MSRP
QX30 2.0L I4 Turbo / FWD $29,950
QX30 Luxury 2.0L I4 Turbo / FWD $32,600
QX30 Premium 2.0L I4 Turbo / FWD $35,300
QX30 Sport 2.0L I4 Turbo / FWD $38,500
QX30 Luxury AWD 2.0L I4 Turbo / AWD $34,400
QX30 Premium AWD 2.0L I4 Turbo / AWD $37,700

Competition

Audi Q3

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It’s debatable whether or not the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class should be considered a competitor to the QX30, but fortunately, there are some others to choose from. The Audi Q3 is made using the same philosophy as the QX30: take a hatchback, in this case an A3, raise it up and change one letter in the name. The Q3 is likely to be the crossover to beat, as it offers superior driving dynamics and currently holds the title for the quietest interior.

Read our full review on the Audi Q3 here.

BMW X1

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A strong seller in this segment, the X1 can boast the most powerful base engine out of the competition, although it’s still just 20 more horses than the QX30 is likely to have. Features like all-wheel-drive are standard, but the X1 also offers up a longer than usual options list, and the result can make for a seriously above average interior.

Read our full review on the BMW X1 here.

Conclusion

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One of the big complaints that the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class has faced from the public is that a lot of people find it unattractive. It does at least look different from the rest of the Mercedes crossover lineup, but that’s not quite enough by itself. The QX30 looks good though, and since its mechanical underpinnings are also shared with the A-Class and the CLA-Class, we know that it will live up to the expectations for the segment. It’s odd that Infiniti has just built a better Mercedes than Mercedes, but that seems to be what we’re looking at here.

  • Leave it
    • * Using another company’s platform doesn’t inspire confidence
    • * Infiniti seems far more concerned with marketing the vehicle than building it
    • * Still a long way away, and so many unanswered questions

Press Release

The Infiniti QX30 premium active crossover is making its simultaneous global debut at the 2015 Los Angeles and Guangzhou international motor shows – signalling the next phase of the company’s global growth strategy.

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Created for a new generation of premium buyers who appreciate category-defying design inside and out, the QX30 boasts a purposeful appearance that makes a bold visual statement as part of Infiniti’s premium model line-up.

Remaining true to the powerful and elegant design cues that guided the original QX30 concept, the car’s highly sculpted exterior, unique crossover stance and asymmetric cabin design exemplify Infiniti’s design-led approach to product development.

In addition to its striking appearance, the QX30 offers an elevated ride height, confidence-inspiring handling and a versatile attitude, underpinned by an intelligent all-wheel drive system. As a result, the vehicle is able to take on urban, suburban and winding rural roads in all driving conditions.

The next step for Infiniti in the premium compact segment
“With our recent sales successes and record growth, the current product offensive will further strengthen Infiniti’s global market position. The active crossover, QX30, will broaden our offer to new customers around the world.”
Roland Krueger, President of Infiniti

Further fulfilling Infiniti’s promise to expand its product line-up based on popular concept car designs, the arrival of the QX30 premium active crossover comes at a moment of opportunity for the Infiniti brand. The QX30 will play an integral role in Infiniti’s promise to offer customers a broader range of premium products. The QX30 adds another dimension to Infiniti’s premium model line-up and will play a vital role in the brand’s global growth.

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In the first 10 months of 2015, Infiniti sold almost 173,000 new vehicles worldwide, representing an increase of 16 percent compared to the same period in 2014. The 32,200 vehicles sold in China means Infiniti has already exceeded its full-year 2014 figure in the world’s largest car market, while in the U.S. Infiniti sold more than 106,700 vehicles, the best sales results in the country since 2005.

Global sales of 18,400 units in October represented an increase of 20 percent over the same month in the previous year, and continued a 14-month run of best individual months on record for Infiniti, including the best October sales in history for many regions and markets such as the Americas, China, Mexico, and Western Europe.

As a member of the new premium family, the QX30 gives Infiniti a great platform from which to achieve its goals in key markets globally. It will be built at new manufacturing facilities in Sunderland, UK, becoming part of Infiniti’s first car production in Europe.

The high demands of premium vehicle manufacturing require significant investment and a highly skilled workforce. Establishing a production base for the Infiniti QX30 represented a new $1.9 billion (£250 million) commitment in plant extensions totalling over 88,000 square feet (25,000m2). A successful recruitment program was conducted, filling over 300 new jobs to support production, while 4,000 existing production line staff members were given special training to meet exacting Infiniti standards.

Attracting a new type of premium car buyer
“We have identified a new generation of premium buyers and have positioned QX30 as a personalized premium option to suit a varied range of needs. The car is as much at home in the city as it is outside of urban environments, inspiring confidence with its ‘ready-to-go-anywhere’ attitude.”
Francois Bancon, Infiniti Vice President Product Strategy

Infiniti is targeting a new generation of premium buyers with the new QX30. The premium crossover segment is currently among the fastest-expanding markets globally, and Generations X and Y will represent the majority of buyers in this segment by 2020. For them, the car is an expression of “self” rather than “status,” and they remain open to new, category-defying concepts.

The QX30 will hold a unique position in the segment, bridging the gap between premium compact rivals and larger crossover models. Its crossover-style versatility extends from unique design appeal and a wide range of comfort, convenience, safety and dynamic features, including intelligent all-wheel drive. Its elevated ride height and high-stability drivetrain will give confidence to drivers.

This more purposeful, crossover-inspired execution has been achieved without the QX30 losing the premium look and feel that buyers expect of a car in this segment. It maintains its urban appeal, premium fit and finish and seamless integration of Infiniti’s highly expressive design – requisite elements required for the car to succeed in the premium arena.

Category-defying design
The original QX30 concept, which made its international debut at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show, combined the sleek lines of a coupe with the in-command stance of an all-wheel drive crossover. Consistent with Infiniti’s design-led approach to product development, the production version of the QX30 maintains these characterful attributes.

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“The category-defying design of the QX30 stays true to the inspiration behind the daring 2015 concept. Its mix of artistry in the flowing lines, and power in the elevated stance and confident look, makes a bold visual statement and challenges current preconceptions of what a crossover should look like.”
Alfonso Albaisa, Infiniti Executive Design Director

The combination of a low-slung roofline, elevated stance and crossover appearance creates a striking visual impact. The versatile stance endows the QX30 with a “go-anywhere” attitude, ready to take on all driving conditions – without compromising the high quality finish that buyers associate with premium rivals.

The QX30 exterior is characterized by dramatic curves and turbulent, sculpted character lines that make an emotional statement, evolving them into new dynamic shapes for a more purposeful appearance. The double-arch grille with three-dimensional mesh draws a flowing, fluid link to the headlamps for a more organic shape.

The lines of the QX30 flow up the double-wave hood, over the fenders, across the bodyline and into the strong shoulders of the car. The overall effect is designed to look stretched over bone and muscle, rather than the straight, “mechanical” lines seen on rival models. Infiniti’s signature C-pillar design forges a dynamic crescent shape that emphasises motion, even when stationary.

The elevated dimensions make for a confident and relaxing drive, while ascribing to the car’s versatile character. An overall height of 60.2 inches (1,530mm) (with standard roof rails) helps improve forward visibility over its rivals, aided by a slim A-pillar design, while the elevated ride allows for a higher hip point, improving ease of ingress and egress.

Other exterior details include newly designed front and rear bumpers and grained side sills for a rugged look, as well as bodywork finished with satin chrome-plated inserts for a premium and high quality metallic finish.

Living in asymmetry and comfort with QX30
“QX30’s asymmetric interior design results in an environment focused on the driver, yet encompassing passengers in such a way as to involve and cater for them, more so than the traditionally isolating designs found in the premium segment.”
Alfonso Albaisa, Infiniti Executive Design Director

The bold approach Infiniti has taken to design continues inside the QX30, which challenges traditional standards of symmetry with its expressive, modern and dynamic interior.

The asymmetric surfaces feature wave shapes and dynamic lines that twist apart and flow away from the driver. These give an “in-motion” feel when natural light moves over the highly sculpted lines and contrasting materials in the cabin. This “dissymmetry” creates a more pleasant environment in which to spend time.

The most premium materials and processes available have been selected by Infiniti designers in order to create a modern-looking and luxurious cabin. A custom-designed QX30 trim delivers a personalized, self-expressive interior design. The standard interior is finished in high quality black cloth, while optional black or beige Nappa leather delivers an even more premium finish.

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Refinement and comfort is also a core appeal of the QX30’s interior. Comfort is guaranteed thanks to an advanced seat design, which makes use of Infiniti’s advanced “spinal support” research. The seat backs have been carefully engineered to match the curvature of the spine, providing consistent spinal support by more equally distributing load across the seat to minimise pressure on back muscles. Meanwhile, a wider fitting shape and soft seat cushion also provides enhanced support. Internal testing carried out by Infiniti engineers showed that the QX30 seat provides greater levels of support and comfort than rivals, reducing driver fatigue on longer journeys.

The QX30’s supreme interior quietness adds to cabin comfort, with some of the lowest noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) levels in the premium compact segment.

The extensive application of sound-absorbent materials reduces the intrusion of wind, road and unwanted engine noise into the cabin. In addition, closed sections of the high-rigidity body structure protect the QX30 from any negative noise and vibration generated by broken or inconsistent road surfaces.

The result is an incredibly quiet and refined platform, allowing Infiniti engineers to isolate and emphasise the more pleasant and enriching tones of the QX30’s engines under acceleration, without disturbing the calm of the cabin.

A versatile attitude and drivetrain to deal with any challenge
The QX30 is engineered to deliver a confidence-inspiring, dynamic driving experience, aided by intelligent all-wheel drive.

Development of the QX30 started at the brand’s technical center in Japan, before moving to Europe for final validation and testing. In total, over 750 Infiniti engineers in Japan and Europe were involved in the development and testing of the QX30 in a wide variety of roads and environments.

“Our holistic approach to engineering the QX30 has resulted in a car that delivers a precise, ‘in-command’ experience behind the wheel. The finely-tuned chassis and suspension, plus a number of assistive driver technologies, all work together to the benefit of the driver, providing a confident drive in all conditions and surroundings.”
Grahame Cornforth, Infiniti Chief Vehicle Engineer

The QX30’s chassis has been developed to offer a comfortable ride and confident handling in spite of its elevated ride height and ground clearance. Development teams responsible for QX30’s ride and handling worked hard to ensure the car’s dynamic characteristics met with buyers’ expectations of a vehicle that has been engineered to bridge the gap between compacts and crossovers. Its springs and rear anti-roll bar are stiffer, continuing the engineers’ efforts to ensure a flat ride. While the slightly firmer suspension helps to counteract the dynamic effects of a higher center of gravity, the modifications to the chassis enable QX30 to remain comfortable at all speeds and over a variety of road surfaces.

The QX30 comes equipped with an intelligent all-wheel drive system. The drivetrain is able to send up to 50 percent of the engine’s power and torque to the rear axle to maintain traction on slippery surfaces and in inclement weather, enhancing a feeling of control and confidence when driving. For example, if sensors detect wheel slip, braking is applied to the slipping wheel, while torque is sent to the gripping wheel for additional stability. Combined with the elevated ground clearance, the QX30’s drivetrain is engineered to deal with all conditions.

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Another standard feature is the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission system. The dual-clutch intelligently pre-selects gears so the next shift is always ready to go, while manual mode lets the driver control gear changes when desired. Delivering seamless acceleration at any speed and in any gear, the application of torque is almost uninterrupted during gear changes, reducing lurching while in motion and between shifts.

Depending on market, there will be a choice between responsive diesel and gasoline engines for QX30 buyers – with specific details available closer to launch.

Intuitive technologies enhance an involving, safe driving experience
The QX30 will be among the safest cars in its class owing to a range of active safety and hazard avoidance technologies that enhance the driving experience and provide maximum safety to all occupants. An Around View Monitor with moving object detection and Intelligent Parking Assist makes the QX30 the easiest car to park in its segment.

A special metal plating method allows the radar waves of the Intelligent Cruise Control to pass through the Infiniti badge without disrupting the QX30’s striking appearance with unseemly radar units.

Infiniti’s trademark InTouch infotainment system, first introduced on the pioneering Q50, has been evolved and upgraded for the QX30 for a highly intuitive finger touch and swipe control through a seven-inch touch-screen HMI (human machine interface). Infiniti Voice Recognition interacts with the InTouch infotainment system to control audio and navigation commands.

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The Infiniti QX30 premium active crossover will go on sale in selected markets in the middle of 2016.

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