The new Infiniti Q30: is it fit for Lebanese roads?

October 26, 2016 – I never had any concrete feelings for Infiniti as a brand: I didn’t love it, nor did I hate it. I had no particular sentiment towards their products, until I recently drove the all-new Q30 hatchback, which defined my opinion about the Japanese manufacturer.

RYMCO, the official distributor of Infiniti cars in Lebanon, were nice enough to hand me the keys to a brand new Infiniti Q30 1.6T for a couple of days, and now I kind of wish it was more because I think I’m in love with this car.

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First off, let’s talk about the looks of this thing: it is drop dead gorgeous and the “blue” (it’s really purple) color of the model that we drove made the car even more of a head turner than it already is. It looks more of a sculptor with its blend of flowing lines and sharp angles, and you know the car’s quite attractive when random strangers come up to you to tell you: “Mabrouk, that’s a very nice car”.

Inside, the Q30 feels very well-built and upmarket thanks to the use of leather and soft plastics. The dashboard is smartly laid out and the seats are quite comfortable. If you’re worried about legroom at the back, you shouldn’t because there’s a fair amount of that and there’s also lots of space in the trunk – enough to fit a Nissan Micra (This is a joke, please do not attempt to fit a Micra in your Q30).

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The Q30 comes with an array of electronic gimmicks and driving aids, including Lane Departure Warning, Emergency Braking, Electronic Stability Program, Start-stop system, automatic headlights… I can go on until tomorrow.

The most impressive aspect of the all-new Q30, however, is its performance. Sure, it’s got a small 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine up front, but it’s a turbocharged unit that produces a respectable 156 horsepower and 250 Nm of torque.

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Where the Q30 shines is on the highway as it soaks up road imperfections rather beautifully and accelerates effortlessly, which makes passing other cars an easy affair. It’s also great on winding mountain roads, where the responsive engine, smooth 7-speed dual-clutch transmission (that comes with paddle shifters and manual mode) and grippy Yokohama tyres made the driving experience truly enjoyable.

The car’s raised ride height and soft suspension make it a great cruiser, and balance hasn’t been compromised much as it also felt fairly planted around corners.

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Infiniti offers a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that punches out 211 horsepower and 350 Nm of torque, just in case you’re not convinced by the 1.6-liter engine. The 2.0T gets all-wheel drive if you opt for the ‘Sport AWD’ trim, which I’m sure can be a fantastic winter beater.

In total, there are 3 trim levels: the entry-level ‘SE’, ‘Premium’ and top-of-the-line ‘Sport AWD’. You’ll find yourself in a fine city car that’s also quite capable outside urban areas, regardless of which trim you pick.

In conclusion, if you’re in the market for a premium all-rounder, I believe the Q30 is a superb choice. It excels in almost every department: it’s practical, quick, lavish, efficient and it’s not too small nor too big. Moreover, its crossover-like ride height makes it a perfect fit for our not-so-perfect Lebanese roads. It’s an all-in-one car with a wealth of panache.

Photos taken by the talented Charles Kai from The Action Crew.

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Just your average petrolhead and adrenaline junkie