Infiniti QX30 Concept First Look
Japan Riffs on Benz's GLA
The first fruits of Nissan's joint venture with Daimler are nearing production. The two-box Q30 concept based on Mercedes-Benz's MFA architecture (A-, B-, CLA-, GLA-Class) was introduced at the Frankfurt show in 2013 and hits production in the U.K. this year. The Infiniti QX30 "four-door coupe" concept debuting at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show is quite clearly based on that same architecture, using many similar cues, hiked up and enlarged to befit its crossover status in the same way that the GLA-Class relates to the CLA. Measuring 174.3 by 71.4 inches wide and 59.9 inches high, it's an almost perfect dimensional overlay to the GLA (173.9 x 71.0 x 60.0 inches), though ground clearance is slightly less at 7.6 inches (to GLA's 8.0).
Information provided at the QX30 concept's release describes an aluminum monocoque construction underpinning this concept, but that seems unlikely to prove economically feasible for production in a vehicle of this size. There will be a production version, and it's expected to broaden Infiniti's footprint in Europe and China, and globally within the Gen X/Gen Y demographic that will be buying 80 percent of the premium compacts by the end of this decade.
Infiniti executive design director Alfonso Albaisa describes his team's efforts at transforming the Q30 into the QX30 this way: "The Q30 Concept was like a panther, lithe and slender. We transformed the QX30 Concept into a mountain lion, strong and muscular."
Toward that end, QX30 concept fascias get skidplate-looking trim, with the front sporting flared nostrils to suggest heavy breathing. Around the sides you see "sword-like metal inserts in the kick plates under the doors." Carbon fiber in the lower cladding and roof-bar supports is meant to indicate lightweight performance, and black wheel-arch moldings visually enlarge the already huge 21-inch wheels and tires. Speaking of those roof bars, they include odd wings that extend way inboard "framing" the view out the glass roof (seems more like obstructing). Don't expect these likely wind-noise and drag generators to make production.
Power in this QX30 concept comes from a direct-injected 2.0-liter turbo-four, probably built in Decherd, Tennessee, and hopefully packing a punch upward of the GLA45 AMG's lion-like 355 hp and 332 lb-ft. Whatever the thrust, it will be distributed via a "seven-speed automatic" (smart money says it's a twin-clutch), to a rear-biased all-wheel-drive system.
Expect 2017 production of a slightly toned-down version of this concept to ramp up in a newly expanded facility in Aguascalientes, Mexico.