Infiniti Debuts a Q50 Diesel for Europe [2013 Geneva Auto Show]
Infiniti honcho Johan de Nysschen freely admits that the Nissan luxury division was created primarily for the U.S. market, which accounts for the bulk of Infiniti sales.He also concedes that one of his priorities is to evolve that business footprint, adding black numbers to the balance sheet by expanding Infiniti’s presence in the European market.
Making its first Continental appearance at the Geneva auto show, the 2014 Q50 sedan will be Infiniti’s first agent of change as de Nysschen and company seek to win share in a market dominated by the entrenched German troika of Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz.
There are some tasty ironies in this scenario. For one, de Nysschen is a former Audi executive. For another, Mercedes parent Daimler AG is contributing to Infiniti’s expansionist ambitions.
Although the Q50 is essentially the same as its recently introduced U.S. counterpart in terms of design and technology—including the new Direct Adaptive Steering (a.k.a. drive-by-wire) and Active Lane Control—there is a key difference under the hood. While Infiniti’s Direct Response Hybrid gasoline-electric system is the same as that available in the U.S. Q50, a 2.2-liter turbo-diesel takes the place of the 328-hp 3.7-liter V-6 that’s standard in the North American car.
Supplied by Daimler, the turbo-diesel is rated for 168 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque, sufficient to propel the Q50 to 62 mph in under nine seconds, according to Infiniti. That’s not exactly thrilling in a car that calls itself a sports sedan, but fuel-economy expectations are more compelling: about 54 mpg on the optimistic European cycle according to Infiniti.
- Photos and Info: 2014 Infiniti Q50
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Other distinctions: Although the hybrid remains automatic-only but is available with rear- or all-wheel drive, the rear-drive-only turbo-diesel will be offered with a choice of a six-speed manual or seven-speed auto. The choice of shifting for yourself has disappeared from the U.S. car in its transition from G37 to Q50.
The Q50 is due to reach European showrooms this fall. This leaves one final question: Is a turbo-diesel option in the cards for the U.S. at some point in the not-too-distant future? The answer we received: no.
By Tony Swan