SAY hello to Daniel Ricciardo’s new company car, the Infiniti QX30. While his ex-teammate Sebastian Vettel will be prancing around in cars like the Ferrari 488 GTB that will also be at the Geneva show, the QX30 will be flying the Infiniti flag as an alternative to the Lexus NX and the Audi Q3, as well as the BMW X1.
This is the first look at a complete QX30 that’s essentially a Mercedes-Benz GLA with the German maker providing components and engines for Infiniti, with the latest Q50 sedan update including Mercedes’ 2.0-litre diesel. That makes the QX30 the crossover big-bro of the Infiniti Q30 hatch that's due here in 2016.
The Geneva show car’s 21-inch wheels won’t make production, but the rest is ready for showrooms. While we’ve only been shown the rear, where there’s a pair of integrated square exhausts, splintered tail-lights and a rising waistline met by a roofline that tapers down, the front of the QX30 is sure to have Infiniti’s pre-requisite trapezoidal grille.
That kick in the C-pillar is a smart brand identifier, crucial so that the QX30 doesn’t get lost in the tsunami of SUVs in shopping centre car parks. There’s a 30mm increase in ride height over the Q30 hatch, carbonfibre lower cladding and a set of roof rails, the latter something that helps evoke a ‘poise for action’ stance, according to Infiniti.
Specification is yet to be confirmed, as is the QX30’s arrival in Australian showrooms, yet given the popularity of the medium- and small-SUV segments, Infiniti would salivating over a chance to enter the burgeoning segment.
Strengthening the case is that the QX30 will also use Mercedes engines, with the GLA offered with a choice of two powerplants: a 100kW/300Nm 2.0-litre turbodiesel and a 2.0-litre petrol engine in 155kW/350NM. There is of course the firebreathing Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 with 265kW, but it’s unlikely Mercedes will let Infiniti into that part of its toy chest.
While it will use the Mercedes MFA platform and mechanicals, the QX30 will be built in the United Kingdom at Nissan’s Sunderland plant alongside the Q30. Infiniti is also looking to expand production to Mexico in 2017, and that may provide a second facility for QX30 production.
The QX30 will be revealed at the 2015 Geneva motor show on 3 March before going on sale here in 2016 from an estimated $45K. Fingers crossed that there isn’t a Daniel Ricciardo version.