Words: Don Cheng
Photography: Don Cheng
Published: April 3, 2017
I get a sense of déjà vu with the Infiniti QX30 Sport. The buttons, dials, and gauges are all foreign to the brand but look oddly familiar. Yet on the outside, the entire vehicle is distinctly Infiniti, featuring the marquee’s signature grill and fluid bodylines. The styling feels right at home with the rest of the Infiniti family.
So what’s the deal? Well the baby-luxury crossover is actually a derivative of Mercedes-Benz’s GLA 250 (which itself is based off the CLA 250). See where this is going? The GLA and QX30 are actually one the first (and perhaps last?) vehicles to come from a Daimler-Nissan joint venture.
Borrowing the platform and drivetrain from the Mercedes counterpart, Infiniti has imparted their front wheel drive performance expertise on the QX30 Sport to enhance driving characteristics over the standard AWD variant. While many will immediately lambast its FWD layout and “Sport” moniker, there’s actually method to the madness. Shedding the AWD system in favour of a simpler front engine front drive setup allows for the little SUV to shed over 90 kg. The FWD switch also allows the car to sit 20 mm lower too.
Powering the front axle is a turbocharged four cylinder found in the CLA and GLA; the same 208 hp remains unchanged in this application. It’s enough power to introduce a touch of torque steer when accelerating from down low, but it’s never aggressive nor does it catch you off guard. Infiniti has done a lot of work tweaking the QX30 Sport to provide consumers a driving experience that’s distinctly Infiniti, a focus that has served the brand well in isolating their unique brand identity - something that the brand has struggled with in the last few years.
The QX30S’s throttle response has been remapped, and everything tweakable by Nissan has been done so to optimize the structural and powertrain components supplied by their joint-venture partner. Tip in on the throttle and power comes quick from the four banger allowing the driver to maximize the SUVs small size in tight traffic situations. Steering lacks feedback but loads up well when pushed - and even at its worst, it’s still miles ahead of the Direct Adaptive Steering System. On the bright side, the wheel feels direct and responsive to input. Aided by stiffer suspension tuning, the entire vehicle feels lively and eager to change directions.
Shift the QX30S into Sport mode and the crossover wakes up, upshifts become more aggressive (though it conspicuously lacks the classic DCT “Blaaaaarrt”), stomping hard on the brakes and the transmission will rev-match downshift as necessary too. While we’re on the topic of brakes, the ventilated and cross-drilled brakes in the Sport do a phenomenal job of providing the driver with extra confidence. The pedal feels firm, and the calipers offer plenty of bite quickly shaving speed. All together, the Sport offers a driving experience that’s a lot more familiar to hot-hatch owners rather than a mini-SUV.
Other than the mechanical changes, Infiniti has added a few visual distinctions to separate the standard AWD models from the Sport. Dark chrome exhaust tips, and a unique front bumper adorn the front and rear of the SUV. Stickier, and wider (235 section) performance tires wrap around the 19-inch wheels and inside, the seats are revamped with better contours for extra bolstering, and a thick leather-wrapped flat-bottomed steering wheel which comes exclusively to the S.
At a fully loaded price of $46,490 the QX30S comes evenly matched with its German counterpart. Add-on options are non-existent for the top-end Sport (as everything comes standard). So why would buyers opt for this over the Benz? Simple. Driving dynamics. The QX30S serves as an intermediary between the Benz’s top-spec (albeit lackluster) GLA250 4MATIC and the manic GLA45 AMG, offering all the features of a loaded GLA250 in a package that’s more fun, dramatic, and hot-hatch like than the lethargic Benz. Those who really want more will need to pony up more coin for the AMG. So what’s the trade off? A few hidden bits of interior trim that use cheaper quality plastic, and Nissan’s proprietary Navigation unit. A fair price to pay for a driving experience that is classic Infiniti.
型号 Model: 2017 Infiniti QX30S
顏色 Paint Type: Majestic White
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $46,490
試車售價 Price as Tested: $46,490
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 2,700
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 4,425 / 2,083 / 1,490
車重 Curb weight (kg): 1,526
引擎 Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder
最大馬力 Horsepower: 208 hp @ 5,500 rpm
最高扭力 Torque: 258 lb-ft @ 1,200 - 4,400 rpm
波箱 Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch automatic
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, FWD
油耗 Observed Fuel Consumption (L/100km):9.8
輪胎尺碼 Tires: 235/45/R19