WHEN car manufacturers provide test cars for motoring journalists to evaluate, they usually load them up with numerous options in addition to the standard specification and one very expensive test car I drove recently had optional equipment costing over £16,000 on board, writes Bryan Longworth.
But this was certainly not the case with Japanese premium car maker Infiniti when they sent me an Infiniti M30d S Premium test car for there were no optional extras and standard equipment included four wheel active steering, double glazed windows, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, snow mode, bi-xenon adaptive front lights, rear view camera with parking sensors, satellite navigation and even a speed camera warning device.
Some may say that on a car costing £47,610 this sort of kit should be standard but this is not so with many of the Infiniti’s competitors and it illustrates one of the reasons why this marque is starting to make an impression in the UK upmarket car sector although I wish they had fitted an electronic parking brake instead of the footbrake which was not very user friendly .
The test car had a 3.0-litre 238bhp V6 diesel engine with a seven speed automatic gearbox which provided a very smooth and quiet power supply with a top speed of 155mph, zero to 62 mph time of 6.9 seconds and a combined fuel consumption of almost 40mpg.
What really impressed was the four wheel steering system that seemed a bit strange at first but eventually I found it to be one of the best I have ever encountered for it provided extremely precise and very enjoyable steering which was especially useful on winding country roads where it was like driving on rails and it helped to make my test drive period so enjoyable.
At the rear there is quite a large boot but no spare wheel which means owners must try and use a puncture kit or wait for wait for assistance but the absence of a spare wheel is now quite common on new cars.
The test car had excellent handling qualities and despite the sports suspension on this model the ride was not too firm as is the case with quite a few models with sports suspension but Infiniti has managed to get just the right balance.
There is no doubt that it is going to be a long hard slog for Infiniti to get really established in the UK like Lexus experienced when they first came to Britain a long time ago although they had the added advantage of having more instant outlets though using Toyota dealerships.
It was evident that the test car in particular was a quality premium product and potential customers will include those people wanting something different from the offerings of BMW, Audi, Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz.
When you add up the cost of all the standard equipment and compare it with models from the aforementioned competitors the prices of Infiniti cars take on a new significance and it can be seen why they should now be taken into account by motorists wanting something different in this market sector.
My Verdict: A premium car to be considered.
Model: Infiniti M30d S Premium.
Engine: 3.0-litre V6 diesel.
Transmission: Seven speed automatic.
Top speed: 155mph.
Acceleration: 0 to 62mph 6.9 seconds.
Fuel consumption: 37.7mpg combined.
CO2 emissions: 199g/km.