Home' Open Road North Shore : OR0318 Contents THIS SERIES of the Infiniti Q50 sedan
was first launched in early 2014 and
Nissan’s premium division has been
fiddling with the range ever since. For
this facelift, the unpopular diesel has
been dumped in favour of a 3.0 -litre
twin-turbo V6 in two states of tune.
The base model 2.0 -litre starts at
$54,900 ($4000 more than the 2014
price) and the 2.0 -litre version of the
mid-spec Sport Premium is $62,400
(nearly $2000 more). The rest of the
Sport Premium range includes a 3.0 -
litre turbo V6 ($70,400), RWD hybrid
($74,400) and AWD hybrid ($75,400).
The top-spec Red Sport has the twin-
turbo V6 and costs $79,900.
All models have had cosmetic
updates, including new front and rear
fascias, new-design alloy wheels, and
minor changes to the gear levers and
steering wheels. The Red Sport that
we tested also gets red stitching on
the seats and dashboard, red brake
calipers, new LED taillights and a new
Dynamic Sandstone red colour.
The Red Sport’s twin-turbo V6 puts
out a powerhouse 298kW/475Nm and,
even though peak power and torque
come in quite high in the rev range,
there’s no turbo lag and the seven-
speed auto gearbox ensures excellent
The physical changes to the Q50 can
be hard to spot, although the updated
steering wheel is a nice shape. The Q50
was the one Infiniti that didn’t need
much in the way of updates, so the
appealing attributes of the 2014 model
remain: swoopy dash design, segmented
leather upholstery, easy Bluetooth
connection, and intuitive dual-screen
infotainment. The active safety tech
is refreshingly subdued, too – a polite
clearing of the throat rather than
the hysterical shrieking found in, for
example, the Maserati Ghibli.
What still plagues the Q50, however, is
the sense of artificiality, especially in its
handling. In most situations, Infiniti’s
direct adaptive steering system is fine,
but on a winding road there’s a definite
delay in the computer acting as a conduit
between the driver and the wheels.
In the end, these updates amount to
‘painting the fence’. The Infiniti Q50
remains a decent car for the money, but
nothing much here is going to tempt
other prestige car owners to switch
brands. – Kris Ashton
Pros: Strong turbo engine; good value
Cons: Not much has changed
Cosmetic upgrades to the four-
year-old Infiniti Q50 have done
little to change its standing
Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 Transmission:
seven-speed auto Power: 298kW Torque: 475Nm
Fuel consumption: 9.3L/100km (claimed) ANCAP:
Not yet tested Price: $79,900 (plus ORC)
There’s no turbo lag and the seven-speed auto
gearbox ensures excellent throttle response
EVEN THOUGH its uses the same platform as the VW Tiguan,
the Skoda Kodiaq has a longer wheelbase and overall length, so
it’s more spacious. Skoda has kept the range simple: a 132TSI
with a 2.0 -litre turbo four-cylinder petrol engine (132kW/320Nm)
and a 140TDI with a 2.0 -litre turbo-diesel (140kW/400Nm). Both
are all-wheel-drive (AWD) and have seven seats.
Skoda’s ‘luxury where it counts’ philosophy continues, with
gorgeous-to-touch Alcantara seats and a soft-leather steering
wheel, making it easy to overlook some hard plastics and
questionable dash and door inserts. A high-resolution
infotainment screen, with iconography that’s both visually
appealing and easy to use, elevates the overall appearance.
Our test car was the 132TSI. Its highly tuned 2.0 -litre petrol
engine has a home in a number of VW Group vehicles for a good
reason – it has a lot of muscle for such a small and economical
unit. With two adults, two children and extra cargo on board, it
returned as little as
7.1L/100km on the freeway
between Canberra and
Sydney; it’s especially
impressive given its 1677kg
kerb weight. To achieve such
frugality, the DSG does tend
to race to top gear and be
hesitant to drop down again, but Skoda’s sport mode makes it
more willing for uphill overtaking.
Seat comfort deserves special mention: during 1300km of
driving through western NSW we never once stepped out feeling
stiff or fatigued. This, together with its soft-roading ability and
cargo capacity, makes it one of the great touring cars for Aussie
conditions, up there with the Subaru Outback.
It’s also easy to recommend it as a family car. The widget that
pops out and covers the door edge to prevent an accidental ding
or scratch on a neighbouring car is ingenious, as are the built-in
retractable window shades. Our test car even came equipped
with iPad holders that attached behind the front seats.
While its price might exclude some buyers, the Kodiaq’s
combination of seven seats, AWD, performance and comfort
makes it an almost unique proposition. – Kris Ashton
This mid-size SUV is big on space and cheap on fuel
Engine: 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder Transmission: seven-speed DSG
Power: 132kW Torque: 320Nm Fuel consumption: 7.6L/100km (claimed)
ANCAP: HHHHH Price: From $42,990 (plus ORC)
The Red Sport is the
top-spec Infiniti Q50.
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OPEN ROAD 53
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9/2/18 3:46 pm
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