The new DS3, customise every feature to suit your style
There's a new name in the South African premium car market as the luxury division of Nissan undergoes its local launch.
Although it will initially be a low-volume operation aimed at brand building, Infiniti is still hitting the ground running as far product goes with the initial range comprising a coupe, cabriolet, sedan and two SUV models - with more set to follow.
The models listed here will be available from the end of June through two Gauteng-based dealers located in Hatfield and Melrose, with Durban and Cape Town dealers scheduled to open before this year's out and a total of ten dealerships in the pipeline over the next two years.
Click here to see our driving impressions of the G, M and EX models from our preview drive in the UK last week and check the site later this week for local impressions of the FX. We also have a picture gallery so you can scope them out in more detail. Now let's take a closer look at what each one offers.
This striking and elegant coupe is based on the Japanese-market Nissan Skyline but it's far cry from the Skylines that we remember.
Granted, it still caters for truly enthusiastic drivers with its rear-wheel drive layout, seven-speed automatic gearbox with shift paddles and sport mode as well as, most importantly, a Z-based 3.7-litre V6 engine that pushes 235kW at 7000rpm and 360Nm at 5200rpm.
The G37 Coupe is offered in three grades: GT, S and S Premium. Even the base model features items like bi-xenon adaptive cornering lights, 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat, electric glass sunroof and leather trim. The S designation adds four-wheel steering, 19-inch alloys and retuned suspension while the S premium throws in an advanced infotainment system with navigation and premium 11-speaker Bose sound system.
The G37 Coupe range starts at R616 000 for the GT and a cabriolet model is also available.
A natural rival to the E-Class and 5 Series, the rear-wheel drive Infiniti M is said to have one of the most spacious interiors in its class.
It's also bristling with standard features, including adaptive lights, rear-view camera, electric seats, electric sunroof and touch-screen interface, while upgrading to the Premium package brings items like Blind Spot Intervention, 16-speaker Bose surround sound system and satnav.
The first model to hit our shores is a 3-litre V6 diesel good for 175kW at 3750rpm and 550Nm at 1750rpm. Mated to a seven-speed autobox with shift paddles, claimed combined consumption amounts to 7.5 litres per 100km. The aforementioned 3.7-litre V6 petrol will be available later in the year.
A drive mode selector with normal, eco, sport and snow setting is standard while S and S Premium models also feature four-wheel active steering.
The Base GT models start at R649 000 for the M37 petrol and R671 000 for the M30d diesel.
The EX is a compact SUV that offers the same V6 petrol and diesel engine range as the M sedan, with the former boasting an official combined consumption figure of 7.2 litres per 100km.However, in the case of the EX, the seven-speed autobox sends power to all wheels via a permanent all wheel drive system.
Only the 30d is available in base spec, which still entails electric front seats, keyless starting, climate control and a seven-speaker audio system. GT variants up the ante with seat-position-memory, 19-inch alloys and an 11-speaker Bose sound system amongst other items and GT Premium spec adds advanced safety features like Lane Departure Prevention, radar-based Cruise Control, Forward Collision Warning, which can apply brakes automatically, and Around View Monitor that provides a 360-degree view of the vehicle's surroundings.
The EX30d base model starts at R595 000 and you can expect to fork out R626 000 for the EX37 GT.
Sporting a more daring design than its smaller EX cousin, the FX will take to the battle to SUVs like the BMW X5, Mercedes ML and Porsche Cayenne.
In addition to the two V6 engines it shares with the EX, the FX can also be ordered with a 5-litre V8 petrol motor that puts out 287kW at 6500rpm and 500Nm at 4400rpm. Infiniti claims a zero to 100km/h time of just 5.8 seconds, but the penalty for having such a big engine is a combined consumption figure of 13.1 litres per 100km - expect it to drink more than that in real-world conditions.
The FX's permanent all-wheel drive system sets itself apart by providing a rear-wheel drive bias under normal conditions to allow for a rear-wheel drive feel and even an element of oversteer. Versions with an S or S Premium badge also benefit from Active Rear Steering.
Compared to its stablemates, the interior specification gets even more elaborate on the FX, with base GT models boasting quilted leather seats (10-way electrically-adjustable for the driver, 8-way for the passenger), rear-view camera and 20-inch alloy wheels.
The S trim adds 21-inch alloys, sports front seats and 14-way driver's seat adjustment as well as smoked headlights while the Premium upgrade entails Lane Departure Prevention, Intelligent Cruise Control with Low Speed Following, Forward Collision Warning, Surround View and the Connectiviti+ multimedia system.
Base prices are pegged at R676 000 for the FX37 GT, R699 000 for the 30d GT and R856 000 for the V8-powered 50 S Premium.