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Refined Infiniti Q70 also stands out

WHEEL WOMAN TEST: Infiniti Q70 30d GT

I call it the Patrick factor.

The Infiniti Q70 is built by Nissan but positioned to tackle the likes of BMW, Audi, Mercedes and Lexus.

Patrick is a security guard cum traffic warden at the teens’ school; the man who waves us through the gates every school morning.

To him I’m the mommy who drives lots of different cars, cars which he rates with body language: some barely get a raised eyebrow, others score a smile and perhaps a thumbs-up. And when a set of wheels really does it for him, his face lights up like a jackpotting fruit machine; traffic direction momentarily forsaken for a double thumbs-up.

I suspected the Infiniti Q70 may have the Patrick factor, and I was right. For one thing, it’s very obviously different.

It’s clearly a luxury sedan, but its badge is not BMW, Mercedes, Audi or even Lexus.

Not many South Africans recognise its emblem – which looks to me like a pizza with a missing slice – as Nissan’s luxury brand; as Lexus is to Toyota.

The brand may be old hat in the USA, having been in that market for a couple of decades, but it’s relatively new to these shores.

And the cars have a very distinctive look. The Q70 is a big car – think 5-Series, E-Class and A6 – with a rather odd, bulbous nose.

It certainly has presence, Patrick, I’ll give you that. Posh presence.

In fact, the model is somewhat dated, having last been tweaked in 2010, but, hey, it’s all new to us here on the southern tip of Africa.

It arrived on these shores as the M30d, and in keeping with the switch to all Infinitis beginning with Q, was renamed the Q70. Very James Bond.

Unlike most of its competitors, the Q70 is crammed with premium finishes and spec – all standard.

If busy cabins, awash with buttons and knobs, do it for you, you’ll be in heaven in this driver’s seat, which is plush leather, of course, heated, and can be programmed to automatically adjust to your chosen position.

Features include parking sensors front and back, rear-view camera, cruise control, Bluetooth, keyless entry, electric glass sunroof, eight-inch touchscreen, rain-sensing wipers, auto-levelling bi-xenon headlights, a 30GB hard-drive with satellite navigation, and a rear window blind.

Plus a heated steering wheel and a special trick – a Bose sound system with 16 speakers, some of them built into the headrests.

And apparently the wood trim is the real deal.

I always feel slightly ridiculous at the wheel of the sort of large, luxury, leather-lined cars in which politicians like to be driven about, fast. But I get the appeal.

Speaking of fast, the 175kW Q70 is very lively indeed, and quiet with it, given that it’s powered by a 3-litre turbodiesel V6.

It moves that bulk from standstill to 100 kays in just 6.9 seconds, with its seven-speed auto transmission handling the gear changes.

Fuel consumption is a claimed average of 7.5 litres per 100km but, as always, you can expect the actual consumption to be a little more than that, especially if you leave it in Sport mode, as opposed to Normal or Eco. There’s also a Snow setting!

What does it cost? R672 000. Which, remember, includes all that spec. There’s a slighter cheaper 3.7-litre petrol Q70 on offer, too.

For your money you get to be cocooned in a very refined, agile, luxurious, powerful large saloon.

And you certainly won’t go unnoticed.

FACTS

Infiniti Q70 30d GT

Engine: 3-litre, V6 turbodiesel

Gearbox: 7-speed automatic

Power: 175kW @ 3750rpm

Torque: 550Nm @ 1750rpm

0-100km/h (claimed): 6.9 seconds

Top speed (claimed): 250km/h

Consumption (claimed): 8.6 l/100km

Price: R672 539

Warranty: 3-year/100 000km

Service plan: 5-year/100 000km

ALTERNATIVES

Audi A6 3.0 TDI quattro (180kW/500Nm) - R752 000

BMW 530d (190kW/560Nm) - R746 436

Jaguar XF 2.2D Premium (147kW/450Nm) - R625 499

Mercedes E250 CDI (150kW/500Nm) - R600 542

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