Infiniti adds Mercedes diesel to Q50
GENEVA -- Infiniti hopes to win European buyers for its Q50 sedan by offering it with a diesel engine from Mercedes-Benz.
The Q50 will be sold in Europe with a four-cylinder 2.2-liter diesel, Infiniti said at the auto show here. The Q50 diesel will have CO2 emissions below 115 grams per kilometer and use 4.4 liters of fuel per 100km, Infiniti said.
The Q50 will go on sale in Europe in the autumn. It will be first time Infiniti has sold a car with a four-cylinder diesel engine and steers the brand away from its current image in Europe as an ultra-niche player specializing in gasoline-powered crossovers.
A little more than half of new cars sold in Europe are powered by diesel engines.
The Q50's main rival is seen as the BMW 3 series.
Speaking to journalists at the sidelines of the show on Tuesday, Nissan Executive Vice President Andy Palmer said Infiniti would also take a V-6 diesel from Mercedes.
The Q50 flagship is a 3.5-liter gasoline-electric hybrid with 302 hp. Infiniti estimated the hybrid's emissions are about 145g/km with fuel economy at 6.6 l/100km.
Infiniti said the Q50's new steer-by-wire technology is a world first. Standard on the hybrid and optional on the 2.2d, the new system, dubbed Direct Adaptive Steering, electronically links the driver's wheel with the front wheels to create steering that Infiniti claimed is faster and more precise with fewer transmitted vibrations. The mechanical link is kept in case of malfunctions.
The system also allowed Infiniti to create a lane-keeping technology using the steering rather than the brakes. Infiniti said its system was less tiring and gave an enhanced feeling of control.
The Q50 will be Infiniti's first car to be sold following the brand's return to its Q naming system. Crossovers such as the FX will be badged QX.
Infiniti will launch a new premium compact hatchback in Europe in 2015 likely called the Q30. It will be built at Nissan's factory in Sunderland, England. The car will use the Mercedes A-class platform.
Last year, Infiniti sold just 3,024 cars in Europe, according to JATO Dynamics, down 18 percent on 2011.
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