Infiniti will offer its new Q30 compact car with two different ride heights: the Premium and SE versions of the five-door hatchback are 20mm taller than the Sport model. But why?
The Nissan-owned premium brand doesn’t call the Q30 an SUV. The QX30 will fulfill that role once it is revealed at the Los Angeles auto show in November.
The big reason for the different heights is to satisfy a growing trend for taller vehicles. “The higher H [hip] point makes all the difference,” Alfonso Albaisa, Infiniti head of design, told Automotive News Europe at the Q30’s reveal this week at the Frankfurt auto show. “We wanted to have all the sexiness of a coupe, but have the command feeling on the road.” He said that he didn’t want customers to feel “buried” in the car.
That’s partly due to the split customer base. Infiniti head of Europe Francois Goupil de Bouille said that the target customers for the Q30 are a younger crowd aged 30 to 40 and an older group between 55 to 60 looking for a more sporty car once their children leave home. A higher seating position appeals to both groups, Infiniti believes.
Those wanting a lower, more traditional seating position can choose the Sport version with its “more road-hugging, more traditional set-up,” Albaisa said. A more aggressively styled front grille distinguishes the Sport variant from the SUV-inspired versions.
The cars had to be different to attract attention. De Bouille said that as a challenger brand with a low profile, Infiniti needed to give customers a reason to switch from established rivals such as the Audi A3. “We needed to find holes in the market and make something unique,” he said.
The Q30 shares its platform with the Mercedes-Benz A-class, but the height difference was achieved by specifically choosing the set-up of Mercedes’ GLA SUV, an Infiniti source said. The SE and Premium versions are 1mm higher than the GLA.