11 Nov 2012

What does Infiniti mean to UK motorists?

Speedmonkey will soon be driving all of Infiniti's range of cars from the G saloon up to the FX Vettel Edition.  We muse on what Infiniti means to UK motorists and have a look at the full range of cars on offer from Nissan's luxury brand.

In two weeks I'll be driving Infiniti's range of cars over the course of a day.  Ahead of the event I've been thinking about Infiniti and what it means to UK motorists.  I courted some opinion and the general feedback was that Infiniti had poor brand presence and  were struggling to sell cars in the UK - indeed someone said that car auctions generally see a lot of 6 month old models that had been pre-registered by dealers in order to fulfil targets.

Infiniti FX Vettel Edition
My only real interaction with Infiniti to date was at Top Gear Live where they had a huge display.  It was the only section of the show that was cordoned off and limited to VIP access by invitation only.  I could have walked in with my media pass but chose not to.  I felt this was a pretty negative way to behave and was something of a missed opportunity to show off their cars to the general public.  Jaguar, Porsche et al know that one of the best ways to raise a brand's profile is to create a feelgood factor around it.  To create a desire for expensive cars amongst people who can't afford them means that those who can afford them are more likely to buy one.

I've set out to explore something of the brand, which I'll use to compare with the actual experience of  walking into an Infiniti dealer and driving their cars.  It would also be helpful to receive more opinion either via the comments section below or on Twitter or Facebook.

Infiniti is the luxury brand of Nissan cars (who, in turn are owned by Renault).  They compete directly with Mercedes, Audi, BMW, Jaguar and, of course, Lexus.  Infiniti was launched in the US in 1989, where they sell around 100,000 cars per annum.

In 2009 Infiniti launched in the UK, two years after mainland Europe, and now have a total of seven dealerships with another five planned. The first dealership was in Reading, Berkshire - where I will be testing the cars.

Their stated aim is to sell 2,000 cars a year in the UK. In 2011 Infiniti sold 280 cars in the UK and in 2012 they have sold 433 cars in the first 9 months of the year.  Whilst this is nowhere near 2,000 cars, at least the figure is growing.

Infiniti sponsor the Red Bull F1 team and much of their current advertising revolves around the F1 connection.  Red Bull use Renault engines so the two are directly linked.

We move to Infiniti's range of vehicles on offer.  They are all high end, expensive models and come in saloon, coupe, convertible or SUV guises.  Unlike the increasing length of car names in general (see Renault's Clio 'Dynamique S MediaNav dCi 90 Stop & Start ECO' for one of the worst examples) Infiniti keep their car names very short.  So short in fact that 2 of them are named as one single letter.  I will defer commenting on the various models looks until I've seen them in the metal.

G Coupé

The G Coupé is a 4 seat, 2 door coupé and costs between £37,000 and £42,000 depending on spec and all versions are powered by a 3.7 litre V6, mated to a 7 speed automatic gearbox.  It has 315bhp and does 0-62mph in 6.4 seconds.  The G Coupé shares many of it's underpinnings with the Nissan 370Z, which is up to £7,000 cheaper.

G Convertible

Confusingly called the G Convertible on Infiniti's website and press material but G Cabrio on the Infiniti iPhone app.  The Convertible/Cabrio is the Coupé with the roof removed.  Stats are the same as for the Coupé except that the price is £45,670.


G is Infiniti's 3 series rival.  It is a 4 door saloon with the same 3.7 litre V6 as found in the Coupé and Convertible.  Power is the same, at 315bhp, although 0-62mph is slower, at 6 seconds, due to it's increased bulk.  Prices range from £35,000 to £45,000.


The singularly named M is the 5 series rivalling saloon.  It is powered by the 3.7 litre V6 with the same 315bhp and does 0-62mph in 6.2 seconds.  Also available is a 3 litre turbo diesel with 238bhp and 0-62mph in 6.9 seconds, and a hybrid with a 3.5 litre V6.  Prices range from £39,000 to £45,000.


EX is Infiniti's coupé crossover.  It has the 3.6 litre V6 and 3 litre V6 diesel as in the M and is slightly slower to 62mph than for the M.  Prices range from £37,000 to £42,000.


The FX is the range topper and is a BMW X5 rival in terms of size and price.  Engines available are the 3.7 litre V6 and the 3 litre diesel, but also a 5 litre V8 petrol that has 390bhp and does 0-62mph in 5.8 seconds.  The same 7 speed auto box is used in all versions.  Prices are from £47,000 to £58,000.  Infiniti have also released a special version called the Vettel Edition which produces 420bhp from an uprated 5 litre V8.  The Vettel Edition is priced at £100,000 and does 0-62mph in 5.6 seconds.