like to think that I can help to do my bit for the environment occasionally,
and when you combine that with the opportunity to drive a fast car, well… it’s
a win-win situation. Step forward the Gentleman Driver.
Living in London I don’t have much of a need for four wheels, but by chance I
had bumped into some of the Infiniti execs who are setting up a new store in
Westfield Shepherd’s Bush. They informed me that there is a growing demand for
such casual auto-purchases. Some shoppers opt to buy a handbag, others a
£50,000 car. After a bit of a chat, they invited me down at the weekend to test
drive their flagship model, the Q50 Hybrid AWD. Half-computer, half-machine, the
first thing that strikes you about this luxury sedan is it’s looks.
can be a difficult concept to sell. You are hardly going to choose to cruise silently
at 30mph in the Toyota Prius when a Nissan GTR will get you to your destination
much faster and in much more style. But this is where the Q50 could help bridge
that gap. It is a great looking car, and as a Mercedes SLS pulled out of the
valet parking before us, I couldn’t help but draw a few comparisons.
deal with numbers briefly. 0-60 is dealt with in less than 5 seconds and the
combined electric and combustion trickery belts out 364bhp (give or take a few
horses). The result? A V6 hybrid car that will happily canter silently at 30mph in
Central London but make a lot of noise and go very fast on the motorways.
The interior is luxury throughout and there a real high-quality finish to each accessory. To drive it is comfortable in any situation. The steering can be customised from light to heavy depending on your mood and when you hit the brakes at speed you really feel like the car is going to stop!
On-board technology included the usual extras, but also a power monitor which tracked engine usage and how much kinetic energy you were storing in the electric motor as the brakes were applied. Whilst I’m not confessing to this being as addictive as a game of Pac-Man, I did find myself trying to get as much energy back into the car as possible whilst braking (safely, of course).
The car is a pleasure to be in whether you are a driver or a passenger. The Lady was sat happily, and comfortably, in the back for a good hour or so and I was having lots of fun at the wheel. After the test drive I headed back into the Infiniti promotional event where they were showcasing other models and new concepts yet to be manufactured. They seem to have a clear vision in making hybrids both desirable and affordable. It looks as though being green has never been so effortless.
Do you think Hybrids will ever be cool enough to compete with traditional cars?