As if Corby needs another reason to rail against society.
First published in the July 2016 issue of Wheels magazine, Australia’s most experienced and most trusted car magazine since 1953.
WHAT kind of arsehole would you have to be? Seriously, that’s the question you can’t stop asking when someone slams into your parked car – be it beautiful and brand new like my Infiniti Q50 or even wheezing and decrepit – hears the horrible crunch, shatter and scrape of impact, and simply drives off.
No apology, no note, no goddamn human decency. Not since someone egged an Aventador outside my house have I so severely questioned the worth of humanity.
I don’t think it was someone in my street who did the deed to the right-rear corner of my brand spankers Infiniti, shattering the brake light and leaving some ugly scratches, mainly because no one in my street drives a big, dick-headed SUV, and looking at the height at which the damage occurred I’m completely illogically going to blame someone who owns a BMW X5.
The problem is that we can’t work out exactly when it happened. I suspect it was at the stupidly crowded local supermarket car park, where we would have approached the car front-on afterwards and thus missed out on crunching through the broken plastic.
No matter, I just hope whoever it was has been hit by a bus. Or a comet. Or struck down with incurable bowel explosiveness.
Other than being slightly cursed, what are we to make of this Q50? Well, it sure makes you feel unique. I’d never previously seen one on the road (in Australia at least; there are plenty in the US). And yet, such is the magical illogic of coincidence, I’ve clocked two others in the month I’ve had it, one even painted the same colour, which I’d describe as Purple Rain. It looks black most of the time, but in the right light, or when it’s wet, there are purple sparkles.
Paint aside, its styling is best described as inoffensive, or Japanese, which is basically the same thing. The fact that the Infiniti badge – one that has generated at least feigned curiosity from car-disinterested friends – closely resembles the branding on a Great Wall is an unfortunate coincidence.
Tail-light replacement was bad enough, but fixing the Q50’s bumper scrapes will really hit the back pocket.
A happy soul in the bustling Infiniti garage where I got mine fixed – a swift and painless experience – informed me that my vehicle is expected to compete with Audi’s A4, BMW’s 3 Series and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. And that business is so booming the brand will soon open a new dealership in the far-western Sydney suburb of Castle Hill. Where not a lot of Euro brands, or dealers, lurk.
It’s easy to see the market that Infiniti is aiming for, particularly with its sharp pricing and high spec levels – my Q50 has every gadget under the sun, and at least two buttons to operate each of them – but difficult to describe it as a raging success. Infiniti launched locally in 2012 and I would personally like to hear from each person who has bought one, so we can form a bit of an exclusive club.
It’s easy to see why the Q50 is the brand’s biggest seller. It offers a lot of quality and nice primo touches, like an eight-way powered driver’s seat that moves in an out every time you start it, just in case you’re of a portly stature. And something called InTouch Apps, which sounds very modern. And a Plasmacluster air purifier and Grape Polyphenol Filter. Because nobody wants Grape Polyphenols getting up their nose.
The 155kW 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder engine drives the rear wheels, as it should, and is alluring enough without being overly erotic, and the car’s fuel economy adds to its value offering. My car is the base GT spec and costs $50,990, plus $1500 for that premium purple paint.
The Q50 seems a bit like the first episode of one of those slightly obscure TV series on Netflix. It’s kind of cool, yet very American, and I’m not sure if I like it or not. Yet.
If it can avoid heartless arseholes for a while, we might have a chance to bond.
What a load of DOS
There’s something late-’90s Microsoft about the multi-screened Operating System for the Q50, which offers layers within layers of adjustment for everything from steering feel to overall sportiness. It’s all very flashy and yet slightly overwhelming. And there’s a mouse-like knob wheel that you can operate it with if you want, but I’ve never even touched it because there are so many other ways to do things. “Simplistic” and “intuitive” are not words that come to mind. But at least there’s not a helpful paper clip in sight.
The price of incompetence
So what does a car-park bingle cost you? Well, only about 20 minutes hanging around the pleasantly appointed Infiniti garage – and a cool $429.47 – because that’s what it took to replace the brake light that was shattered. I’m still saving up to have the paint scratches and the small dent fixed, however, which will amount to another $1500 or so, thanks to the unkind person who left me to face the bill for their incompetence.
Price as tested: $52,400
Part 1: 1080km @ 12.0L/100km
Overall: 1080km @ 12.0L/100km
Date acquired: April 2015