The thing about alternative choices is that they’re only worth having if they don’t stray too far into left field; if they’re viable, basically.

A cosmonaut’s wristwatch with laser beams instead of hands and a casing made of recycled ex-Soviet missile parts might seem fascinating, but if it costs twice as much as the average automatic watch, needs six hours of direct sunlight a day to keep it working and isn’t actually very easy to read, the novelty value won’t last long.

It’s a truth that Japanese luxury car maker Infiniti knows only too well. The brand is more than 25 years old, but it has only had an official presence in Europe since 2008.

That Infiniti has yet to make more than the faintest impression here has much to do with its negligible brand awareness with the general public, a very small dealer network and a lack of the right kind of engines for the European market.

The little-known, equipment-rich, pricey, petrol V6-only Infiniti G37 saloon has been the cosmonaut’s wristwatch of the compact executive saloon market these past five years. Its replacement, however, looks much more sensible – and yet still like something fresh and different.

Thanks to Daimler AG, the Infiniti Q50 has a four-cylinder 2.1-litre turbodiesel engine on offer, making it a realistic proposition for company car drivers. This car is competitive, its maker claims, in all the ways the G37 wasn’t.

Infiniti also offers a hybrid version, which couples a 3.5-litre petrol V6 petrol to an electric motor and a seven-speed automatic transmission. This version of the Q50's available with four-wheel drive too, which might tempt those looking for year-round dependability.

Does this mean that the Infiniti Q50 belongs on your driveway, or on your employer’s fleet scheme, even? Let’s find out.

Top 5 Luxury

First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Explore the Infiniti range

Driven this week

  • Car review
    23 September 2016
    Aston kicks off its ‘second century plan’ with an all-new turbo V12 grand tourer
  • Ford Ka+ 1.2 Ti-VCT 85
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    A rounded, refined and well-sorted bargain supermini – once you’re used to the confusing role redefinition imposed on the once-cheeky Ka
  •  Maserati Ghibli Diesel
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    Maserati releases another range of updates for its range best seller, the Ghibli. We've driven the diesel version, but there's little improvement on before
  • Tipo Front
    First Drive
    21 September 2016
    New Fiat Tipo offers impressive space and practicality for a reasonable price. We try the 1.6 diesel on the demanding roads of North Wales
  • Seat Ateca 1.4 TSI 150
    First Drive
    20 September 2016
    The Seat Ateca 1.4 TSI 150 makes perfect sense: it's spacious, tidy to drive for an SUV and cheap to run