Infiniti’s turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol-engined Q30 plays an important role in the model range, filling the yawning gap between the 108 and 168bhp diesels – and filling it reasonably well.
Against the clock, the Q30 accelerates from rest to 60mph in 9.4sec, making it almost exactly as quick as most of its closest German rivals.
It also has enough low and mid-range torque, and sufficiently well-balanced gearing, to manage the 30-70mph fourth-gear sprint in just a smidge over 15 seconds – almost two seconds quicker than a BMW 118i.
More important, the Q30 manages that performance level without breaking much of a sweat.
That 1.6-litre motor is generally smooth and quiet everywhere except at very high engine speeds, and it does its work smartly and without fuss.
Our noise meter had the car at an advantage of several decibels versus a BMW 118i at a 50mph cruise, with road noise being as well smothered as engine thrum. So, although it’s not as economical as it might be (which we’ll come to), it’s a hard engine to fault in simple objective terms.
And yet the turbocharged motor seems oddly sluggish on first acquaintance, as a result of particularly strange accelerator pedal response, which seems to reserve about 50 percent of engine power for the last 10 percent of the pedal’s travel.