What is it?
The new auto-only, 208bhp 2.0 turbo petrol version of Infiniti's Q50 compact saloon.
It joins existing £28,000-plus 2.2-litre diesel and £40,000-plus performance hybrid variants, and continues the brand's quickening assault on the most fruitful prestige segments by slotting in alongside the usual German stalwarts.
Unlike the diesel, there's no entry-level SE spec – only £31,775 Premium and, tested here, £34,125 Sport. That makes it £145 less expensive than equivalent diesel Q50s and pits the Sport against the £195-pricier, 242bhp BMW 328i M Sport auto.
It also faces rivalry from the £2280-cheaper, 181bhp Mercedes C200 AMG Line auto, with which it shares its spangly new US-built engine and familiar seven-speed transmission.
While the Q50 is closer in size to 3-series and C-class, the aged Nissan 'FM' platform beneath it means kerb weight falls uneasily into 5-series and E-class territory.
A penalty of 227kg over the C200 means both cars reach 62mph in just over seven seconds, despite the Infiniti's higher output. The 328i takes just 5.9sec, yet matches the Q50's economy.
What's it like?
Despite its hefty payload, the new single-turbo, aluminium-intensive, direct-injection engine is able to impress. The merest hint of lag is swept aside by strong, linear power delivery between 2000rpm and the 6500rpm red line.
As revs rise the engine note falls happily on the right side of sporting, yet is also eternally smooth and fades on a constant throttle – even showing 4000rpm in fourth at 70mph, the engine is hushed; in fifth or above, its silent.
The transmission is breezy rather than bellicose, even in Sport mode: neither the reaction to clicks on the positive-feeling magnesium paddles nor the shifts themselves are rapid. Slickness is the upside.
The Q50 Sport can only be had with Infiniti's unique steer-by-wire system, paired with a switchable lane-assist function. You'd arguably need to live with the latter to assess it fully, but the steering itself – adjustable for both weight and speed – is best in the middle of three settings.