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Britain's least-known mid-sized exec gets new fleet credentials

The hard yards stretch on for Japanese luxury brand Infiniti.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders’ registration statistics for 2014 contained one reason to be cheerful for the marque: a full year of sales of the Q50 compact executive saloon inflated its UK volume to almost double what it was the year before.

Infiniti is looking to an unlikely source for sales progression: the Q70 mid-size executive saloon

That would have looked like a huge success for a lot of premium players. Unfortunately for this one it still meant registering fewer than 800 cars in the UK – barely any more for the whole year than close competitor Lexus managed in the sleepy month of December alone.

The story is little more positive when told in Continental terms. Despite investing big in the five years prior to establish itself as a European player of note, Infiniti’s 2014 volume within the EU was still considered insignificant enough that the ACEA, Europe’s association of car makers, didn’t bother listing it in its annual statistical press release.

Although Infiniti is reasonably well established in other parts of the world, in Europe it’s probably best known as the brand that has been plastered all over Red Bull Racing’s and now the Renault's Formula One car.

It must be a worrying context into which to launch not one but two all-new British-built cars, but at least the Q30 hatchback and QX30 crossover are in growth segments.

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Until they arrive, though, Infiniti is looking to an unlikely source for sales progression: the Q70 middleweight executive saloon, which has been given a price slash, a styling refresh, a new diesel engine and a different name. Will any of the above turn the car into a markedly better BMW 5 Series rival than the Infiniti M30d was four years ago?

Infiniti Q70 2013-2018 First drives