I’ve been reading some of the web threads and letters on Infiniti of late and think it might be time to put the record straight a bit on Nissan’s luxury brand.
Even though the cars are good, Infiniti already seems to have copped all manner of flak. Observations like, it’ll never take off; BMW won’t notice or care; they’re just Datsuns in disguise and it’s going to be like Lexus all over again.
Why all the hostility?
OK, let’s take the last one first. Lest we forget, Lexus was created originally for North America where over the years it’s been hugely successful and influential (yes, even Mercedes and BMW had to sit up and take notice). Europe has been a much harder slog and 20 years on, Lexus is still mostly about refinement, comfort, quality and luxury, and now eco-friendly hybrids, of course.
Driver appeal and sportiness have never been high on the agenda - until the IS-F came along, that is. And it’s here that the two Japanese brands part company.
Infiniti most definitely is about driver appeal and sportiness, just the kind of things readers of this site and mag are wired in to. Nissan has some demon engineers who turn out good stuff like the 370Z, Skyline and GT-R and when you drive the latest Infinitis, you can feel this DNA coming through.