Despite being 21 years old, Infiniti, Nissan‘s premium brand, is hardly known in the UK largely because it only launched here last year, and because, rather than worrying about diesels, the marque has majored in powerful petrol engines that convey an air of performance and luxury.

But all that is about to change with the arrival of the M30d, an upper medium-class car that retains those elements of performance and luxury while housing a 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine that assures Infiniti will suddenly be a lot more appealing to UK buyers.

On the downside, the M30d has emissions of 199g/km CO2 – below the 200g/km barrier but far above its key rivals including the BMW

5-series. It is also pricey, keeping trim levels simple and offering more specification as standard but for more money – in this case, £44,120. Put these two things aside, however, and what you have is a brilliant car.

It’s quite American-looking, with a bulbous bonnet and back end that won’t be to everyone’s tastes, but it does stand apart in this popular sector dominated by the BMW 5-series, Mercedes E-class, Audi A6 and Jaguar XF.

The M30d also has some canny safety features including Blind Spot Intervention, which not only warns drivers of vehicles in their blind spot but, if this is ignored, also intervenes by an automatic directional adjustment achieved by “selective braking to ease the vehicle back to its original lane”. The vehicle is also equipped with Intelligent Brake Assist, which will engage brakes to avoid an accident if the driver doesn’t respond to an in-car warning.

The M30d may well lose out on emissions and price (although speccing rivals to match the Infiniti’s kit levels would leave them costing something similar), but excellent power, steering, handling and transmission makes this an enjoyable ride that is hard to fault. However, the Infiniti’s exclusivity will be the biggest deal-sealer for a select few execs who realise the potential of this excellent luxury car.

Infiniti M30d 3.0 V6 GT Premium
P11D price £44,120
Model price range £36,750-£46,600
Fuel consumption 37.7mpg
CO2 (tax) 199g/km/(31%)
BIK 20/40% per month £228/£456
Service interval N/A
Insurance group 46
Warranty 3yrs/60,000mls
Boot space 450 litres
Engine size/power 2993cc/236hp
Top speed/0-62mph 155mph/6.9ecs
On sale November 2010
Score 8/10
Verdict Excellent if pricey
alternative to
German norm