If you’d never heard of Infiniti before, you certainly wouldn’t be alone. The premium arm of Nissan has, in previous years, sold very few cars here in the UK.

That looks set to change though with the launch of this, the Q30 hatchback, which places the Infiniti in direct competition with fleet favourites like the Audi A3 Sportback and BMW 1-series.

From the outside, the Q30 certainly stands out from the crowd; it sits a little higher than most hatchbacks in this segment, giving it a more muscular and chunky profile.

Powerful diesel engine

Under the bonnet of our test car is 2.1-litre four-cylinder diesel, previously seen in the Mercedes-Benz A-class, offering 167hp and 350Nm of torque. Getting from 0-62mph takes 8.5 seconds and mated to the engine is a responsive seven-speed automatic gearbox, again borrowed from the Mercedes hatch.

It’s a little rough around the edges and noisy to accelerate at times, even with the standard Active Noise Cancellation system fitted, but once up to speed, the engine proves refined and smooth, especially on the motorway.

It’s not as exciting to drive as the BMW or Audi, that said, the steering is well-weighted and can be adapted via the Drive Mode Selector which when selected in Sport mode, adds noticeably more weight. The suspension is soft enough to soak up the majority of potholes and bumps on the road too, and overall the car rides very well, one of its key strengths.

Our test car is also fitted with the firms all-wheel drive system which provides plenty of grip for tackling corners at speed and will bring extra peace of mind when the worst of the UK weather arrives. Although the extra grip means a sportier drive, be prepared to be penalised on running costs for picking four-wheel drive.

Lots of standard kit

One of the Q30’s standout qualities is the amount of kit you get as standard, there’s lots of tech on offer in our Sport trim car tested here. The highlights include; dual-zone climate control, automatic high beam, a reversing camera, keyless entry, sat-nav, a six-speaker sound system, lane departure warning, rear parking sensors and cruise control.

Interior quality is another high point, although not quite as luxurious as it’s Audi rival, the fabrics and various controls feel durable and refined, plus the Alcantara on the dashboard adds extra pizzazz. We particularly like the sports seats on this model and the rotary dial makes navigating around the infotainment system easy.

Not as spacious as rivals

When it comes to practicality, the Q30 is a little behind the competition. The cars sloping roofline means a restriction on headroom, especially for those in the rear while legroom is also a little cramped for those in the back. 

There’s plenty of boot space on offer, though, with 430 litres available, easily enough room for the weekly shop or a couple of suitcases. Storage options around the cabin are plentiful too, plus there are two USB ports, ideal for charging numerous devices on the move. 

How do the sums add up?

The Q30 is positioned as a premium alternative to the Audi A3 and BMW 1 Series and P11D prices reflect this. It lags behind its rivals when it comes to residuals though, our test car has an RV of 30.61% based on three years and 60,000 miles, the comparable four-wheel drive BMW and A3 both have residuals closer to 40 percent, recorded at 36.30% and 37.19% respectfully.

The cost-per-mile again sees the Infiniti lose out significantly with our model costing 68.85p, while the BMW achieves 59.81p and the A3 is at 60.57p.

As we’ve previously mentioned, the Q30 uses an older engine borrowed from Mercedes-Benz, as a result CO2 emissions are pretty high at 129g/km while official combined fuel economy is 57.6mpg, not even close to the 1 Series which achieves 119g/km of CO2 and an official combined consumption figure of 62.8mpg.

The key stats at a glance

P11D price: £30,875
Engine: 2.1-litre diesel
Residual value: 30.61%
Cost per mile: 68.85p
Combined fuel economy: 57.6mpg
CO2 emissions (BIK band): 129g/km (25%)
BIK 20/40%: £128/£257
Power/torque: 187hp/350Nm
0-62mph: 8.5 seconds