NASHVILLE -- Infiniti is road-testing its next global model, the compact Q30 hatch, which will hit showrooms in 2016.
The new five-door will use the architecture of Mercedes-Benz's European-market A class and also will rely on a Daimler-designed, 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine.
Infiniti planners want the Q30 to open the brand to younger buyers. Explaining the model last year, Infiniti Americas chief Michael Bartsch said younger, new-to-the-segment luxury buyers want products that are outside the established model classifications offered in luxury showrooms.
In developing the Q30, Infiniti designers have attempted to synthesize a small, sporty coupe, a high-riding crossover and a cargo-friendly hatchback.
Infiniti is keeping its cards close to its vest on how the car will be rolled out globally. Initially, the Q30 will reach U.S. showrooms from Nissan's assembly plant in Sunderland, England. But in 2017, Infiniti will begin producing a trio of unspecified compact models at a new factory in Aguascalientes, Mexico, along with a trio of related Mercedes-Benz compact vehicles. Infiniti has hinted that a new, North American-tailored iteration of the Q30 will be sourced out of that plant, replacing the original Sunderland version.
The same development project also will yield a crossover version of the Q30 after 2017, referred to as the QX30. Both the Q30 and QX30 likely will drop the seven-speed automatic transmission that Mercedes uses in its version of the architecture, replacing it with an automatic or continuously variable transmission supplied by Nissan affiliate Jatco.