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Road Tests

Infiniti Q50, motoring review: it's not quite the tweet life as Nissan takes on the Germans


PRICE: £30,050
ENGINE CAPACITY: 2.1-litre turbodiesel
POWER OUTPUT (BHP @ rpm) 168 @ 3,000-4,200
TOP SPEED (mph) 144
FUEL ECONOMY (mpg) 64.2.8
CO2 EMISSIONS (g/km) 114

If you inhabit the mid-to-upper reaches of middle management at a decent-sized company and are still lucky enough to be offered a company car, the chances are you'll covet a BMW 3-Series. Or perhaps an Audi A4. Either way it will be German, solid, not particularly exciting to look at, but (for reasons that are beyond me) eminently covetable by men of a certain age.

This, though, is the Infiniti Q50. It's new, it's from Japan and its owners (Nissan) hope that it will lure these corporate types out of their German wagons and into something a little different. How do they intend to do this? With Twitter and Facebook, of course.

This car comes with Twitter and Facebook apps built in as standard, so, in theory, all drivers have to do is plug in their smartphone and they can tweet on the A303 and 'like' statuses all the way down the M3 to that office conference. As with many in-car entertainment systems, it wisely doesn't work on the go, but it raises an interesting question. Last month it was reported some foolish car owners were paying unscrupulous garages to hack their car's touch-screen displays and televisions so they could watch TV on the go.

So while we may no longer be concerned how fast they go, we do want our cars to be tapped into social media, apparently. The cynic in me isn't totally convinced. That doesn't matter, though, because with the Q50 there's already a hitch. If this car were a BMW the apps would work just fine, but they don't. Infiniti has gone for a complex two-screen set-up – both are tricky to use, and the bottom screen (which controls the apps) is at at worst infuriatingly slow and jerky. And while the Facebook app comes as standard, you'll have to fork out £1,920 for a sat nav or a staggering £2,760 for the media pack, which includes a proper digital radio.

To be fair to the Q50, it's pretty to look at and its Mercedes-sourced diesel engine is frugal and clean. It also feels different from its Germanic rivals. But being different and staying "connected" wouldn't tempt me out of a BMW. If I were a middle manager, that is.