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This Q50 Sport oozes quality 

THERE’S no shortage of Japanese cars in the UK but I drove one model recently that has still to make a real impact on our roads.

The Infiniti range first went on sale in North America in 1989 but arrived in Europe just five years ago.

Infiniti is the luxury brand of Nissan and is aimed at taking sales from prestige competitors such as BMW, Audi and Mercedes.

I’ve sampled a couple of the models since its impressive state-of-the-art dealership opened in Glasgow with the initial line-up consisting of a G range of coupe, convertible and saloons, EX crossover, FX luxury SUV and range-topping M saloon.

A new premium mid-size saloon – Q50 – joined the stable a year ago when Infiniti also renamed its full line-up so all models will be known by the letter Q, or for the crossovers QX.

The Q50 was available with a 2.2-litre diesel engine or a 3.5-litre petrol/electric hybrid drivetrain at launch and a 2-litre turbo-charged petrol model has just been added.

And I got the chance to sample this new power unit in the gleaming 2.0T Sport test car.

The Q50 has an elegant look with its flowing lines and boasts a powerful yet stylish front with its double-arch grille and sweeping headlights.

Its prestige looks are matched inside by the high quality materials used, and an impressive dashboard layout that features dual touchscreens.

There was lots of high-tech standard features and equipment onboard this Sport model and this was further boosted by the £2,760 multimedia pack.

This featured a superb 14-speaker Bose Premium sound system with DAB radio and a top-notch sat-nav system.

The driver’s and front sports-designed leather seats provided excellent comfort and there was ample room in the back for three medium-sized adults, and there’s a fairly large 500-litres of boot space.

Push the start button and the 208bhp engine comes to life with the power coming through a smooth seven-speed automatic gearbox.

With its 7.2 seconds sprint time to 62mph and top speed of 152mpg, this Q50 isn’t short of acceleration power when you need it.

Gear changes are responsive when required and you can also use the steering wheel paddles to move up and down.

The Q50 is obviously well put together with no squeaks or rattles and very little wind and engine noise coming into the cabin when sitting at motorway speeds.

Ride comfort and handling, with good grip when cornering, is right is up there with its prestige competitors.

There is a high level of standard safety and security features that most owners would be happy with.

But the test car also had a £2,080 safety shield pack that included lane departure warning and prevention, blind spot warning, forward emergency braking and predictive collision warning, and distance control assist.

Fuel economy figures for this petrol-engined Q50 are impressive, capable of 43.5mpg combined, 54.3mpg extra urban and 32.1mpg urban.

Prices start at £27,950 with the test model costing £34,125, without its options.

This 2.0T Sport offers excellent value, and with its stylish looks, high-quality cabin and tech features, is good enough to add to the Q50’s appeal in the luxury sector.