Spontaneous and fluid, the QX30 Concept is Infiniti’s design idea of a premium compact crossover that not only effortlessly handles anything the city or weather throws at it but also does it with style and panache.
The sloping coupe lines have been beefed up with robust facets to give the four-door concept an air of being ready to explore its neighborhood and beyond. The high ground clearance at 192 mm (7.6 inches) gives the driver an elevated view of the surroundings and confidence to go through potholes or uneven terrain.
Standing at 4430 mm (174.3 inches) long, 1815 mm (71.4 inches) wide and 1520 mm (59.9 inches) high, the Infiniti QX30 Concept is a progressive interpretation of a premium compact crossover for the future.
“We wanted the spontaneous fluidity of the QX30 Concept design to cut through the urban clutter and rigidity, reflecting its go-anywhere and spur-of-the-moment nature,” said Alfonso Albaisa, Infiniti Executive Design Director. “With its higher stance and edgier design to match its tough capabilities, you can almost visualize how the QX30 Concept floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee.”
The QX30 Concept is Infiniti’s next step in extending the brand into the global compact premium segment, following the 2013 debut of the Q30 Concept in Frankfurt. Both vehicles are in the same family, with the QX30 Concept about 30 mm higher than the Q30 Concept.
“The Q30 Concept was like a panther, lithe and slender. We transformed the QX30 Concept into a mountain lion, strong and muscular,” said Albaisa. “The QX30 Concept design conveys a gritty sense of durability but tough doesn’t mean rough. We’ve retained a sense of artistry throughout, even in the most functional of parts.”
At first glance, the signature Infiniti face is unmistakable, with the meshed motif of the double arch grille framed by the accusing stare characteristic of the Infiniti headlamps.
The satin chrome of the bumper lower immediately conveys the reassurance that comes from a big protective plate. The designers dropped the bumper lower and enlarged the side openings, giving the impression that the grille hangs lower. The flaring air intakes visually intersect with the lower part of the grille, playing up the contrast between the grille and the fluid lines of the airfoil.
“You get this sense of heavy breathing from the car, as though the car is a well-honed athlete performing at a high level,” explained Albaisa.
The theme of stylish protection runs throughout the entire car, from the matte carbon trim that outlines the lower profile to the milled sword-like metal insert in the kick plates under the doors.
The QX30 Concept’s sleek exterior shape is composed of bold sections, deep uppercuts and intersections to create Infiniti’s hallmark “dual wave” effect. The aerodynamic design accentuates its athletic silhouette, showcasing its confident capability. Carbon fibre in the lower cladding and roof bar supports add to the car’s lightweight performance character.
In the rear, the designers have sculpted nuanced graphics into what would be a run-of-the-mill skid plate, reinforcing the sense of contemporary fortification.
Where rubber meets the road
The QX30 Concept is meant to awaken one’s sense of adventure and Infiniti designers achieved this by giving the crossover a sure-footed stance. Taking a wheel-oriented approach, they physically increased the ratio of tire to the body by using 21-inch wheels and large tires. They also increased the blackout around the wheel opening for a rock-solid look.
Juxtaposing black carbon and aluminum that echoes the body colour, the designers came up with a unique two-tone design for the wheel. The spokes are a mix of three-dimensional milled aluminum and matte rubber material, interlocking and twisting in and out in a distinctive manner.
On the surface, the spokes give the illusion of thick metal. But up close, they are aesthetically lightweight, thanks to the three-dimensional milling that allows the spokes to be undercut into thin surfaces.
“Playing the fluidity of the hard material against the rubber feeling of the soft material was key to how we used expected materials in an unexpected way,” said Albaisa. “It is the unconventional execution of a conventional element that makes the QX30 Concept a style leader.”
A roof with a curated view
True to its crossover nature, the QX30 Concept sports roof racks, which not only have practical uses but also frame the view through the glass roof. The roof racks extend toward the centre line, creating a captivating perspective especially for rear passengers to see through.
“Sometimes a clear view out of a rectangular window isn’t all that interesting. But if there’s an object between you and what you want to see, that object artistically contours your view of it,” said Albaisa. “Likewise, the roof racks become a sculpture which you see through and around. In an almost interactive way, the roof racks compose and frame your environment, inspiring and enhancing your view of the outside world.”
Inviting interior, shared spaces
The authentic, warm and inviting interior of the QX30 Concept sets the tone for Infiniti’s aim to emotionally engage the vehicle’s occupants.
The dark environment made up of brown leather and blue accents dovetails with the outdoors appeal of the exterior, while all four seats have been streamlined for a suspended look, evoking a feeling of trained athleticism.
The designers opted for a U-shaped seat frame and partially wrapped it with a layer of premium Connolly saddle leather offset by contrast blue stitching. The exposed part of the frame encloses a see-through gap, which lends a three-dimensional quality to the interior without adding visual weight. Seat bolsters are covered in quilted leather for additional comfort.
By keeping the seats slim, the designers were able to enhance the impression of shared space within the cabin. By reducing the gulf between the driver and the passengers, the designers were able to make the car a place for occupants to connect with one another.
Reflecting Infiniti’s philosophy that premium character begins with high-quality materials, the understated expression of personality in the QX30 Concept interior is bolstered by the creative use of genuine materials throughout.
The intricate leather weave pattern in the carpet adds texture to the cabin while the bright blue backing underneath supplements subtle touches of color to the dominantly brown environment.
An atmosphere of precise detailing also pervades the interior, clearly evident in the tailor-wrapped steering wheel and armrest. The saddle leather trim on the armrest extends into the B-pillar, making both the armrest and the door appear longer and sleeker.
“The QX30 Concept embraces the city and is an explorer at heart,” said Francois Bancon, Infiniti Vice President, Product Strategy. “Its chiseled good looks ensure that it’ll always be the trendsetter whether it’s roaming the neighborhood or wandering further afield.”