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by Tim Beissmann

The 2013 Infiniti Q50 will be available with a high-performance hybrid option when the all-new premium mid-sized sedan goes on sale later this year.

The 264kW Infiniti Q50 Hybrid will sit at the top of the new model line, supporting the 245kW naturally aspirated V6 petrol variant in the initial launch line-up.

Infiniti has confirmed a number of additional powertrains – believed to include four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines and a 3.0-litre V6 diesel – will join the range shortly after the launch of the hybrid and petrol V6 variants.

Replacing the Infiniti G sedan and becoming the first model to adopt the Japanese luxury car maker’s new naming structure, the Infiniti Q50 is set to become Infiniti Australia’s volume model when it launches towards the end of 2013, with its sights firmly set on the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, Lexus GS and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

The Infiniti Q50 Hybrid features a petrol-electric drivetrain based on the one used to power the larger Infiniti M35h sedan, teaming a 50kW/270Nm electric motor with a 221kW/346Nm 3.5-litre petrol V6 for a combined output of 264kW. Although Infiniti is yet to release official fuel consumption data for the Q50 Hybrid, the car’s smaller size and lighter weight should see it undercut the 5.5 litres per 100km average achieved by the M35h.

The 245kW/365Nm 3.7-litre V6 in the standard Infiniti Q50 carries over from the G37, and is tipped to consume around 6.0L/100km combined.

Both variants are equipped with a seven-speed automatic transmission and can be ordered in either rear- or all-wheel-drive.

Revealed yesterday in a series of leaked images, the Infiniti Q50 features a conservative yet elegant exterior design that draws inspiration from the Essence concept as well as the brand’s latest production car releases. The Q50 sports a prominent example of Infiniti’s signature grille; heavily contoured bonnet, front bumper and side panels; and the trademark C-pillar kink.

At 4783mm long, 1824mm wide, 1443mm tall and riding on a 2850mm wheelbase, the Q50 is 159mm longer, 13mm wider and 14mm taller than the 3 Series sedan, and measures 40mm longer between the wheels.

Infiniti says its new mid-sizer introduces two world-first technologies to the production car arena. The first – Infiniti Direct Adaptive Steering – allows advanced control of the Q50’s tyre angle and steering inputs, offering four different settings to suit driver preference and changing road conditions. The second – Active Lane Control – uses a camera-based lane marker detection system to enhance on-centre driving ability and improve the car’s capacity to track true.

A number of advanced driver assist safety features are also available across the new Q50 range including adaptive LED headlights with high-beam assist, Around View monitor with moving object detection function, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning and emergency braking, lane departure prevention and blind spot assist.

The focal point of the cabin is the new ‘Infiniti InTouch’ human machine interface, which comprises two touchscreen displays and features hands-free voice control. The system manages the car’s infotainment functions, and is supported by a ‘Studio on Wheels’ by Bose with up to 14 speakers.

Standard inside the Q50 is a Drive Mode selector with five options (Eco, Standard, Sport, Snow and Custom), dual-zone climate control and eight-way power-adjustable front seats, while optional features include leather upholstery, an advanced climate control system with air purifier, and solid magnesium steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.