The Infiniti Drive Singapore

BY Azfar Hashim

Infiniti showcases its technologies with a tailored drive event

Photos courtesy of Wearnes Automotive

Wearnes Automotive, the local Infiniti dealer, hosted owners, prospective customers and members of the media to a special experience recently. This select few were given the opportunity to get behind the wheels of Infiniti's current model line-up - namely the Q50, Q70 and QX70 - at the Infiniti Drive Singapore event. Here, attendees experienced the newest and most celebrated features through a series of rigorous driving exercises meant to push the limits of every driver's capability.

In one exercise, participants navigated a challenging course using a QX70 with blacked-out windows. Relying solely on Infiniti's Around View Monitor (AVM), drivers had to drive around the course using only the system to avoid hitting or running over a cone. To be honest, it was easier said than done as yours truly here had to (a) quickly get used to the system, (b) follow the guidance from the AVM and (c) ensure none of the cones gets 'killed'...

Like every other modern gadget the market has to offer, it takes time to get familiar and used to this assistance; hence it was only at the second try that I manage to drive slightly faster and with more confidence (make that trust). The AVM allows for a near 360-degree view of the vehicle and its immediate surroundings, which is projected onto the high resolution monitor of the car's infotainment screen. One major advantage of this system is it increases the driver's awareness of the vehicle's environment, and assists the driver during parking manoeuvres, thereby reducing the risk of an accident.

In a separate exercise, participants tested Infiniti's Direct Adaptive Steering (DAS) system through a gymkhana course which included a series of slaloms and tight manoeuvres.

The DAS-fitted Q50

The DAS-fitted Q50

Wondering what is DAS? Well, with the employment of a clutch and a host of electronic mechanisms along the rack and pinion steering system, it negates any shock from uneven road surfaces and irregularities to travel from the front two wheels to the steering. This meant you do not need to constantly correct the steering wheel while driving along mixed road surfaces as this system is ironing it out on your behalf. It also helps to minimise driver fatigue, therefore enhancing overall safety for the driver and all of the vehicle's occupants.

… and the one without DAS

… and the one without DAS

True enough, I really felt the difference between a DAS-fitted Q50 Sport and another without the system. In the DAS-fitted car, it felt easier to drive around a simulated tight course as it 'lightens' the weight of the steering wheel. On top of that, in a high speed elk test part of the course, you do not have to wrangle the steering but instead, control it in a non-aggressive manner to put the car on course. However in the car without, driving along the same tight course does make things a little stressful (as a motoring journalist, there's a reputation to maintain you see) and during the elk test, balancing the car and straightening the direction of travel is more challenging.

During this event, participants also experienced the different pre-set drive modes available in Infiniti's vehicles. Choosing from 'Sport' to 'Eco', drivers picked the driving characteristic of the car they were in; depending on the driver's preference, they get to pick either to drive in an aggressive and sporty manner or one that is focused on comfort and maximised fuel-efficiency.

It was during this part of the course I was reminded once again why the QX70 is one my favourite premium SUV: While driving it along a charted route in Changi, on top of road presence it has a nicely-balanced ride along with melodious growl constantly coming from the bonnet. The brilliant build quality deserves praise too.

"At Infiniti, we are committed to delivering next-generation driving solutions that marries cutting-edge technology to the everyday driving experience," said Michael Cope, Senior Manager (Asia & Oceania) of Infiniti Motors Limited. "These systems are designed to make everyday drive safer, more convenient and most importantly, more enjoyable."

Also during this event, it was revealed the accomplishment of Infiniti's product offerings in the premium segment. According to the latest LTA statistics, the brand has enjoyed a 384 percent year-on-year growth in local vehicle registrations.

Representing Burnpavement

Representing Burnpavement