Car group tests

Infiniti M30d vs Lexus GS450h

We see how the Infiniti M and Lexus GS shape up

Infiniti M30d vs. Lexus GS450h
Looking for something different in the executive sector? You don’t always have to go with the established brands. German firms are the global superpowers in this market, and the Jaguar XF is a popular choice here in the UK. But we’ve put a couple of Far Eastern rivals to the test in this head-to-head. 
In the US, Lexus and Infiniti have both taken the fight to the major players for years. Yet while Lexus is a familiar name in the UK, Infiniti is a relative newcomer. The latest addition to its range is the M saloon. This offers a choice of petrol or diesel power – with a hybrid version due to join the range later in the year – plus has unique styling and comes packed with equipment.
Here we put the M30d under the spotlight, with its 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine promising to provide mainstream appeal. Up against it is a more recognisable face from Lexus. Toyota’s luxury division has a 20-year history here, and has committed to a 100 per cent hybrid future. The petrol-electric GS 450h is its only offering in this sector. 
It has an award-winning dealer network and great reputation for customer care on its side. But can it match the appeal of the Infiniti?
Our contenders are similarly priced and aimed squarely at the same customers. They also share an attractive blend of quality, refinement and technology. So, which of these unusual suspects is a better alternative to the traditional executive options?

Verdict

Congratulations, Infiniti! The new M30d is the most convincing car the firm has produced, and it registers a first Auto Express road test win for the brand. Executive car buyers will appreciate its comprehensive kit list, and refinement is very impressive, too. 
The newcomer is no dynamic match for the BMW 5-Series or Jaguar XF, but it rides and corners better than the Lexus. The bigger and more opulent cabin, practical boot and superior economy ensure it takes victory. 
While the GS 450h is fast, thanks to its hybrid powertrain, it’s let down by its dated styling and interior. Plus, it’s more expensive to buy and has weaker residuals. Worse still, the hybrid was outperformed by the diesel Infiniti at the pumps. The M30d will cost business users more, but it’s worth the extra. The only fly in the ointment is the sparsity of Infiniti dealers.

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