Not exactly helping the case for the Infiniti Q50, is it?
The premium arm of the Nissan brand sells the Q50, a competitor to the likes of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and BMW 3 Series, to markets outside its own. The in land of the rising sun, they have the Skyline, which in 2019 is a mostly identical twin to the Infiniti.
“The Skyline is a symbol of Nissan technology, and at 62 years, it has the longest history of any Nissan model,” said Asako Hoshino, Nissan executive vice president. “With the latest advanced technologies, including ProPILOT 2.0, the new Skyline offers customers an even more exciting and confident driving experience.”
To delve into the nuances of why the both brands cannot, or should not, coexist in their home territory would take too long, but suffice to say the Japanese customers aren’t missing out on much as the Nissan badged car is, as far as we can tell, just as much a high quality product.
As part of a mid-cycle facelift for the Skyline saloon, Nissan has decided to give the car a generous helping of its ProPilot 2.0 semi-autonomous driving system as well as a decent visual overhaul. Up front is the V-Motion grille with most of the fascia altered to conform to its more angular aesthetic.
At the rear, the tail lamp housings look relatively unchanged but the array of illuminators has been replaced with twin circular units on each side - again, to mimic the quad arrangement on the R35’s own bum.
Overall, and this is quite subjective, but the added visual aggression afforded by the GT-R-inspired design gives the Skyline an aesthetic edge over its Infiniti counterpart, seeming much more the direct competitor to the German premium triumvirate - sans the Nissan badge, of course.
Under the bonnet, the Skyline’s engine selection does mirror that of the present-day Q50 with a number of turbocharged or hybrid petrols on offer either in rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive configurations.
With the 400R variant, buyers will even get the newer VR30DDTT 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 found on the Q50 400 Red Sport, even sharing its 298kW/475Nm output and, we suspect, much of its sharpened handling characteristic as well.
Like the Q50, though, the somewhat contentious Direct Adaptive Steering has found its way onto the 2020 Skyline. The drive-by-wire system claims to offer advantages over a conventional mechanical assist by being able to be continuously responsive to driver input relative to road conditions and adapt accordingly.
Meanwhile, the ProPilot 2.0 suite brings a new repertoire of semi-autonomous and driver-aid functionality including true hands-off driving while cruising. Driver attention is required for car to continue, though, and the in-cabin monitoring system continually confirms that the driver’s attention is on the road should an emergency situation needs human intervention.
If the driver fails to respond to an alert while driving, the system turns on the hazard lights and reduces the vehicle’s speed until coming to a stop. An SOS call service automatically establishes an audio connection to a dedicated call centre operator for emergency assistance.