2014 Infiniti Q50 Research Click to hide
At first, we scoffed at the Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge concept. "Okay, it's just another sporty compact sports sedan," we thought. And then we read this: "If we built this car, I would expect it to feature over 500 hp and 600 lb-ft of torque. Through our various alliance partners, we have access to a range of engines featuring this performance capability which, with a fair amount of engineering effort, can be developed to exhibit Infiniti character accommodated within the Q50 engine bay. The engine we are evaluating for the Q50 Eau Rouge is a big personality, V-cylinder engine with forced induction. I think our engineers have been waiting for a project like this."
That's according to Infiniti CEO Johan de Nysschen. And that engine sounds like they're planning to shove a Nissan GT-R engine underneath the hood of the Infiniti Q50.
What you see here looks like a 2014 Infiniti Q50 with some carbon fiber doodads here and there. And, indeed, it is. But it also represents, to quote Infiniti's literature a "design vision for high-performance products."
And it could possibly represent the start of what could be one hell of a super sedan.
The name Eau Rouge takes the car's color into account--it's blood red--as well as the French Spa racing circuit's most harrowing corner and the fact that Infiniti's partnership in Formula 1 racing is with Red Bull. In case you're not fully up to date on your dinnertime racing trivia, Infiniti Red Bull Racing has been among the most dominant forces in motorsports over the past few years. Few people outside the U.S. have any idea what Infiniti is, though. And that's why this car is debuting at the North American International Auto Show, the U.S.'s only true global auto show.
Who It's For
Lexus has F. BMW has M. Mercedes-Benz has AMG. Cadillac has V. All of this alphabet soup basically represents what each company uses to denote their high-performance products. Yet, Infiniti has...um, nothing. This car ought to be a signal that the brand is getting ready to change that.
Only the windows and the roof design have basically been kept intact from the standard Infiniti Q50. The rest of the car has been pulled, stretched, and massaged. It features a carbon fiber roof, lightweight 21-inch wheels, and aerodynamic body design throughout. Of course, carbon fiber is copious. And then, if our guesses are right, there's a twin-turbocharged, 3.8-liter Godzilla of a V-6 underneath its hood.
During the summer, your author spent a few days at Nissan 360. There, there were Nissan GT-Rs available for media and Nissan staff to drive; it was de Nysschen's first time behind the wheel of a GT-R. I was standing in front of him in line. Who knows, maybe this destroyer of worlds could have come from a summer of planning?
What We Think
Mother. Of. God.
Nissan has a history of taking the running gear from a Nissan GT-R and shoving it underneath anything that'll accommodate it. First was the Nissan Juke-R. I told the gentleman in charge of the program to come up with an NV200-R for the fun of it. I hope he takes my suggestion to heart.
But this--this looks like it could be the mother load; it could be what the GT-R was to supercars in sedan form. If Infiniti has the gall to build such a car, it could annihilate Cadillac ATS-Vs, Mercedes-Benz C63 AMGs, BMW M3s, and like. It could be a total game-changer. It really could. But only if it's built with the sort of ambition that de Nysschen has described. After all, the Infiniti Q50 and Nissan GT-R are loosely based on the same chassis.
The Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge is a promising concept. Our last questions are when will it be built and how much will it cost?
Infiniti still has quite a few gaps in its lineup to be a truly global automaker, such as a small-displacement four-cylinder engine for the Q50, the impending Q30, and a flagship luxury sedan. We hope those niches get filled just as quickly as a supposed performance sedan. But if Infiniti needed to drum up some excitement--and it did--we can't think of a better way to do it than the Q50 Eau Rouge concept.
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