Infiniti’s first foray into the upper echelons of the premium saloon category comes in the shape of the Q80 Inspiration – a concept that hints at a future Infiniti design language as well as new powertrain technologies.
Revealed on the eve of the Paris motor show, the Nissan sub-brand says the four-door concept is more than a flight of fancy envisioned by its design team.
“Q80 Inspiration is how we see the future in terms of moving people in the higher end of our portfolio. This car is making a statement. Q80 Inspiration is a precursor of a production model in this segment and, as such, integral to our future,” said Francois Bancon, Infiniti’s vice president of product strategy.
Measuring 2010 mm wide, 5060 mm long, and 1340 mm tall, the Q80 is saloon-like in dimension with fastback contouring. The sides feature wide opening portal-style doors that lead the driver and passengers into four individual seats.
“From a design perspective, the Q80 Inspiration is the epitome of provocation, a car that breaks the mould of traditional premium saloon dimension and body form. It delivers feminine elegance and muscular menace in equal measure and strikes big in terms of styling, craftsmanship, choice of materials and attention to detail,” said Infiniti design boss, Alfonso Albaisa.
Performance-wise, Infiniti claims the concept has a total power output of 543 bhp and 553 lb ft, which is delivered by an all-new, downsized twin turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 and hybrid electric powertrain. Fuel efficiency is reported to be in the region of 42.8 mpg and CO2 emissions are said to be about 129 g/km.
The new engine offers a precursor to a family of engines that will be introduced to the Infiniti portfolio within the next two years.
Coupled to the hybrid powertrain, a ‘smart’ drivetrain allows the driver to switch from rear wheel drive to all wheel drive depending on road conditions.
The Q80 Inspiration also previews the company’s forthcoming autonomous driving technology. Using cameras, lasers and sensors, the system is activated through a button on the left-hand side of the steering wheel.
Information is then relayed to the driver via a heads-up display projected on the windscreen. The system emits tones suggesting a course of action for the driver to take – such as when to accelerate and overtake or when to brake and fall in behind the car ahead.
“As part of our creativity and exploration philosophy, Infiniti considers that autonomous driving is an integral part of a premium car of tomorrow. In our case, we have taken the approach that autonomous driving should empower and enhance the driving experience, not do the driving. Our path of development is not taking us into the area of self-driving vehicles,” said Bancon.