Infiniti wants to be taken seriously as a performance car maker – and drizzle some of its championship-winning Red Bull F1 sponsorship garnish over its road car programme. It’s led to this: the Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge concept.
It’s a supersaloon version of the Q50, named of after the ballsiest corner at the Spa-Francorchamps F1 circuit, and pointing to a new AMG and BMW M-car rival from Nissan’s luxury arm.
Is Infiniti really going after the German supersaloon big boys?
This is more a shot across the bows of AMG, Quattro GmbH and BMW Division than a nuke dropped right on the new M3’s head. The Q50 Eau Rouge certainly looks the part – only the front doors and A-pillars are shared with the showroom-spec Q50 saloon.
Carbonfibre (what else) is used for the snouty front splitter, and the wheelarches are blistered outwards by 20mm front and rear. A pert bootlid spoiler and aggressive rear diffuser complete the body’s makeover (complete with F1-style central foglight), while the car rolls on 21in forged wheels. All in all, it’s certainly worthy of drawing glances next to the equally butch BMW M3 and Lexus RC-F.
Are those tweaks writing cheques the vital stats can’t cash?
Infiniti says it’s still evaluating what could power the Q50 Eau Rouge, but wants no less than 500bhp and 600lb ft from the car, which should use a ‘big personality, forced-induction engine’.
There’s only one motor in the Nissan stable which fits that high-profile bill and is capable of producing the required figures: the 3.8-litre twin-turbo V6 in the nose of the Nissan GT-R and Nismo GT-R. If the Q50 were to keep the clever all-wheel drive system and bullet-quick twin-clutch gearbox, a four-door GT-R could be one of the ultimate super-saloon recipes.
Infiniti boss Johan de Nysschen teased the idea of a new performance sub-brand further, saying ‘Q50 Eau Rouge provides not only a glimpse of the design language, but also the performance capability of a future special series’.
>> Should Infiniti bite the bullet and launch a car to beat the BMW M3 and Mercedes C63 AMG? Weigh in to the debate below