Infiniti Q80 Inspiration unveiled at Paris motor show 2014

Published: 01 October 2014

This is the new Infiniti Q80 Inspiration concept car, shown at the 2014 Paris motor show for the first time today. It’s a large, four-door fastback – a kind of Porsche Panamera from Japan, if you will.

And the Q80 has more than mere knock-em-dead-at-a-motor-show relevance; something looking a bit like this will crown the rejuvenated Infiniti range by the end of the decade, officials tell CAR magazine.

Infiniti Q80 Inspiration: in detail

The big Infiniti made a splash on the company’s Mondial de l’Automobile stand for various reasons. A company like Infiniti sitting on the fringes of European tastes needs to make a splash, and the Q80 is a smart way to grab our attention.

It signifies Nissan’s desire to keep pushing Infiniti upwards; to date it’s mostly focused on crossovers and a range of saloons, derived from US-market needs. Infiniti remains much bigger in North America than its marginal status in Europe would have us believe.

But now the brand is being stretched. The new European-focused Q30 compact crossover arrives in 2015, based on the innards of a Mercedes A-class and built in Sunderland, UK. And with something approximating the Q80 crowning the range by 2020, you can sense CEO Carlos Ghosn’s resolve to keep nibbling away at the German premium hegemony.

It’s worth paying attention to the styling of the Q80, and its import for future Infinitis…

The design story

The Q80 Inspiration was styled at the new Infiniti design centre in London. It’s a standalone studio alongside Nissan’s one in Paddington and design chief Shiro Nakamura claims it’s the world’s most urban styling base.

‘Most inner-city design studios are in fact not in the middle of the city,’ he told CAR. ‘This one is. London is an extraordinary multi-cultural city and the type of premium customers we want to appeal to live here. It is a natural place for Infiniti to be based.’

The team, under the studio’s new boss, veteran stylist Brit Simon Cox, has drawn an imposing car. It’s big – more than five metres long at 5060mm – and dripping with cool details.

‘We want this car to be about romantic travel,’ Cox says. ‘We need to get on more people’s radars.’ He wants to shake up Infiniti design to position it as a smart alternative to the predictable Germans. Has the Q80 got what it takes? Click ‘Add your comment’ below and sound off.

A four-seater hybrid

Suicide rear doors open up to reveal a pillarless side profile. It’s a common motor show trick to showcase the Q80’s glorious four-seater cabin. It’s opulent in here, with cool laser-milled aluminium sitting cheek by jowl with carbonfibre and soft-touch leather.

‘This is our most premium, progressive and stirring concept yet,’ said Infiniti design director Alfonso Albaisa. ‘Seeing this vast and imposing car for the first time can suck the air from your lungs, like a blow to the stomach. Q80 is currently the highest number in the Infiniti range – the halo, the icon, the very nucleus of our road cars. As such it is justifiably grand in every aspect.’

This is a hybrid car and those dramatic C-pillars – dubbed the crescent cut – are more three-dimensional than ever, channeling cooling air to the rear-mounted battery packs. At this stage, no details of the powertrain have been released.

Click here for more Paris motor show coverage.

By Tim Pollard

Group digital editorial director, motoring news magnet