Infiniti Q60 Project Black S: an F1 skunkworks escapee?

Published: 03 March 2017

 Q60-based showcase in Project Black S spec
 A spin-off from Infiniti-Renault F1 partnership
 Energy recovery could boost power to 500bhp 

Days before its official unveiling at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, Infiniti has lifted the lid on its latest skunkworks creation – the menacingly-titled Project Black S. 

It’s not a bona-fide new model – or even a concept at this stage – but instead signals what could come about through Infiniti’s technical partnership with the Renault Sport Formula 1 team. 

Even so, a motorsport-inspired 500bhp hybrid energy recovery system, carbon-clad aero tweaks and an exhaust system which sounds better than the F1 car on which it’s based are all lined up for this hard-core coupe. 

Why use a hybrid powertrain?

Infiniti makes no bones about it – the potential hybrid element is there to gain power, not save polar bears. Sure, there’ll likely be an efficiency benefit but the priority here is making the car go faster. Excellent. 

The new Infiniti Q60 Project Black S

According to Infiniti, it could do this by using F1-inspired motor generator units (MGUs) to gather, store and recycle electrical energy – either from the car’s braking or exhaust gases or both. 

By doing this, the Japanese brand reckons that there’s an extra 25% of power to be had out of whichever engine the tech is fitted to (that’s an extra 100bhp from the existing 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 Q60).

What about the looks of the Infiniti Q60 Project Black S… are they just cosmetic?

Not at all – Infiniti is keen to point out that even though this is simply a show car, form still follows function. 

The Batmobile-esque looks may seem threateningly-aggressive at first glance, but the designers claim an intricacy – and aerodynamic logic – behind the swathes of carbonfibre and sculpted bodywork. 

The front splitter, rear diffuser and side skirts are all made from carbonfibre to reduce weight and enhance downforce, as is the Fast & Furious-spec fixed rear wing. 

Rear diffuser will slice your fingers clean off

We’ve seen the car up close and the detailing is spell-binding. Wafer-thin aero blades sit delicately on the side sills in order to channel air around the lower body of the car, while the huge rear diffuser mould neatly around the twin titanium exhaust tips. 

Not a bad effort for a car which Infiniti’s designers only started working on in November 2016… 

Will they ever build it?

Infiniti has designed the Project Black S Q60 as a glimpse into a possible future, and one which they’re keen to gauge the public’s reaction on at the car’s official Geneva launch. 

And if you lot like it, how quickly could it be in production? In just two years, according to our source at Infiniti…

Is this a must-have roadgoing F1 car or a tarted-up coupe we could do without? Be sure to let us know in the comments below.

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A shadowy front end: the Infiniti Q60 Black

By James Dennison

Head of automotive video for CAR magazine and our sister website