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Detroit show: Infiniti teases crucial QX Inspiration

Charging up: The QX Inspiration previews what could be Infiniti’s first battery-electric SUV, which would go toe to toe with Jaguar’s recently released I-Pace.

Infiniti joins battery-electric SUV race with near-production QX Inspiration concept

7 Jan 2019

INFINITI has made a crucial step towards its first battery-electric SUV that could rival several emerging luxury models, teasing the near-production QX Inspiration concept that will make its international debut next week at the Detroit motor show.
With Jaguar launching its I-Pace last month, the Mercedes-Benz EQC and Audi e-tron set to enter showrooms this year and BMW’s iX3 on track for a 2020 launch, the production version of the QX Inspiration cannot come soon enough for Infiniti if it is to follow the industry trend towards zero-emissions SUVs.
While Infiniti is yet to detail the QX Inspiration’s “high-performance” powertrain with “potency and character”, it has promised “complete range confidence”, suggesting its quartet of rivals may have their hands full.
The introduction of the QX Inspiration also falls into line with Infiniti’s plans to introduce each of its new models from 2021 – the earliest the SUV could launch – with electrified powertrains, including series hybrid and battery-electric, underpinned by new platforms with all-wheel drive.
Critically, this product overhaul will help Infiniti achieve its goal of having electrified vehicles account for more than half of its global sales by 2025, with China shaping up as the key high-volume market in this push.
Conversely, the Australian market has been slow for Infiniti since its 2013 launch, with only 649 vehicles sold last year – a 16.4 per cent decrease over the 776 deliveries made in 2017 and well behind the 32,201 units luxury brand leader Mercedes-Benz Cars managed.
“QX Inspiration is the beginning of a new era for Infiniti and an illustration of where we want to go with the brand,” Infiniti Motor Company executive design director Karim Habib said.
“New technology has given us the opportunity to evolve our design philosophy, and the new vehicle communicates the ‘serene strength’ at our core.”
In the single teaser image released ahead of its full reveal on January 15 (AEST), the QX Inspiration bears a striking resemblance to the Q Inspiration coupe-style sedan concept shown at the 2018 Detroit motor show, albeit in SUV form.
Unlike other recent Infiniti show cars, including the Q Inspiration, the QX Inspiration’s bold design appears to be closer to production, with its side-view cameras even a chance to carry over in place of traditional mirrors – a move Audi made with the e-tron.
The QX Inspiration foreshadows its battery-electric powertrain with its lack of a traditional grille, instead maintaining the shape of the key styling element as part of the overall front fascia that is punctuated by slim headlights and a chunky bumper with large air intakes.
A clean glasshouse design, thanks to its blacked-out A- and B-pillars, has also been previewed for the QX Inspiration alongside black wheelarch cladding and large-diameter alloy wheels.
Even though the QX Inspiration’s cabin remains under wraps, Infiniti has confirmed that development of its EV platforms “enables the formation of spacious, lounge-like interiors”. 
Furthermore, Infiniti has followed rival Lexus’ lead and embraced its Japanese heritage, with the QX Inspiration’s cabin hand-crafted using traditional techniques and featuring materials “inspired by a subtle Japanese sensuality”.
The Japanese hospitality principle of ‘omotenashi’ also guides the application of new interior technologies to create a welcoming environment that assists the driver and connects passengers to the world, according to Infiniti.


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