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Paris show: Q80 inspires Infiniti future

Make it so: Infiniti will join the premium fastback fight with a production model of the Q80 to come within five years.

Infiniti confirms Q80 Inspiration concept will lead to a production model


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2 Oct 2014

INFINITI has confirmed its Q80 Inspiration concept will not only lead to a production model but set the company’s future design language and powertrain ambitions.

Expected to go into production within five years, the large luxury car – unveiled at this week’s Paris motor show – will head Infiniti’s fight against prestige fastback rivals such as Mercedes-Benz’s CLS, BMW’s 6 Series Gran Coupe and Audi’s A7.

Infiniti product strategy vice president Francois Bancon said the concept would disturb the status quo in this segment.

“The Q80 Inspiration concept was born to disrupt the premium sedan category,” he said.

“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.

“The fact that we are entering this category, a challenging category from a business perspective, and to do so in such a brave fashion demonstrates Infiniti’s confidence,” Mr Bancon said.

“The body type, the proportions, the smart hybrid powertrain, autonomous technology – it’s a highly innovative approach.”

While a production version is years away, Mr Bancon said the concept revealed Infiniti’s direction on powertrains and design.

“Q80 Inspiration is a concept vehicle, but there is a production intent associated with it,” added Bancon.

“The naming of the car indicates that something like the Q80 Inspiration will be in our portfolio of the future. This vehicle will inspire all of our future products.”

The Q80 Inspiration’s hybrid powertrain combines a 3.0-litre direct-injection twin-turbo V6 petrol engine with an electric motor for a combined 410kW and 750Nm.

Power is sent to all four wheels through a nine-speed automatic transmission.

Combined average fuel consumption is a frugal 5.5 litres per 100km.

Electronically limited to 250km/h, the concept can race from zero to 100km/h in about four seconds.

The body of the Q80 Inspiration – 5060mm long, 2010mm wide, 1340mm high and with a wheel base of 3070mm – is a mix of carbon-fibre and aluminium.

The enormous finned grille is flanked by computer-controlled LED headlights wrapping around to the large wheel arches housing 22-inch five-spoke aluminium alloy wheels. A tear-drop-shaped panoramic glass roof follows the coupe lines to the rear hatch.

With four doors open – rear-hinged suicide style – the cabin is on full display, revealing a leather-clad, minimalist interior described as provocative by Infiniti executive design director Alfonso Albaisa.

“From a design perspective, the Q80 Inspiration is the epitome of provocation, a car that breaks the mold of traditional premium sedan dimension and body form,” he said.

“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.”

Infiniti calls the Q80 Inspiration “human centric” with intuitive in-car technology that Mr Albaisa said had been concealed to simplify the cabin.

“There is a tendency with modern design that every time you add interior features and technology you add complexity,” he said.

“The idea with Q80 Inspiration was to re-define and simplify how we interact with people in the car. Of course, the Q80 Inspiration has the key features which are premium, smart and engaging, but simplicity was our main objective.”

The driver and front passenger have their own head-up displays, while those in the back get touchscreens.

The concept also previews Infiniti’s autonomous driving technology. Radar, cameras and sensors steer the car which communicates with the driver through the head up display.

Infiniti said the Q80 Inspiration is following a similar path to production as the Q30 small hatch concept revealed at the 2013 Frankfurt motor show and which is going into production next year.

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