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Paris show: Infiniti recharges Project Black S

Infiniti details Project Black S dual-hybrid powertrain as production model looms

2 Oct 2018

INFINITI has revealed the next step in its move towards a brand-first production performance car, with the Project Black S rolling out in prototype form at the Paris motor show this week.
Originally shown as a design study at the Geneva motor show in March last year, the Project Black S has been developed further with tweaks made to its exterior, interior, chassis and Formula One-inspired dual-hybrid powertrain.
Based on the Q60 Red Sport coupe, the Project Black S features a kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) comprised of three AC permanent magnet synchronous electric motors.
One motor is dubbed MGU-K and produces 120kW by turning kinetic energy created when braking into electricity via Infiniti’s brake-by-wire regenerative system. The power generated from all three units feed to a 4.4kWh lithium-ion battery pack located in the rear compartment.
Meanwhile, the other two motors, known as as MGU-H, are fitted to the Q60 Red Sport’s 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine’s twin turbochargers. Together they develop 30kW by converting heat energy generated from exhaust gases during acceleration into electricity.
The electricity stored in the battery pack can be used in two ways; either to eliminate turbo lag by spooling up the turbine blades more quickly, or to power the MGU-K mounted on the rear axle.
Combined with the internal-combustion unit that already punches out 298kW at 6400rpm and 475Nm from 1600 to 5200rpm, the Project Black S has a combined maximum power output of 420kW, while its peak torque is yet to be confirmed.
With a seven-speed automatic transmission and a helical limited-slip differential exclusively sending drive to its rear wheels, the 1775kg Project Black S sprints from standstill to 100km/h in less than four seconds when using launch control, while its top speed is currently unknown.
Three driving modes – Road, Quali and Race – allow the driver to alter the way in which the dual-hybrid powertrain gathers and discharges energy.
Stopping power is handled by ventilated carbon-ceramic brake discs measuring 380mm up front and 360mm at the rear, while forged 21-inch alloy wheels and wrapped in a mixed set of tyres (275/30 front, 295/30 rear).
The independent suspension set-up consists of double-wishbone front and multi-link rear axles with coil springs, gas-filled shock absorbers and anti-roll bars, while the power steering runs Infiniti’s steer-by-wire system and a variable ratio.
Compared to the design study, little has changed externally with the prototype, save for the addition of yellow highlights, aerodynamic improvements to the rear spoiler, the dual-exhaust tailpipes being split and moved to the bumper’s flanks, and the subsequently redesigned diffuser.
The first look at the Project Black S’ cabin has been offered, however, with it predictably drawing on the design of the Q60 Red Sport, aside from yellow highlights, carbon-fibre trim, full race bucket seats with four-point harnesses, and the removal of the rear bench.
Infiniti says it will gauge reaction to the Project Black S to see if a business case can be established for a flagship model grade that sits above the Q60 Red Sport, “with feasibility and performance testing due to continue into 2019”.
If the Project Black S does become a production model, it will go toe-to-toe with BMW’s M4, Mercedes-AMG’s C63 Coupe and Audi’s RS5 Coupe, among other European sportscars.
Furthermore, the Project Black S forms part of Infiniti’s plan to fit all of its new models launched from 2021 onwards with electrified powertrains, whether they be hybrid or battery-electric vehicles.

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