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Detroit show: Infiniti goes racing with Q50 Eau Rouge

Red hot: The Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge could make it to Australia, if it is green lit for production.

Infiniti teases Formula One inspired Q50 Eau Rouge concept ahead of Detroit debut

Infiniti logo9 Dec 2013

By TIM NICHOLSON

INFINITI will showcase a high-performance “Formula One-inspired” concept based on its Q50 luxury sedan at next month’s Detroit motor show.

The concept, dubbed “Eau Rouge” after the famous corner at the Spa-Francorchamps grand prix circuit, previews a sporty variant of the Q50 that could be Infiniti’s answer to the BMW M3, Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG and Lexus IS-F.

Infiniti is yet to release mechanical details or performance specifications that will reveal if the Eau Rouge uses an enhanced version of the 3.7-litre V6 engine used in regular Q50 variants, or if it will pick up a new powertrain.

The teaser image reveals a slightly more aggressive face than the standard Q50, with the Nissan-owned luxury marque saying the Eau Rouge features aerodynamic styling flourishes and design elements influenced by Infiniti’s Red Bull Racing Formula One team.

If approved for production, the Eau Rouge could make it Down Under with Infiniti Cars Australia general manager of corporate communications Peter Fadeyev telling GoAuto the Japanese brand is studying a number of possible future models for Australia.

“If a high-performance model variant, such as the Q50 Eau Rouge concept, were to enter production and be made available to Australia then we would certainly consider it as we do all future models,” he said.

Mr Fadeyev also confirmed the rest of the Q50 range would arrive in Australia in mid-to-late January next year, 12 months after it was revealed at the 2013 Detroit motor show.

The Q50 is likely to become Infiniti’s top-selling model in Australia as it takes on established players in the premium small-car segment that includes the 3 Series, Lexus IS, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Audi A4.

Nissan’s luxury brand launched in Australia in September 2012 with a handful of dealers around the country and two model lines – the M sedan and FX SUV – before the G coupe and convertible arrived in December.

The fledgling luxury player has struggled to gain a foothold in Australia’s competitive market against established European and Japanese rivals, but its sales have steadied in recent months.

So far this year, 280 Infiniti models have found homes in Australia, with the FX easily the brand’s best-performing model with 172 sales. The G Coupe and Convertible has sold 69 units and the mid-size M sedan range has shifted 39 units to the end of November.

Infiniti has confirmed its Q30 hatch – based on the Frankfurt motor show concept of the same name – will go into production in 2015 and compete against the likes of the Mercedes-Benz A-Class and Audi A3 when it eventually arrives in 2016.

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