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Geneva show: Get set for Infiniti engine surprise

That’s blown it: The Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge sports sedan will definitely get forced induction, but on what engine?

Nissan GT-R V6? Not in Infiniti’s hard-charging Q50 Eau Rouge for Geneva

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Infiniti logo26 Feb 2014

By RON HAMMERTON

MANY auto industry pundits speculate that the mystery turbo-charged powerplant at the heart of Infiniti’s tarmac-tearing Q50 Eau Rouge will be a blown V6 transplanted from Nissan’s potent GT-R.

But GoAuto understands that the engine originates elsewhere, and will raise some eyebrows when it is revealed by Infiniti president Johan de Nysschen at next week’s Geneva motor show.

Developing more than 400kW of power and 800Nm of torque, the engine is set to turn the Japanese luxury car company’s mid-sized sedan into an M3 basher.

A soundtrack of the engine released by Infiniti in a teaser video last week carries the tell-tale sounds of turbo-chargers, most likely bolted to a V6 rather than a V8 and leading to the theory that Infiniti has borrowed the GT-R's engine which develops 404kW or power but ‘only’ 628Nm of torque.

Speaking at Detroit, Mr de Nysschen said the engine would sourced “through our various alliance partners”, adding that Infiniti had access to a “range of engines featuring this performance capability which, with a fair amount of engineering effort, can be developed to exhibit Infiniti character and accommodated within the Q50 engine bay”.

“The engine we are evaluating for the Q50 Eau Rouge is a big personality, V-cylinder engine with forced induction,” he said. “I think our engineers have been waiting for a project like this."We wouldn’t rule out engineering input from the Infiniti-sponsored Red Bull Racing team, which is making the switch to turbo V6 power in line with new Formula One rules this year.

That race engine will be bespoke for F1, but Infiniti could be expected to milk the connection for marketing purposes. This link was emphasised at the Detroit motor show unveiling of the Q50 Eau Rouge, with Infiniti claiming some elements of the design were inspired by the championship-winning Red Bull RB9 race car.

Other possibilities for this Q50 Eau Rouge powertrain include a high-performance hybrid version, combining electric motors with Nissan’s existing VQ V6 to boost both performance and fuel economy, or even a newly developed V6 that signals a generational change of six-cylinder engine to replace the venerable Nissan VQ that graces a wide range of Nissan and Infiniti vehicles in a number of tunes.

And while it is more fanciful, it might even be a joint deal with Renault-Nissan technical partner Mercedes-Benz, which supplies a four-cylinder 2.1-litre diesel engine for the mainstream Q50 that was launched in Australia this month, as well as a four-cylinder petrol engine destined for local consumption later in 2014.

Other Nissan-based V6 engines exist around the world, including race unit employed by all cars in the Swedish touring car championship where the one-sized-fits all engine is equipped with a Formula One-style KERS push-button electric assistance.

The Q50 Eau Rouge – named for the legendary super-fast corner at the Spa-Francorchamps race circuit in Belgium – is expected to signal a whole new breed of hot Infiniti models to go head to head with BMW’s M line and Mercedes-Benz’s AMG.

So far, Infiniti has launched the Q50 in three specifications for Australia – GT, S and AWD S Premium, armed with a choice of two powertrains – the Benz-sourced 2.2-litre diesel and 3.5-litre V6 petrol-electric hybrid.

Prices range from $51,900 (plus on-road costs) to $73,900.

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