Infiniti is in the midst of a reinvention. Nissan’s luxury brand is putting some distance between itself and its parent company by producing some truly premium automobiles.
Now if only it would put the Q50 Eau Rouge concept — the gorgeous car it unveiled this morning at the Detroit Auto Show — into production, things could really get cranking.
The car is gorgeous. More importantly, it’s powerful. Or it will be, if Infiniti makes it a reality.
Which it almost certainly will, and definitely should — not just for our happiness, but for its own good.
Infiniti President Johan de Nysschen, stolen from Audi a year and a half ago, said “if we built this car,” it would have over 500 horsepower and 600 pound-feet of torque. Those numbers, combined with these looks, could make the Eau Rouge a terrific performance car.
Infiniti says it wants to seriously compete with top tier automakers — BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Lexus. To make that transition, it needs more products. (Right now, it has offerings for less than 60% of market segments.)
One of those products needs to be on the level of the BMW M3, Lexus IS F, or Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG. It’s not about volume of sales, it’s about proving that you can make an outstanding car. It’s about being taken seriously, and getting attention.
The Eau Rouge can be that car for Infiniti. The name, taken from a famous curve at Belgium’s Spa Francorchamps Formula 1 track, drives home that message.
The body is there — Infiniti’s executive design director Alfonso Albaisa told Business Insider it won’t take much work to turn the concept into a production design.
De Nysschen said the key issue is finding the right engine — probably a turbocharged V6 or a naturally aspirated V8. Unfortunately, the engine that powers Nissan’s terrific GT-R will be very hard to fit into a Q50-sized sedan. But the engineers can borrow a design from Daimler AG, which owns Mercedes and has a partnership with Nissan.
So enough talking. Make it happen. Then let us drive it.
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