With its Cloisonne belt buckle style grille and a mix of high-tech and traditional luxury features, the Infiniti Q45 sedan was one of the most talked-about products of the year when it made its debut back in 1989.
The Q45 is long gone, but Infiniti is hinting that it may have a spiritual successor in the works. And we should find out more in just a few weeks during Auto Shanghai 2019, when the Qs Inspiration sedan concept makes its debut.
Nissan’s luxury division is in the midst of some major changes, as we’ve highlighted in a number of recent reports, among other things planning a major push into electrification. And it has been signaling where it’s going with a series of recent concept cars that includes the QX Inspiration Concept first seen at the North American International Auto Show just this past January.
As those who follow the brand are well aware, Infiniti has a history of using concept vehicles to signal its future production plans, and the QX, as well as the new Qs, may be broad hints at the sedan and crossover models that will serve as its future flagships. In a utility vehicles-centric market, having twin halo cars has become essential, as BMW has just demonstrated with the X7, the CUV counterpoint to its classic 7-Series.
(Infiniti set to abandon Western European market. Click Here for the story.)
Infiniti suggests the new concept is highly influenced by modern Japanese art and architecture. It’s difficult to decipher much from this first, high-contrast teaser image of the Qs Inspiration but it appears to feature a more coupe-like roofline and some of the visible details suggest designers put a premium on aerodynamics. That’s no surprise considering the vehicle is all-electric and reducing wind resistance readily translates into improved range.
“Electrification creates a range of new possibilities for sedans, with new powertrains and vehicle architectures letting us imagine how this type of car could be reinvigorated and adapted to fit the changing needs and tastes of drivers,” said brand Chairman Christian Meunier.
According to industry designers, the impact of electrification could prove most significant in a vehicle’s interior. By removing the conventional engine and mounting batteries and motors under the floor of a skateboard-like platform opens up more space for passengers and cargo.
Infiniti isn’t saying much about how that plays out with the Qs Inspiration, beyond suggesting in a release, “Inside, the minimalist cabin combines striking artistry and craftsmanship, and it features two distinct zones – a clutter-free cockpit designed to engage the driver, and a relaxed passenger zone that make the most of the generous interior space.”
(Click Here for more details about the QX Inspiration battery car concept.)
As for powertrains, Infiniti is working up various versions of its e-Power technology, including plug-in hybrids and all-electric models, as Meunier told TheDetroitBureau.com earlier this year. At least two all-electric models are believed to be in the mix.
The original Q45 was a standout on the powertrain front with its original, 4.5-liter V-8 making 276 horsepower, a lot for its day. It also offered what was billed as the world’s first active suspension system.
Today, even minivans offer similar power and a true flagship would have to deliver substantial larger numbers, perhaps 400 hp or more. As for range, 300 miles, using the EPA test ratings, would be the minimum that would get a flagship model taken seriously.
(To see more about Infiniti’s “electrified” concepts, Click Here.)
We hope to learn more in just a few weeks from Shanghai.