As we reported earlier this week, Infiniti brought an updated version of its Q50 Eau Rouge Concept to the Geneva Motor Show – but a subsequent conversation with the Japanese maker’s CEO offers a more in-depth glance at how the maker plans to move from concept to production.
“I would build it right away,” says Infiniti’s Hong Kong-based boss, Johan de Nysschen, though he cautions that the project still faces a number of hurdles before we’re likely to see the premium sport sedan can roll into showrooms, stressing that the program is “still very much up in the air.”
Originally unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show two months ago, the blood red Eau Rouge Concept added some dynamic details to the Q50 sedan Infiniti rolled out last year, including some carbon-fiber aero enhancements – such as the front splitter, rear diffuser and side sill skirts, as well as the roof and door mirror casings – along with the 21-inch lightweight forged alloy wheels and a dual-exit exhaust sports system mounted below the show car’s integrated rear spoiler.
The Q50 Eau Rouge 2.0, as Infiniti has dubbed it, finally gets a beating heart, a twin-turbo 3.8-liter V-6 punching out 560 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of wheel-spinning torque. The engine is paired with a 7-speed gearbox and sends power to all four wheels with a normal 50/50 torque split. The maker claims it can launch the show car from 0 to 60 in “less than four seconds,” with a rated top speed “close to 170 mph.”
(Will Maserati build the striking Alfieri Concept? Click Here for the story.)
In a lead-up to the Geneva debut of the updated Eau Rouge, Infiniti officials hedged their bets, cautions that this powertrain package is just, “an example of what a potential powertrain for the Q50 Eau Rouge may look and sound like.” They seemed to be saying it’s far from certain not only if a Q50 Eau Rouge would come to market, but also what the final choice for a drivetrain would be.
In a follow-up chat, de Nysschen confirmed that the twin-turbo V-6 is his choice for the Q50 Eau Rouge powertrain – though other options have been considered.
“As far as I’m concerned, tomorrow afternoon is too late” to put the show car into production,” added the executive, but he cautioned that despite being the new Infiniti CEO he still needs to present a viable business case. And that process is still ongoing.
So are the many engineering procedures needed to validate the Q50 Eau Rouge can live up to expectations.
That means de Nysschen could be a year or more away from giving the Q50 performance model the go ahead.
(Click Here for all of the latest from the 2014 Geneva Motor Show.)
That said, it seems like things would have to go very wrong for Infiniti not to move ahead on the program – which would help position it as a viable global competitor taking on other performance sub-brands as BMW M, Mercedes-Benz AMG, Cadillac V-Series and the Lexus F line.
The good news for luxury performance fans is that if the Q50 Eau Rouge gets the go it’s all but certain other Infiniti projects will soon receive similar treatment.