Though it is still more than a year away from production, expect Infiniti to deliver some eye-popping numbers when the new Q60 coupe makes its debut in time for the 2017 model-year.
Though final testing is far from complete, sources say the goal is to take on such tough competitors as the BMW 435 and Audi S5, and that means something “in the neighborhood” of 400 horsepower, according to a well-placed source.
Infiniti offered a very clear sense of what it has coming when it pulled the covers off a Q60 concept vehicle at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit last month. The maker billed it as a “foreshadowing” of the two-door sports coupe that will replace what was original known as the old G37 model.
“The Q80 Inspiration was an indication of Infiniti’s future design language,” says Alfonso Albaisa, Infiniti Executive Design Director, referring to the concept for a flagship sedan shown at the Paris Motor Show last autumn. “The Q60 Concept is the next step in the journey.”
(Click Here for TheDetroitBureau.com’s complete coverage of the 2015 Chicago Auto Show.)
According to several Infiniti sources TheDetroitBureau.com has spoken to, the production coupe will get only the most subtle changes from the Q60 Concept. That means the 2017 model will adopt a low, wide, “road-hugging stance,” an appearance that the show car enhanced by 21-inch wheels – with their black, jet turbine blades — that fill up the entire wheel arch.
Inside, the sports coupe concept adopts a decidedly more upscale, hand-crafted look with the use of different complementary leathers, Alcantara and carbon fiber accents. “Genuine” sports seats increase rear legroom in a 2+2 layout, says Infiniti.
Along with the Q50 sedan, the Q60 coupe will serve as an icon of the brand. Together, they are expected to dominate the marque’s sales.
(Audi will offer laser headlights on the new 2016 R8 sports car. Click Here for more.)
To drive up the numbers, Infiniti planners know the new Q60 needs to be able to stare down some tough competition, and driving up performance will be part of the strategy.
Pushing into 400-hp territory would certainly help. To get there, Infiniti engineers are working with a new turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 engine that bears only slight resemblance to the current Infiniti VQ V-6, insiders explain.
Contrary to some recent reports, the engine is being developed in-house and will not be sourced from Daimler AG. The parent of Mercedes-Benz is part of a growing alliance with Infiniti’s own parent, Nissan. A smaller four-cylinder engine used by both Mercedes and the Nissan family is being produced at the Nissan powertrain plant in Deckerd, Tennessee.
Infiniti, meanwhile, will use a version of a new small car platform for its upcoming Q30 and QX30 models.
One of the unanswered questions about the new Q60 – as well as the Q50 – is whether it will wear an Eau Rouge badge. That is the name of a high-performance line that the luxury maker was working on, aimed to compete with the likes of BMW’s M and Mercedes’ AMG. It was the pet project of Infiniti CEO Johan de Nysschen, but its future became murky when the executive departed for a job at Cadillac last year.
Despite some reports that the Japanese luxury maker has scrubbed Eau Rouge, Michael Bartsch, the head of Infiniti operations in the U.S., told TheDetroitBureau.com last month that no decision has yet been made.
“We still don’t have an answer on whether it’s a go or no-go,” he said during an interview at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. “We’re waiting for Roland to find out how he feels about (Eau Rouge),” Bartsch added, referring to new Infiniti boss Roland Kruger.
A decision is likely to be made before the end of winter. But even if Eau Rouge goes away as a sub-brand, Infiniti officials insist they will continue to push for more performance out of the array of new models Infiniti has coming over the next few years.
(For more on plans for Eau Rouge, Click Here.)