Make no mistake about it — the Infiniti car line is like Nissan on steroids: bigger, stronger, and faster (the Nissan GT begs exception). The Infiniti Q80 Inspiration Concept, introduced last week during Paris Motor Week, further illustrates the superiority of the Infiniti label by offering a glimpse of what could become their flagship sedan complete with a carbon-fiber and aluminum monocoque shell at its core.
The front half of the Q80 is comprised of an expansive hood that seems to go on forever with a rear trunk area that is just a blip. A large three-dimensional grille flanked by LED lighting seems to provide the Q80 with an accusatory stare and lower air dams present adaptive shutters that open at low speed for additional engine cooling capabilities and close at high speeds to provide added aerodynamic proficiency. Slender hood vents forward of the A-pillars pull double-duty helping to dissipate heat from the engine compartment and enhance the overall vehicle aesthetic. Lighting is exclusively accomplished using brighter, bolder, LED technology with some significant directional illumination characteristics along with a link to the navigational system that utilizes stored road conditions to autonomously provide consistent lighting. Crescent cut C-pillars in the rear encompass cooling intakes for the hybrid (yes, I said hybrid) battery pack and the rear “suicide” doors yield a unique touch wile allowing easy access to the “crafted metal and leather romance.”
While the interior features a “4 + 1” seating configuration that makes every occupant feel as though they are riding in their own space, it is designed by Executive Director Alfonso Albasia with the goal of maintaining simplicity during interaction with a full complement of the most innovative and sophisticated technology and features. Highlights include a configurable head up display (HUD) that relates pertinent information to the driver via a projected image which appears on the inside of the windshield. Additionally, the front passenger can access his/her own HUD from any smartphone connected to the car’s onboard infotainment system. Rear passenger also have access to technology and entertainment functions by using small personal touch screens mounted to the rear seat backs. Despite the fact that this interior is lined with genuine and synthetic leather seating surfaces, dash, and door panels, which are accented with wood, carbon-fiber, and polished aluminum surfaces, it is expected to offer one of the most futuristic driving and riding experiences.
I already let the cat out of the bag. Yes, it is a hybrid powered vehicle that uses a 3.0-liter direct fuel injected V6 engine combined with an electric motor to produce 550-horsepower and 553 lb.-ft. of torque. Engine exhaust gases are dispatched using stainless-steel tubing and a quad-tailpipe setup that exits stylishly through the rear diffuser. There are no specifics on the transmission but an on-demand two-to-four-wheel-drive configuration is expected. Lightweight 22-inch aluminum wheels wrapped in speed rated rubber adorn all four corners. Infiniti is claiming sub-4-second 0 to 60 mph times and an electronically regulated top speed of 155 mph. Fuel efficiency has been tentatively projected at 43 mpg combined. Those are some pretty impressive performance numbers for a sedan.
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