Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Random Car Wednesday: Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge

A luxury car is usually characterized as opulent, well-upholstered, and graceful. Tire-shredding performance and blistering quarter-mile times don't often appear in the brochure. Despite this, most luxury marques offer at least one performance car. Mercedes and BMW have their AMG and M divisions respectively, and even Cadillac has the CTS-V and the upcoming ATS-V. Audi and Lexus have their halo cars, the R8 and the LF-A. The list goes on, with cars like the Jaguar XFR-S, Bentley Continental Supersports, and the Rolls-Royce Wraith blurring the line between luxury and performance. Then there's Infiniti. While the G35 and G37 were respectably sporty, they never seemed to be taken very seriously. You'd think that with Nissan as their parent company, Infiniti could raid the NISMO parts bin and put together something truly special, but it hasn't happened. Until now.

Today's RCW is a very unique car, the one-of-one Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge prototype. Supposedly intended for production in the near future, the Eau Rouge takes its name from the famous uphill corner at the Spa Francorchamps race course. So what are the specifications, you ask? Visually, the car takes the already-attractive Q50 and integrates some fancy aerodynamic witchcraft derived from contemporary F1 cars. That wild paint color may turn out to be exclusive to the prototype, but one can hope to see it on the production car, too. The reworked visage is aggressive and steroidal compared to the standard Q50, and there are so many details integrated into the design that you can walk around the car for hours on end, finding new things you'd missed the first time around.

Swanky bodywork aside, all those looks are meaningless unless you have the horsepower to back them up. This is not a problem for the Eau Rouge. Under the hood is the same twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter V6 you'll find in the Nissan GT-R. That means there are 560 horses on tap, comparable to the Cadillac CTS-V. The GT-R also donates its brakes, a necessary feature when you combine that much power with this many doors. Also helping to manage that power are a very spiffy new suspension setup with adjustable coil-overs up front, as well as the AWD system from the Infiniti Q70. In short, should the Eau Rouge come up against the corner it takes its name from, it will be aptly prepared.

Overall, I love this car, and I hope to see it make production sometime very soon. This could pave the way for more Infiniti performance cars, and that idea is ripe with potential. Even if it remains a one-off, it shows the versatility of the Q50 platform and the sheer creativity of the design team at Infiniti. Now please, just build the thing.

Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge prototype

That's Sebastian Vettel at the wheel, by the way...

No comments:

Post a Comment