Infinit Skyrockets Performance In Q50

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A truly world-class luxury automaker requires a performance brand. Mercedes-Benz has AMG, BMW has its M division, Audi's Quattro GmbH produces an RS line, Lexus has gotten to bestowing its performance-oriented models using the letter F, Cadillac uses the letter V, and Jaguar has R and R-S. But Infiniti has been looking to catch up with the rest of the pack for quite a while now.

The Japanese luxury automaker started the Infiniti Performance Line in 2010, nevertheless in the years because it has only produced two models - and so they were both based on the Q60 (or the two-door version in the G37, mainly because it was known then). Thankfully, Infiniti finally turned a brand new page with the unveiling with their Q50 Eau Rouge at the Detroit Auto Show this coming year.

Q50 Eau Rouge Concept Infiniti

You'll probably be wondering why Infiniti named its new performance sedan concept “red water” - but that's not from which it derives its name if you have also a cursory understanding of French. Eau Rouge will be the name of the more challenging corners at probably the most legendary racetracks in the world, Spa Francorchamps (home of the Belgian Grand Prix). Evoking the name draws on the auto brand's ever-deepening partnership with Red Bull Racing, they that's heading into the 2014 season as being the reigning Formula One World Champions for the fourth year in a row.

Q50 Eau Rouge Concept Infiniti

There's more to the Eau Rouge concept, however, when compared to a name. Although the show car may look mostly such as the Q50 sedan you can buy at your local Infiniti dealer, the company's engineers have replaced most of the body panels with carbon fiber. In fact, simply the front doors and portion of the roof were left unchanged.

"From our shared passion for performance with Infiniti Red Bull Racing grew a collective desire to produce an ambitious and powerful Infiniti Q50 design study," said Infiniti design chief Alfonso Albaisa. "The complete design creates a feeling of refined muscularity.

Q50 Eau Rouge Concept Infiniti

The lightweight composite body panels provide a wider, more aggressive stance, punctuated by serious-looking aerodynamic elements and 21-inch wheels at each corner - all of which betray a a lot more potent engine under the hood than the 328hp, 3.7-liter V6 which comes stock.

So what, exactly, is under the hood? Probably because like most concept cars, the Eau Rouge design doesn't actually have an engine, infiniti isn't saying. At least not for any purpose other than moving it on and off the show stage. Because Infiniti is talking seriously about putting it into production, rest assured though. "Once we built this car I would personally expect it to feature over 500 horsepower and 600 pound-feet of torque," said Infiniti's President Johan de Nysschen. "The engine we are evaluating for the Q50 Eau Rouge is a big personality, V-cylinder engine with forced induction.

Q50 Eau Rouge Concept Infiniti

That sounds very promising indeed, but word has it that the Q50 wouldn't be the only one to get such an athletic makeover. The same formula could be applied across the company's line-up, giving the Europeans a run for their money and Infiniti something to bridge the space between the luxury automobiles it is known for making and the racing cars it sponsors.