Futuristic four-door saloon uses brand's latest variable compression engine technology and features advanced, connected infotainment system

Infiniti has revealed a new concept called the Q Inspiration that previews a dramatic shift in design direction for its next generation models, led by ex-BMW designer Karim Habib.

Revealed at the Detroit motor show, the four-door saloon features taught proportions and a coupé-like roofline with a full-length glass roof that extends into the rear window. Up front, is a wide-mouth grille that has tiny, barely visible openings, while the rear sports a smoother, simpler design.

Earlier speculation suggested the car would use electric power, but drive for the concept actually comes from a more conventional turbocharged four-cylinder engine, albeit one that benefits from Infiniti’s innovative variable compression ratio technology.

Like the 2.0-litre production engine that was recently introduced in the new QX50 SUV, Infiniti said this VC-Turbo unit can switch between a compression ratio of 8:1 (for performance) to 14:1 (for economy), giving it the performance of a petrol and economy of a diesel.

Habib explained that the concept’s short nose is a nod to the fact it would only use small capacity powerplants. He said Infiniti road cars are making “a shift towards smarter, more compact and less intrusive powertrains”.

While the concept uses the VC-Turbo, the shorter nose would also be suitable for electric models. Infiniti is due to unveil an electric car imminently, and the Q Inspiration is likely to be a nod to such a car’s styling.

At this stage, Infiniti’s only foray into the EV segment has come with its all-electric Prototype 9 of 2017.

The cabin of Infiniti’s new concept also suggests connectivity will be key in its next models, as it comes kitted out with a wide infotainment system that features two, cabin-wide digital display strips. Both the driver and passenger have access to their own touchscreen. The rest of the cabin features smooth, button-free surfaces, suggesting Infiniti cabins of the near future will get a more minimalist finish.

Propilot driverless technology is also included, using radars and cameras to enable fully autonomous driving. Described as using “near-future technologies”, the concept’s system is able to provide autonomous multi-lane driving and navigate junctions itself. The car offers a co-pilot mode that can assist rather than control certain functions as well.

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Honda Civic Type R
    First Drive
    19 February 2018
    It’s a warm welcome to this steaming hot hatch. But is it too fiery for Britain’s roads?
  • Aston Martin DB11 Volante
    The DB11 Volante chassis' torsional rigidity is 22kN/deg, down from 34kN/deg on the coupe – but substantially more than the 14.7kN/deg of the DB9 Volante
    First Drive
    19 February 2018
    The DB11 Volante is the first convertible variant of Aston Martin's new model generation. How does it compare to the likes of the new Ferrari Portofino?
  • BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo front
    The new BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo
    First Drive
    16 February 2018
    The top-of-the-line 6 Series Gran Turismo has arrived in the UK, but does a more potent engine increase its unusual appeal?
  • Audi TT RS Coupé
    First Drive
    16 February 2018
    The Audi TT RS has the looks, a vociferous engine and the supercar-baiting performance, but is it too uncompromising to use as a daily driver?
  • Range Rover Velar front quarter
    The new Range Rover Velar P300 features a four-cylinder petrol engine
    First Drive
    16 February 2018
    JLR’s most powerful four-pot isn’t the engine the Velar truly wants but perhaps the one that makes most sense