Infiniti looks to create its own heritage with retro concept using an electric motor and traditional construction techniques

Infiniti has revealed its retro-style concept race car, named Prototype 9, at the Quail, which is part of the same Monterey car week as the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elégance.

Despite the car’s Morgan-esque exterior, it’s powered by an electric motor, which gives a 0-62mph time of 5.5sec and a top speed of 105mph. The company’s signature sculpted grille is nodded to on the front of the car.

It bears a similar 148bhp, 236lb ft electric powertrain to the second-generation Nissan Leaf, which is due to be revealed at the Frankfurt motor show. At 4330mm long and 1820mm wide, it’s 90mm shorter than Infiniti's Q30 hatchback but 15mm wider. The low-slung, race-inspired car stands at 910mm high and is dwarfed by the Q30’s 1495mm height, mostly due to its lack of a roof. 

The 890kg single-seater features retro construction techniques, such as a steel ladder chassis and handmade steel body panels. It’s leaf-sprung and without power steering.

The time disconnect between the 1940s-inspired Prototype 9 and Infiniti’s relatively recent launch in 1989 has been pegged as further inspiration behind the concept; Infiniti can trace its history to Prince Motor Company, which Infiniti claims was the first Japanese premium car maker. The Prince R380 will also make its debut at Pebble Beach.

Even the concept’s name is a nod to Infiniti’s current model line-up; 9, pronounced ‘kyoo’ in Japanese, is a reference to the brand’s Q-based nomenclature.

Beginning life as a design sketch, the car imagines what an Infiniti grand prix racer would have looked like and mimics the growing barn-find culture in the classic car industry today.

Infiniti boss Roland Krueger said: “What started as an after-hours idea grew into a fully fledged prototype; our designers and engineers were excited by the notion of creating a past vision; a nod to our origins.”

“They volunteered their own time; more and more staff became involved. Our teams have proven skills in manufacturing, engineering, design and advanced powertrains, yet they wanted to bring their own traditional craftsmanship to the project.”

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Comments
8

11 August 2017

Is Infinti trying to tell us that if a brand has no heritage it should create retro concepts to pretend it has? Perhaps this is cheaper than launching actual production vehicles most Europeans would consider test driving.

11 August 2017

What were they thinking? It's horrific. 

12 August 2017

I don't think it is possible to create heritage, I think you have to acquire it.

maybe this is someone trying to start that process. But, hmm an unlikely start.

Spanner

19 August 2017

You can't create heritage and Infinitti hasn't got any sporting heritage,it's never even existed as a separate company,it's just a division of Nissan that sells upmarket models largely to the US market. The marque was created in the late eighties alongside Acura & Lexus to take Japanese cars to a market segment to which they had not enjoyed any success in, Nissan took it's existing Leopard & President models made some changes and hey presto the Infinitti M30 & Q45 were born, what these three model ranges offered was luxury combined with Japanese quality & reliability and sticker prices than undercut Audi,BMW,Cadillac, Jaguar,Lincoln & Mercedes prices and included many items as standard that were previously options. Not surprisingly the formula proved to be a success with the US market but only Toyota sold the Lexus range in Europe and then only the LS model,we had to wait nearly two decades before Nissan dipped it's toe in the European market and Honda have never sold the Acura range over this side of the Atlantic. If Infinitti does really have a heritage it's by putting a boot up the rear of Cadillac & Lincoln plus the European luxury manufacturers to up their game in both customer service & product quality to meet the challenges of the new market entrants, Having said that I think that Prototype 9 is great, in the finest traditions of Japanese car design it's a pastiche that combines retro styling with state of the art mechanics, it's an enticing formula but it won't create any "heritage" for Infinitti

19 August 2017

You can't create heritage and Infinitti hasn't got any sporting heritage,it's never even existed as a separate company,it's just a division of Nissan that sells upmarket models largely to the US market. The marque was created in the late eighties alongside Acura & Lexus to take Japanese cars to a market segment to which they had not enjoyed any success in, Nissan took it's existing Leopard & President models made some changes and hey presto the Infinitti M30 & Q45 were born, what these three model ranges offered was luxury combined with Japanese quality & reliability and sticker prices than undercut Audi,BMW,Cadillac, Jaguar,Lincoln & Mercedes prices and included many items as standard that were previously options. Not surprisingly the formula proved to be a success with the US market but only Toyota sold the Lexus range in Europe and then only the LS model,we had to wait nearly two decades before Nissan dipped it's toe in the European market and Honda have never sold the Acura range over this side of the Atlantic. If Infinitti does really have a heritage it's by putting a boot up the rear of Cadillac & Lincoln plus the European luxury manufacturers to up their game in both customer service & product quality to meet the challenges of the new market entrants, Having said that I think that Prototype 9 is great, in the finest traditions of Japanese car design it's a pastiche that combines retro styling with state of the art mechanics, it's an enticing formula but it won't create any "heritage" for Infinitti

12 August 2017
The backwards-looking styling is a fitting frame for the backwards-looking choice of motive power.

12 August 2017

Prince became Skyline. For Infiniti to claim it as lineage is total baloney. They should have called this Prototype 0 as they have no credibility.

MrJ

13 August 2017

The Morgan is my choice for styling, but the retro-racer look is good for Infiniti, too.

Nothing wrong in echoing the look of a bygone age, as it's Infiniti's own take on the style.

I'd like to see the P9's relatively clean lines echoed in the company's production cars.

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