Infiniti is developing high-tech hybrid know-how through tie-up with Renault F1 team

Infiniti could launch high-performance hybrid cars as it bids to go head to head with the cream of European premium brands such as Audi, BMW, Jaguar and Mercedes, according to its European boss François Goupil de Bouille.

This year Infiniti will launch a 396bhp twin-turbo 3.0-litre V6-powered version of the Q60, with the engine, which also delivers 350lb ft of torque, likely to power the Q50 too in due course.

However, in an exclusive interview with Autocar, Goupil de Bouille admitted that the firm would eventually need halo performance cars and hinted that using hybrid technology could be key to offering a more modern interpretation of a fast car so that the expanding Infiniti brand can take on Audi RS, BMW M and Mercedes-AMG high-performance models.

“Having halo cars is important, but historically brands develop their base and then add in these higher-end models,” Goupil de Bouille said. “One day the question will come for Infiniti, but at the moment our focus is on building the core.

“But if you look at what we are doing in F1 then you can see some possibilities. We worked closely with Red Bull, but now with Renault we are more integrated than ever and have taken charge of the hybrid modules on the F1 car.

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“That gives an idea of the direction in which we are going in terms of performance and, while no decisions have been taken for road cars, when we are ready to discuss it, there is one opportunity there.”

In another hint that the firm would go down the performance hybrid route, Goupil de Bouille emphasised that Infiniti would never succeed by copying its opposition. “Following the established pack will only lead to failure,” he said. “We must forge our own path.”

It has already been widely speculated that the next Nissan GT-R will be powered by a high-performance hybrid powertrain, which Infiniti, as part of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, could utilise. 

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2

jer

11 May 2016
They hated each other? well Red Bull and Renault which owns Infiniti.

jer

11 May 2016
They hated each other? well Red Bull and Renault which owns Infiniti.

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Our Verdict

Infiniti Q30

Infiniti looks to a premium hatch to make its breakthrough in Europe, but faces stiff competition from established brands like the BMW 1 series and Audi A3

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week