"Our intention is to put as much as possible of it on the road, maybe as much as 90 per cent of the concept."
Reiterating Goupil de Bouillé’s sentiments, Infiniti product strategy boss Francois Bancon said: “This is the highest portfolio entry for Infiniti and our vision to compete with a unqiue approach.
“The Q80 Inspiration is how we see the future in the higher end of our portfolio.”
Bancon says the average age of Infiniti customers is 54, which is younger than its rivals. The production Q80 is planned to target customers who want a large luxury car but don't want a Mercedes-Benz S-class or BMW 7-series because that's the sort of car their parents drive.
The initial proportional models for the Q80 Inspiration were produced at a newly established Infiniti satellite design studio in London, under the eyes of former Cadillac design boss Simon Cox.
The styling was then finalised at the company’s main design studio in Japan under Alfonso Albaisa.
At 5052mm in length, 2027mm in width and 1350mm in height, the blueprint for the future Infiniti flagship is 82mm longer, 97mm wider and 70mm lower than the Porsche Panamera. Its chassis boasts a 3103mm wheelbase – 37mm shorter than the long wheelbase version of the Panamera sold in China.
As yet there is no official word on the what platform the production Q80 Inspiration will be based on, although indications are Infiniti could turn to Mercedes-Benz for a shared structure.
Speaking on the possibility of sourcing a platform for the new car, the head of the Renault-Nissan Alliance Jacques Verdonck said the company was considering extending its relationship with Mercedes-Benz to include rear-wheel drive platforms. "Their rear-drive platforms would make sense for economies of scale, though our tuning would have to be different," he said.
The Q80 Inspiration showcases a new hybrid powertrain Infiniti intends to place into production in a number of different models within the next two to three years.
It consists of a longitudinally-mounted twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 direct injection petrol engine that produces 444bhp and an electric motor with 99bhp, giving the big four door a total system output of 543bhp.
Drive is sent through a newly developed nine-speed automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive system.
Infiniti says the aim is to provide the eventual production version with the “highest performance in its segment”. This hints at a 0-62mph time and top speed to challenge the 562bhp twin-turbocharged 4.8-litre V8 powered Panamera Turbo S, which comes with claimed figures of 3.8sec and 193mph.
Thanks to its ability to run on electric power via a lithium ion battery pack, Infiniti’s computer simulations also point to impressive fuel economy and emission credentials for its potential new model at 51.4mpg and a CO2 rating of 129g/km.
Hinting at plans to include autonomous driving technology on the production version of the Q80 Inspiration, the concept uses a network of cameras, lasers and sensors to suggest actions to the driver via an audible tone and a head up display unit.
The passenger also receives their own head up display unit, which can project the information contained in a connected smart phone onto the windscreen. The rear seat passengers get their own individual touch screen monitors.
While the Q80 Inspiration forms the basis of Infiniti’s plans at the top end, it is also focusing heavily on the more affordable end of its line-up.
Next year it plans to add the Q30 to its ranks. Based on the same front-wheel drive platform as that used by the Mercedes-Benz A-, B-, CLA- and GLA-class, it is being looked upon to significantly increase the company’s sales in Europe.
The even smaller Q20 also remains under consideration, and is likely to be based on a joint platform currently being developed by Renault-Nissan and Mercedes-Benz called the JC1 structure.
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