The model, which is described as "a brave statement of intent" from the company, has been designed to "disrupt the premium saloon category." It previews a future range-topping production model which will aim to take on the likes of the Porsche Panamera and Mercedes-Benz S-class.
The four-door fastback also illustrates Infiniti's new design language. Measuring 5060mm long by 2010mm wide, and 1340mm tall, the Q80 Inspiration closely matches the dimensions of its rivals. It sits on 22-inch alloy wheels.
Powering the concept is a new hybrid powertrain that consists of a downsized twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 engine and an electric motor. The V6 is the first of a new family of powerplants which will appear in Infiniti models within the next two years, as the firm plans to double its powertrain range before the end of the decade.
The all-aluminium V6 produces 444bhp and the electric motor, which draws its power from a lithium-ion battery pack, outputs 99bhp. Infiniti says that the total system output is 543bhp and 553lb ft; average economy is reputed to be 51.4mpg and CO2 emissions are claimed to be 129g/km.
Power is channeled through a nine-speed automatic transmission to the rear wheels in normal driving but torque can be split between all four wheels depending on road conditions. Drivers can also opt to place the car into all-wheel drive mode permanently.
The four-seat cabin adopts a minimalistic approach. A small infotainment screen sits ahead of the centre console, with a digital dashboard displaying relevant information to the driver. Alcantara, leather and metal trim is used inside.
On-demand autonomous driving technology, which utilises a system of cameras, lasers and sensors, can suggest actions to the driver – such as accelerating, braking or tailing the car in front. That information is relayed to the driver via a heads-up display. Passengers also get their own HUD, which can display information from a connected smartphone. Rear passengers benefit from individual touch-screen infotainment systems.
Infiniti says that launching the Q80 Inspiration in production form will mark its first entry into the high-end premium saloon market. "This is the highest portfolio entry for Infiniti and our vision is to compete with a unique approach," said Infiniti product strategy boss Francois Bancon. "Q80 Inspiration is how we see the future in terms of moving people in the higher end of our portfolio."
The Q80 has already been confirmed for production, and will arrive to do battle with the likes of the Mercedes S-class and BMW 7-series in 'three to five' years.
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