DETROIT – Infiniti is vowing to bring its Q50 Eau Rouge high-performance concept car to fruition, but says it will need some time to work through its powertrain options.
The Eau Rouge, unveiled here at the North American International Auto Show, is a muscled-up version of the Q50 that signals Infiniti’s plans to offer a performance line, similar to’s M designation or Mercedes’ AMG.
Inspired in part by Infiniti’s ties to the Red Bull Racing team, it sits lower to the ground and is wider than the production Q50. Its bolder lines and bulging fenders lend the car a more muscular stance. Carbon fiber is used for the Eau Rouge’s roof, mirror housings, side skirts, front splitter and rear diffuser.
Inside there’s a high-grip steering wheel and carbon-fiber trim that help create a sportier appearance.
“The Eau Rouge is proof of our commitment to make the heart beat faster,” says design chief Alfonso Albaisa.
What will land under the hood is more of a mystery, with Infiniti President Johan de Nysschen citing myriad possibilities.
“Will we put the Eau Rouge into production?” he asks rhetorically. “I absolutely insist on it. But we have a lot of work to do.”
Enthusiasts will demand a car with 500-plus horsepower and at least 590 lb.-ft. (800 Nm) of torque, de Nysschen says.
Options include tweaking Infiniti’s current 5.6L V-8, which de Nysschen says could coax out the needed torque with a little development. There’s also the possibility of bolting twin turbos to the Q50’s 3.7L V-6 in order to meet the Eau Rouge’s power demands.
Alliance partnersand could be performance-powertrain hunting grounds for Infiniti.
The brand already will share gasoline engines withand the two are partnering on a vehicle platform that will result in four new Infiniti models, including a small CUV expected to be built in Mexico.
De Nysschen says Infiniti and Daimler meet monthly to discuss potential partnering projects.
Timing is unclear, but de Nysschen says the chances of Infiniti launching a performance brand are “very high.”