Infiniti Q Inspiration Concept Previews the Future of Infiniti Cars

Concept Cars

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Behold the future of Infiniti. Take some whimsy, a desire for simplicity, and a new compact engine. Put them together and you have the Q Inspiration concept, a dramatically proportioned sedan that telegraphs a new design direction for Infiniti cars.

The dramatically proportioned Q Inspiration is not a precursor to any one Infiniti car replacement—it is the precursor to the future design of them all.

Q Inspiration is a four-passenger front- and all-wheel-drive midsize sedan with an enormous interior because it offers not just a new look, but also a new way to look at packaging and technology for Nissan’s luxury brand.

Key to being able to do this re-envisioning is the new VC-Turbo four-cylinder engine that is more compact and gives designers the freedom to shorten the hood and elongate the body. It is the first variable compression ratio engine that gives the gas engine the torque and efficiency of a hybrid or diesel, an advanced powertrain debuting in the 2019 QX50.

“The powertrain is a solution for design,” said Daniel Jimenez, the San Diego-based senior Infiniti designer who did the concept’s original sketch one year ago.

The San Diego team had already worked on Prototype 9, an exercise to breathe fresh air into the brand that produced a vintage racer. “It started as a dream, a blue sky project to tap into something more whimsical,” Jimenez said. “It was the ultimate design experience.”

The Q Inspiration was a more realistic rethink of sedan design and packaging. “We wanted to push the coupe look,” Jimenez said, and emphasize there was something different under the hood. The brand is not tied to a lot of heritage, but it wants to preserve its soul.

Jimenez’s original doodle in the pursuit of purity and harmony was seen by Alfonso Albaisa who took over as the automaker’s design chief last year. The sketch went back and forth between them and Jimenez went to the design headquarters in Atsugi, Japan, for three months to work on it because the scope of what was being envisioned called for full-size clay models from the start.

In the end, Infiniti crafted a midsize sedan with a full-size interior. The wheelbase was stretched, the windshield pushed forward, and a giant glass roof covers the stretched cabin, adding to the sleek look while still preserving headroom.

The Q Inspiration concept’s hood has a dramatic vent that draws the eye to the logo in front from which all design seems to emanate. Within each headlight is a suspended bridge pointing to the logo. And the double-arch grille is recessed, body-colored for the first time, and conservative in a world of big in-your-face grilles. The grille is bordered by frosted white lights rather than chrome and its vertical rib design is repeated throughout the car.

The design was inspired by an archer with a taut bow in that second where he releases the arrow and it is about to rip through the wind. The back appears pinched with rear lights that point forward and cooling vents below that do the same.

The concept has 21-inch wheels with carbon fiber pieces that appear three-dimensional and the caps have the Infiniti logo.

A touchpad opens the door: rear-hinged doors and no B pillar reveal the expansiveness of the minimalist interior. Designers experimented with materials, creating accessories such as handbags and shoes as a rogue side project. In the end, the car and the accessories are finished in white leather with a diamond motif with black and orange piping. The leather is on the seats, the center console that stretches far into the rear seat and armrests than also run to the rear seats.

Like the Tesla Model 3, there is a long wooden dash but the Infiniti concept’s is incorporated into the kabazakura birch are backlit controls and the dash lights up in the rib pattern from the grille. There is a full-length and tasteful screen above the dash and some haptic controls tucked in below. The squared-off steering wheel also has rib-shaped lighting and the start-stop button.

The seats are sci-fi in their shape and simplicity, with pressure points to relieve fatigue. Rear passengers have their own adjustable screen and tons of leg room. The door panels are worth a closer look: the leather appears to turn into wood and they are cut in the pattern of the grille but on its side. Inside the door pockets is gold material known as Nishijin-ori that is paper shreds woven with silk and it doubles as a high-tech sensor to turn on the pocket lighting.

The interior comfort was paramount in tandem with the car’s autonomous drive technologies under the ProPilot umbrella that allows the car to tackle both city and highway driving.

“It’s a serious exercise to show what we’re intending, our vision,” Jimenez said. “This is the first breath we’re taking to this new era of Infiniti.”

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