By on March 3, 2017

Project Black S Q60

Distinction is something Infiniti has aimed to achieve for a while now. It’s even attempting to do it under its own label by implementing cutting-edge technologies that can help to take the driver out of the equation or put him in the front of the pack, depending on what you’re into.

Nissan’s luxury division is heading to the Geneva Motor Show with two very different vehicles: the popular Q50 sedan, laden with the best driver assistance technology available, and a Q60 Project Black S performance coupe sporting a sport hybrid system borrowed from Formula One. The former is a sure thing, destined to be on sale for the 2018 model year, while the latter represents an entry in a hypothetical performance line as Infiniti investigates what level of insanity the general public is willing to accept.

Project Black S Q60

The hybrid system snags leftover kinetic energy from regenerative braking and stores the electricity in a high-rate discharge lithium-ion battery. That juice then heads to an electric motor, adding a flourish of power by way of more low-end torque and a turbocharger that spools up more quickly. It’s essentially a Formula 1 KERS system for a production car. The majority of this technology stems from Nissan’s partnership with Renault SA’s F1 team — which Infiniti joined in 2016 to offer technical expertise. The automaker claims overall drivetrain power output will increase by 25 percent when the system is active.

While Mazda is developing a similar i-ELOOP recovery unit that offers added fuel economy, Project Black S will be the first performance-focused entry aimed at a broader market. However, as excited as Infiniti seems to be about the powertrain, it’s really just testing the waters. It even admitted that it is only building the concept Q60 to “gauge potential public interest in high-performance derivatives” of its cars. As of now, ERS development has been limited to prohibitively expensive track-focused cars. If the company does produce the Project Black S Q60, it will be the only vehicle of its kind.

The other car coming to Geneva is a mid-cycle update of the Q50 sedan — Infiniti’s global best seller. The model will adopt a new steer-by-wire system and be the first of the brand’s fleet to combine all of its semi-autonomous features with ProPilot Assist. That’s the same moniker Nissan uses for its gradually advancing autonomous tech. On the Q50, it includes intelligent cruise control with active lane keeping, blind spot alerts, lane departure warnings, backup collision prevention and and forward emergency braking. Infiniti also promises the updated steering will offer improved dynamic response and better feedback to the driver.

New Q50s have also been gently restyled, with modified headlamps, taillights, and an updated front end when equipped with the sport package. We’ll see more on that when it appears at the Geneva International Motor Show this month.

Infiniti Q50 2018

[Images: Infiniti]

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14 Comments on “Infiniti Will Bring a Split Personality to the Geneva Auto Show...”

  • avatar

    Infiniti, by Honda.

    The Civic should sue that thing at the top. Or maybe not, because now people won’t talk about how weird looking the Civic coupe/hatch/R look.

    • 0 avatar

      How does Infiniti get people to buy their products? Smoke and mirrors for the most part for those that need to drive blinged out Nissan I suppose. Granted the new 2017 Q60 coupe is sweet. Well was sweet. Not anymore if they actually build this joke of a concept vehicle. Only a tool would be drooling over this vehicle. Or just the typical Infiniti driver.

      • 0 avatar

        At least they ain’t spewing NOX from a dirty diesel. Don’t VW’ s sick?

      • 0 avatar

        Does the typical Infiniti driver want a pre-riced vehicle? We’ll find out.

      • 0 avatar

        My wife just leased a 2017 Infiniti Q60 in December, and so far we love the thing.

        We looked at a lot of competing 2-door coupes from Lexus, BMW, Audi, Mercedes, Honda, Hyundai, Cadillac, etc. and in the end the Infiniti was the winner for assorted reasons:

        1-Liked the external appearance more than other coupes. Many of the competitors looked like normal boring 2-door sedans with 2 less doors, we liked how the Q60 felt like an original design.

        2-Real actual touchscreen (2 of them actually, and set up effectively to take advantage of both, unlike Honda) as opposed to some annoying mouse/touchpad/wheel control like on pretty much everything else. Also no screen sticking out one top of dashboard which I think looks crazy.

        Also very polished/fast/inituitive infotainment system that worked well. By contrast the infotainment in my 2015 Honda Odyssey is a complete joke, ugly to look at, slow, and has tons of use case “fails” in both the navigation, and stereo system portions, that drive me crazy every time I use it.

        3-Nice understated and simple interior, real quality solid/chunky feel to all buttons/dials/switches, no overuse of silver plastic trying to look like metal. When I tried the Audi and Mercedes offerings I was surprised how cheap and tacky the interior felt by comparison (Mercedes more than Audi to be fair)

        4-Really great dealership that took us on real test drives, was very transparent in all lease numbers and calculations, went straight to aggressive selling price for lease without lots of back and forth. In contrast, the other dealership brands did stuff like:

        -not letting us test drive on a freeway when shopping for a sports coupe, only letting us circle the block on a crowded city street

        -not wanting to give us any type of price offer on a lease unless we promised to buy that day, even though we had not seen any numbers yet

        -letting us do a whole test drive and come back in to talk numbers, only to not realize until the end that there are no lease programs available for that car (Cadillac)

        5-“Leased well” in the sense that we were able to get a very good (IMO) monthly payment for a car that had an MSRP in the low 50s (we got the V6 version with 2 of the 3 major option packages). The combination of a high residual percentage, low money factor when using MSDs, and a dealer that was willing to set the selling price at $1000 below invoice resulted in a monthly payment that easily exceeded the “1%” rule you read about on places like leasehackr.

        As a contrast, the Audi A4 had a worse enough residual that even when leasing a car at the same rough price and also getting offered around invoice, the payment would have been a good $100/month higher, our around $4000 more for the same 39 month lease.

        6-In terms of acceleration/handling/speed/power, the V6 version of the Q60 is more than we ever would know what to do with, especially in “sports” mode. If any of the other coupes did better in this regard, I couldn’t tell the difference.

        7-Dealership actually had good inventory of the vehicle in stock, both to test drive and then get one with the option packages/color we actually wanted. The local Hawaii Infiniti dealer had 20 Q60s to choose form. In contrast:

        -Local Hyundai dealer did not have any genesis coupes available, nor did they know if/when they would be getting any in

        -Local Honda dealer’s Accord V6 coupe was not on lot but in overflow lot, said they would move it over and call me when available to try, never got call back

        8-Back seat was more roomy and accessible (for a sports coupe) than a lot of the competitors.


  • avatar

    “…as Infiniti investigates what level of insanity the general public is willing to accept.”

    Infiniti can sit back and watch Toyota do their work for them.

  • avatar

    All of this sounds terrible and I have zero interest in it.

  • avatar

    Created an account just to comment on this. I never liked Infiniti but look at the Q50…low hood, large greenhouse, modestly styled. It’s 1998 all over again, which is good.

  • avatar

    I think Dodge has proven with the Hellcat that there is a definite appetite for real automotive insanity. However, a 500HP hybrid coupe is no longer insanity. It’s the low fat, gluten free diet insanity that isn’t nearly as much fun.

    Why not just stick the GT-R drive train in the Q60 and call it a day?

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      They were going to do a Q50 Eau Rouge, which was exactly that, but canceled. Had they not canceled, I’m sure a Q60 Eau Rouge would have followed.

  • avatar

    “…the popular Q50 sedan, laden with the best driver assistance technology available…”

    It’s a shame that the core drivetrains are as durable as ever, but all that built in “technology” raises the cost of purchase and repair beyond reason. Add all the wacky infotainment, also built in, and I now long for the halcyon days of “more cupholders!”

  • avatar

    I like the ideas of F1 style KERS finally in a production car. Frightfully complex though. Who will fix this stuff in 10 years? Also, wish the flywheel type of KERS had been successful – flywheels, gazillion rpm, how cool is that?

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