Monday, 7 April 2014

Infiniti’s 560bhp super-saloon is coming

Good news for fans of super-saloons: Infiniti has built a full running prototype of its 560bhp, BMW M5-rivalling Q50 Eau Rouge concept for ‘evaluation' purposes. And the man doing the evaluation is four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel.

Vettel of course, is Infiniti's Director of Performance, and the affable German has been fettling the Eau Rouge in a series of performance and handling tests at Bedfordshire's glamorous Millbrook facility. 

The aim? Infiniti remains schtum at the moment, but it'd be safe to assume the Q50 ‘Eau Rouge' is heading for a limited production run. If so, this promises to be a very interesting proposition.

Because, as we told you at the Geneva Motor Show, the Q50 ‘Eau Rouge' packs the 3.8-litre, hand-built turbocharged V6 engine from the Nissan GT-R, piped through an Infiniti-spec 4WD system with a standard 50:50 torque split front and rear.

And the Eau Rouge has plenty of torque to split, too, producing a very healthy 443lb ft that, together with a seven-speed automatic gearbox (no dual-clutch here) manages a 0-62mph time under four seconds, and an estimated top speed of 180mph. Bearing in the mind the GT-R does the benchmark sprint in under three seconds, and we reckon Infiniti might be erring on the conservative side with those numbers.

The front and rear tracks are 20mm than those of the standard Q50, there are huge brakes, 20in lightweight forged aluminium alloys, a bespoke carbon fibre bumper, and a one-piece carbon fibre rear bumper with a very cool touch: a rear LED brake light lifted straight from the Red Bull F1 car.

Speaking of Red Bull, maybe we've got this ‘Eau Rouge' concept to blame for Vettel's comparatively slow start to the season? Maybe he's taking his ‘Director of Performance' job a little too seriously? Maybe not...

Anyway, we'll get more details when the prototype makes an appearance at the upcoming Beijing Motor Show on 20 April. No word on price, but a couple of months back, Infiniti told us to expect a tag of around £70k.

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