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Infiniti is giving the world a glimpse at its next concept sedan, which it plans to unveil at the 2018 Detroit auto show in a matter of days. Dubbed Q Inspiration, this concept previews the marque’s latest design direction in the guise of a large sedan, hinting at a possible successor to the Q45 that was never quite followed up on after it left the lineup in 2006.

The concept is the first manifestation of the brand’s new design language “for an era of advanced powertrains,” the automaker said, hinting at electrification.

“We aim to take traditional sedan architecture to its next stage of evolution,” said Karim Habib, Infiniti executive design director. “The Q Inspiration offers an alternative form: something more flowing in appearance and muscular in stance, with an unusually long and balanced cabin. Experimenting with new proportions in an established segment with the arrival of smarter, compact powertrains, the Q Inspiration features a shorter hood and elongated body, with all the benefits to interior well-being, comfort and space that this layout entails.”

2018 Infiniti Q Inspiration concept hood

Infiniti says that the new concept is an example of the brand’s new design language.

The design appears crisper and visually lighter than the fluid, flowing lines of the Q80 Inspiration concept, which previewed a similar large sedan at the 2014 Paris motor show. There are a few common elements here and there, but overall the concept does indeed feature a distinctly new design direction for the brand, one which trades rounded shapes for sharper lines.

It’s too early to talk about production, but it’s notable that Infiniti has been without a true luxury sedan competitor to the likes of the Lexus LS, BMW 7-Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class for over a decade. The current Q70 and Q70L hail from the M sedan lineup, which occupied the midsize category in Infiniti’s past naming convention — the Q70 is more of an E-Class, 5-Series competitor when it comes to size, and an aging one at that. Given the market’s current penchant for luxury SUVs it’s hard to blame Infiniti for skipping on a large, luxury sedan; if sales trends continue as they are, the Q Inspiration may remain just that — inspiration, for a future SUV.

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