Infiniti is taking the wraps off the Q Inspiration concept at the Detroit auto show this week. It’s meant to demonstrate the direction of Infiniti design in the form of a large luxury sedan in an era of advanced powertrains. The large sedan showcases the next step in the brand’s design language and is also said to preview a new generation of Infiniti vehicles, suggesting that the automaker is considering fielding a large luxury sedan aimed at the likes of the Lexus LS, Mercedes-Benz S-Class and BMW 7-Series.
The design of the sedan itself adopts a coupe-like profile — common enough in this age — while featuring sleek, sculpted surfaces with a good amount of surface tension. The front fascia features a large grille opening with two distinct inlets below the nose, as well as two inlets bookending the front fascia itself. Out back, the concept features a thin, single wraparound taillight as well as two large vents at the bottom of the rear fascia. Inside, the Q Inspiration is a study in minimalism, with a visually clean interior meant to convey a comfortable and serene passenger space.
“We aim to take traditional sedan architecture to its next stage of evolution,” Karim Habib, Infiniti executive design director said earlier last week. “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.”
The Q Inspiration concept is powered by Infiniti’s new VC-Turbo technology, heralded as “the world’s first production-ready variable compression ratio engine.” This new powertrain is said to combine the power of a turbocharged gasoline engine with the efficiency of a diesel or a hybrid engine, pointing the way to further development of internal combustion technology.
The interior of the concept sports a clean, uncluttered look.
“The premium sedan segment has become rather conservative,” said Christian Meunier, Infiniti Global Division Vice President. “The Infiniti Q Inspiration previews something that could appeal to a younger audience, who seek modern design and new technologies to inspire and empower them.”
Will the Q Inspiration concept lead to a production version of a range-topping sedan? The Q45 flagship has been notably absent from the Infiniti lineup, and the tastes of the market have noticeably shifted away from large sedans in the second half of the decade. Infiniti has an E-Class or 5-Series competitor in its lineup, but for now, the automaker is not signaling that the return of larger luxury sedan is imminent. This is quite understandable, given the consumer demand for large crossovers and SUVs as the moment, but the Q Inspiration concept demonstrates the brand’s latest design that could apply to smaller production sedans in the near future.