INFINITI unveils bold Q60 Concept

Michael Wayland, The Detroit News | Original article from Detroit News

INFINITI is promising sports coupe fans a new, bold car for 2016.

The Nissan Motor Co. luxury brand on Sunday unveiled its Q60 Concept in Detroit, a precursor to a high-performance sports coupe slated to go on sale next year.

"There is something under the skin of Q60 that is slightly sinister," said INFINITI Executive Design Director Alfonso Albaisa during the car's unveiling Sunday at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit. "It represents what you can expect from INFINITI in the not-so-distant future."

The high-performance coupe features design cues from the Q80 Inspiration and Q50 Eau Rouge, both of which premiered globally in 2014. It is sleek, yet aggressive, thanks to character lines running from the double-arch grille to the spoiler. Above the large grille also is a prominent line that echoes, and leads into, the peak of the INFINITI logo.

Kelley Blue Book senior analyst Karl Brauer said the concept, while not revolutionary, is a nice step for INFINITI's design language.

"Nothing about the car looks hugely different, or a major departure from what I've seen," he said. "The positive side is they've started to establish a family design language, and that's good. A lot of companies never do that, they never have a distinctive design language.

"This looks like a positive refinement of their existing design language."

The car, unveiled prior to its debut at the 2015 North American International Auto Show, prominently features large, 21-inch aluminum alloy wheels with spokes in matte black and high-gloss black chromes. The company says it plans to implement design characteristics of the tires for future vehicles.

Powering the Q60 is a next-generation twin-turbo three-liter V-6 engine with direct injection. It is part of a new family of engines slated to be introduced within the next two years. The engine was first previewed in the Q80 Inspiration during the Paris Motor Show.

Michael Bartsch, vice president of INFINITI Americas, said the company has high expectations for the new Q60 heading into 2016.



"This car is going to be a halo car," he told reporters following the unveiling. "This car is absolutely critical."

On the interior, designers used carbon fiber in the door accents to complement the exterior of the car. The seats are designed to go with the sporty nature of the car, with the use of premium saddle leather and thick cushion quilting.

Albaisa described sliding into the driver's seat of the vehicle like "slipping on a driver's glove."

Performance, pricing and other specifications were not announced for the Q60.

Bartsch said he expects the production car to compete against the Mercedes-Benz C-Class coupes, BMW 4-Series and really "anything with two doors and a little bit of get-up-and-go under the bonnet."

INFINITI sales were primarily flat in 2014. The brand sold 117,300 cars, a 0.8 percent increase from 2013.