Previewing a new generation of INFINITI vehicles, the Q Inspiration Concept proposes how an innovative VC-Turbo powertrain, next-level autonomous drive technologies, and a unique human-centric interior could enrich the experience for drivers of premium sedans. The car was unveiled for the first time at the 2018 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS).
The exterior features a concise design and eschews classical sedan forms, with coupe-like proportions and an elongated silhouette, demonstrating INFINITI’s design vision for vehicles in this segment.
“As a new wave of technologies begin to take shape, our Detroit concept car heralds a new generation of INFINITI.
“A seamless and stunning new design philosophy demonstrating INFINITI artistry in the new age of autonomy and breakthrough drivetrains. In Detroit, shown alongside Prototype 9, INFINITI aims to showcase a new elegance, one that strikes harmony and simplicity in a complex world,” enthused Alfonso Albaisa, SVP Global Design.
The Q Inspiration boasts a revolutionary powertrain ‘combining turbocharged petrol power with the torque and efficiency of a hybrid or diesel engine’. VC-Turbo continually transforms, adjusting its compression ratio to optimise power and fuel efficiency, resulting in the smart application of power for greater driver control.
INFINITI says the new ProPILOT system ‘liberates’ the driver from mundane and stressful driving situations, enabling drivers to delegate more stressful driving tasks to the car, and enjoy “an enhanced ability to respond to hazards”.
With the system acting as a ‘co-pilot’, the driver always retains ultimate control.
Says Christian Meunier, INFINITI Global Division Vice President: “The premium sedan segment has become rather conservative. 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.”
The impending adoption of more advanced forms of propulsion has allowed INFINITI’s designers to propose a new architecture for the mid-size sedan. Its short hood segues into a long cabin, made possible by the powerful yet compact VC-Turbo engine under the bonnet.
The front of the car is dominated by a large double-arch grille, the appearance of which is matched with sharp louvres running up the sides of the hood, and blade-like vents fore and aft of the wheels. INFINITI’s hallmark ‘human-eye’ headlamps have evolved to accommodate precise LED strip headlamps.
The cabin takes a minimalist but human-centric approach, exploring “a modern aesthetic, delivering a calming, enjoyable space for passengers”.
The result is a reduction in ‘noise’ which the manufacturers say allows the driver to focus entirely on the road ahead without unnecessary distractions.
A human-machine interface (HMI) ensures passengers are catered for too: “With wellbeing and relaxation at its core, the Q Inspiration’s HMI – a touchscreen for each passenger – offers a ‘meditation-regeneration’ mode. This minimises the level of information displayed, and offers guided meditation to help occupants leave any stress behind when they start a journey. The car can also monitor passenger biometrics.
Drivers and passengers can call up digital content on their independent touchscreens. Passengers in different seats can enjoy a favourite film or show, catch up on the day’s news, or sit back and stream music as the world goes by – without distracting others in the cabin.
Each seat features a floating touchscreen, positioned to allow occupants to freely cross their legs in comfort. The floating centre console maximises leg room and thin-frame ‘zero gravity’ seats minimise fatigue on long journeys.
Power comes from INFINITI’s unique VC-Turbo technology, suggesting the future application of variable compression ratio engines across a range of INFINITI models.
The VC-Turbo changes its compression ratio ‘seamlessly’ with an advanced multi-link system, “continuously raising or lowering the pistons’ reach to transform compression ratio – offering both power and efficiency”.
A high compression ratio gives greater efficiency while a low compression ratio allows for greater power and torque.
The VC-Turbo engine offers any compression ratio between 8:1 (for high performance) and 14:1 (for high efficiency). There’s also an intelligent all-wheel drive system: a front-biased drivetrain that is able to apportion torque to individual rear wheels as driving conditions demand.