Auto blogTue, 25 Mar 2014 19:58:00 EST
Here are just a few great drift cars: Toyota AE86, Mazda RX-7, Nissan Z, Nissan Silvia, and Ford Mustang. One vehicle you won't find on that list, however, is the Infiniti M, because it's a big, heavy luxury car.
It's comfortable, spacious and better to drive than you might expect. And yet, even though it was possible to get one with a very nice 335-horsepower, 4.5-liter V8, it wouldn't be the first car we'd gut and take drifting in an empty warehouse. Formula Drift driver Chris Forsberg didn't get our memo, evidently, which is why we have this video of him flinging a big, white Infiniti through an empty building.
It's an entertaining video, if only because using an M as a drift car is just such a ludicrous sight. Scroll down to watch the entire clip.
Sun, 09 Mar 2014 11:04:00 EST
Infiniti boss Johan de Nysschen "insists" the car be put into production.
Over the past few years, rumors have swirled about an Infiniti-badged, four-door version of the Nissan GT-R. Makes sense to us - Infiniti could certainly use a performance halo, and the seemingly forgotten IPL initiative hasn't exactly bore any interesting fruit. Enter the Q50 Eau Rouge, which recently debuted for a second time at the Geneva Motor Show packed with the 3.8-liter, twin-turbocharged heart of Godzilla itself.
Bobby Unser is one of the great American racing drivers of his generation, having won the Indianapolis 500 in 1968, '75 and '81 and belonging to the Unser racing dynasty. But he might be getting the oddest tribute of his life at the 2014 Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance. Infiniti has created a tribute to his Indy-winning 1968 car out of a Q60 Convertible (previously the G37), and he will be driving it around the event.
The Infiniti is wrapped in red, gold, black and white livery with the number 3 designed by the company's design director Alfonso Albaisa. While the connection seems dubious, Offenhauser-powered racecars are one of the featured vehicles at this year's concours, and the Japanese luxury automaker worked with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum to bring Unser's 1968 Eagle, which used an Offenhauser engine and flew those colors, to the show. The brand wanted a car of its own to match... no matter how outlandish it looked.
Honestly, while certainly a nice gesture, the choice still seems a bit weird. At least visitors will get the chance to see American racing royalty and his winning car. Scroll down to read Infiniti's full explanation for their effort.
Think back to the 2014 Detroit Auto Show and you'll remember the Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge concept - a sedan that showed the potential design direction for a seriously high-performance take on the Japanese automaker's new entry-level luxury sedan. And while the show car we saw in Detroit was all well and good, it lacked something. Specifically, an engine. Kind of an important thing for a performance concept, right?
Here in Geneva, Infiniti rolled out that same Q50 Eau Rouge, but with one major modification: the sedan now boasts a twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter V6 under its hood - the same engine that's found in the Nissan GT-R supercar. In the Eau Rouge, this V6 is tuned to produce 560 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque, sent to the ground via the GT-R's all-wheel-drive system. Of course, this super-hot Q50 is still purely a concept, but Infiniti says that the potent engine underhood will allow the sedan to sprint to 60 miles per hour in less than four seconds, on its way to a top speed of over 180 mph.
The oft-fabled "four-door GT-R" still isn't confirmed for production, so for now, all we can do is cross our fingers (and toes). Check out the Q50 and its new beating heart in the gallery, above, and scroll below to hear what that potent Eau Rouge sounds like.
There has been ongoing talk of an Infiniti using the Nissan GT-R powertrain practically since the moment the Nissan's flagship sports coupe hit the road. While the rumors have gone back and forth over the years, they have never completely gone away. It seems Infiniti is finally turning an ear to the screams of its most vocal enthusiasts with an updated version of the Q50 Eau Rouge concept boasting a modified version of Godzilla's engine and all-wheel drive system debuting at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show. It's even taking things a step further and granting it a new, seven-speed transmission to replace the Nissan's six-speed.
The latest evolution of the Eau Rouge packs the same 3.8-liter, twin turbocharged V6 found in the GT-R but with a unique tune of 560 horsepower and 443 pound-feet (600 Newton-meters) of torque. That makes it 15 hp more powerful than the standard 2015 GT-R but gives up 20 lb-ft of torque. Power gets to the ground through the GT-R's all-wheel-drive system. Infiniti predicts that the Eau Rouge would sprint to 60 miles per hour in less than 4 seconds and on to a top speed of 180 mph.
According to Infiniti Communications Senior Manager Kyle Bazemore in an email to Autoblog, the modded GT-R powertrain was not the only choice for the Eau Rouge. It also considered "developing a high-power sports diesel" and hybrid versions with an electric supercharger. However, "this was the clear solution for this concept car," Bazemore said. Other than the drivetrain, the Eau Rouge in Switzerland is identical to the one shown in Detroit. Sadly, it is not confirmed for production; so we might not be getting the fabled Infiniti GT-R sedan any time soon. Still, we can hope.
During last month's Detroit Auto Show, Infiniti rolled out the lustrous Q50 Moulin Eau Rouge concept - a preview of what could be a solid performance offering from Nissan's luxury arm. Problem is, the car shown in Detroit was all show and no go - literally.
Infiniti was keen to talk about how the Eau Rouge would feature "a big personality, V-cylinder engine with forced induction" with "over 500 horsepower and 600 pound-feet of torque," but the showcar had no such powerplant underhood. In fact, it didn't have any powerplant under the hood at all. That'll change next month, however, as Infiniti has now confirmed that it will bring the Q50 Eau Rouge to the Geneva Motor Show in March, complete with the promised "big personality" engine.
"Our engineers have perfectly captured the tone of Infiniti's take on premium performance, and a car that is as impressive as the Q50 Eau Rouge sounds is surely a car to challenge performance cars in the premium sector," said Infiniti's President, Johan de Nysschen. Regarding that sound: he ain't foolin' - the automaker has released a teaser video that gives us our first listen at what the Q50 Eau Rouge will sound like once its powerplant is nestled underhood. Scroll down to give it a watch - err, listen - and have a look beyond that for the company's official press blast.
Ten years ago, nearly to the day, I took delivery of a brand-new 2004 Infiniti G35 6MT. The sporty rear-wheel drive sedan, equipped with its throaty 260-horsepower V6, slick manual gearbox and limited-slip differential replaced my 2001 BMW 330i because the Japanese competitor touted a product that was roomier, better equipped, quicker and lower priced. The G35 trumped the German in nearly every measurable category - at least on paper.
The 2014 Infiniti Q50 is the direct descendant, albeit two generations later, of the car I owned a decade ago. It is dimensionally about the same size, but it has gained more than 300 pounds of mass thanks to numerous safety upgrades and technical innovations. The additional weight is largely dismissed by a larger and more efficient powerplant that delivers an additional 68 horsepower, a welcome arrival, but the manual gearbox that charmed enthusiasts has been pushed out of the picture by a mandatory seven-speed automatic transmission.
As it has in the past, Infiniti touts its all-new Q50 as a luxury sport sedan worthy of the title. Decades ago, impressive performance statistics may have sealed the deal. Yet there is much more to the assignment today, as the model must offer premium appointments, sophistication and engaging driving dynamics if it's going to entice and capture the next-generation of young, premium buyers - much like the G35 did for me ten years ago.
Ladies and gentlemen, here's the car that will win the 2014 Formula One World Championship... probably. Maybe. The success of Red Bull Racing over the past several years means that the debut of its 2014 challenger is one of the more note-worthy events of the preseason, showing off the latest piece of aerodynamic mastery from Adrian Newey.
Like the Ferrari F14 T, the Red Bull RB10 features a more conventional nose, which still plunges rather dramatically ahead of the front wheels. We're seeing a very interesting split early in the season between the top teams like Red Bull and Ferrari, who are opting for a more traditional design, and the mid-pack challengers, which are being more aggressive with their aerodynamics. Seeing how this plays out during the season will be very interesting. As for RBR's design, it's attractive, but wasn't easy to pen, according to Newey, who found the turbocharged V6s a difficult piece in the new F1 puzzle.
"Whereas the V8s were a very well-known package, with these power units, the engine itself is easy enough to install, but then of course you've got the turbocharger, the intercoolers, and the electrical side in terms of the motor generator units and much bigger batteries," Newey told the official Formula One website.
Infiniti has already made it known that its aging G37 sedan will live on alongside the all-new Q50 through the 2015 model year, but little else for this sporty four door has been announced past the 2013 model year. As of this writing, there is no 2014 model shown on the company's consumer website. A new report from Car and Driver, however, indicates that like other models carried over to Infiniti's new naming convention, the four-door G37 will live out the rest of its days with a "Q" name after all.
Unlike the G coupe and convertible - renamed Q60 - the sedan will reportedly wear the Q40 designation until its ultimate demise. We reached out to Infiniti for more information, but a spokesperson only had this for us: "we have not provided any product details for post-2013 models. That will come at a later time." Previously, we had been told that the sedan would continue to live out its days under the G37 nameplate.
As for products that are actually new to the lineup, C/D says that the Q30 and the next-gen QX50 are both expected to arrive before the company launches a new range-topping flagship sedan as soon as 2016. Aside from a handful of reports suggesting this sedan exists (C/D says it's confirmed for production), there isn't much we know about it - including whether it will be called Q80, Q90 or something else entirely. It would appear there's plenty to look forward to from Infiniti's upcoming product lineup, and we are eagerly awaiting a 550-horsepower Q70 sedan and/or a production version of the Q50 Eau Rouge.
Infiniti is desperate to position itself as a brand for performance enthusiast. It's tried to create that impression by attaching its name to the Red Bull Racing team, by sprucing up the G37 Coupe and G37 Convertible as part of its lack-luster Infiniti Performance Line, and by bringing Sebastian Vettel on board to create a special edition FX crossover. But the Japanese luxury brand knows it's going to need something more comprehensive if it's going to go up against BMW and its M models, Mercedes and its AMGs, or Audi and its Quattro GmbH-tuned RS range.
That's why the Q50 Eau Rouge concept unveiled just last week at the Detroit Auto Show was so important to the marque. But Infiniti has more in store than just a concept. Nissan desires to put the Q50 Eau Rouge - named after the notoriously challenging turn at the Spa Francorchamps circuit in Belgium - into production with a 500-horsepower engine. But in speaking to Automotive News, Infiniti chief Johan de Nysschen hinted at more good news to come.
That could include a performance version of a new flagship sedan Infiniti is said to be working on, positioned above the current Q70 to fill the void left by the discontinued Q45 that capped the brand's range before it shifted its entire naming scheme behind it. The flagship sedan would need some serious muscle to challenge the likes of the Mercedes S63 AMG and Audi S8, but Infiniti seems bent on getting there. To cap it all off, Infiniti has long been rumored to be working on a halo sports car. Whether they'll all carry the Eau Rouge name, the IPL badge or some sort of other designator remains to be seen, but we'll enjoy seeing this development progress.