Johan de Nysschen has responded to sometimes severe criticism by Infiniti owners and fans of the new Infiniti naming convention, where every product name begins with Q, instead of the existing G, M, FX, etc.
This is a very interesting press release, directly addressing the criticism in the press and forums – and almost word for word.
But, even better, look at what slipped out in #2 below (our highlights in red). There will be a 550-horsepower forced induction 3 liter V6 engine coming for Infiniti!
Infiniti Press Release follows:
A Message from Johan de Nysschen to Infiniti Owners and Fans
Dear Infiniti fans: We love you dearly. And we know you love the brand. Which means it’s only natural that you may feel surprised by the announcement that we plan to change our nomenclature philosophy. No one likes change.
It was a tough decision. We like our current model names as much as you do. But we had no choice but to change. Let me explain.
1. We are embarking on a massive product offensive, and these new cars need names. There are no suitable combinations of Alphanumeric naming options remaining that are not already trademarked by another automaker. In order to expand our line up with the fascinating new models we are developing, we must create a more flexible nomenclature philosophy.
2. Our new advanced technology engines under development will be smaller, lighter, more fuel efficient yet more powerful. And we will introduce some exhilarating performance machines in the future. I’m sure you will agree, it would be a bit odd to have a powerful, luxurious and refined V8 powered Infiniti M56, then position a new high-tech 550+ horsepower performance flagship for the Infiniti M range above it, using a potent charged induction V6, but then call it Infiniti M30, which we would be obliged to do, following our current naming logic.
3. Infiniti is becoming a global brand now. We are already active in almost 50 countries, the majority only very recently. Our new customers are unfamiliar with the brand and struggle to understand our range hierarchy. Is a JX above or below an FX? Where does an EX fit? What is the relationship between G and Infiniti M? Research confirms the majority of newcomers to our brand consider the naming to be somewhat arbitrary and confusing.
4. Infiniti owns the naming assets of Q plus double digit, and QX plus double digit. And it is a permanent part of our heritage.
So the solution is pretty straightforward – use Q for cars, QX for crossovers, and double digits in increments of ten, to denote hierarchy, linked to the price point of the model, not size and not engine displacement. And no, we wont call all-wheel drive models Q50X or QX50X. The fact that a model may feature four-wheel drive will be indicated by specific badging describing this feature on the car and is not part of the model name.
The really exciting implication of all this is that it prepares the way for the introduction of several fascinating new models above and below the current line up, and a wider range of powertrains including some truly stunning performance cars in our future.
So there is only good news for all Infiniti fans around the globe. We are working very hard to bring you great products, a great brand and a compelling ownership experience. And we are really confident you will love the new Q50. It’s simply that good.
Johan de Nysschen President Infiniti Motor Company Limited
In a strange move just announced this afternoon, Infiniti renamed all of it’s existing and upcoming cars and SUVs. The Infiniti G is dead, long live the Infiniti Q50 and Q60…
Completely bizarre… but at least we have confirmation at last that the new Infiniti G, er, Q60, will be shown at the Detroit show in January,
Infiniti Press Release follows:
Infiniti Announces New Naming Strategy
- Infiniti models from the 2014 model year to carry Q or QX prefix
- New nomenclature symbolizes new brand direction and the commitment to Infiniti under the leadership of Johan de Nysschen
- The use of Q & QX captures the inspiration within the next generation of Infiniti models, while relating back to Infiniti’s roots of the Q45
- New premium sports sedan to launch at the North American International Auto Show in January will be first Infiniti to carry new Q badge
HONG KONG - Marking another significant step in its plan to further expand its presence in the premium automotive sector, Infiniti today announced details of a new nomenclature strategy to be applied to its complete product range beginning with the 2014 model year. The first model to carry Infiniti’s new Q badge will be the Q50, an all-new premium sports sedan to be unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in January 2013.
The premium automotive brand will see its model range simply prefixed either by Q – for sedans, coupes and convertibles, or QX, for crossover and SUV models. Each model will be further identified by a double digit representing hierarchy within the range.
This strategic change reflects Infiniti’s desire for clarity and cohesiveness as it embarks on ambitious growth plans, including significant expansion of the Infiniti portfolio.
Commenting on the revised naming philosophy, Johan de Nysschen, President of Infiniti Motor Company Limited, said: “Over the past few months, we have talked at length with our retailers, our customers, and our business partners about our brand. The need for a new identity and direction to promote consumer familiarity with our model range as we expand the portfolio became evident. To achieve this, we clearly needed a simple and consistent nomenclature framework. After exhaustive research and evaluation, we concluded that ‘Q’ captured the inspiration within the next generation of Infiniti models, as well as emphasizing our performance credentials while harking back to our heritage with the Q45 – Infiniti’s first iconic flagship product in 1989.”
Infiniti’s new nomenclature strategy will be implemented in logical stages within the existing product range, as 2014 model year variants are introduced. The brand’s future plans include a range of next-generation Infiniti models that will carry Q and QX badging from the outset.
About Infiniti: Infiniti, the premium automotive brand, reflects its brand promise “Inspired Performance” with a model line-up of sedans, coupes, SUVs and crossovers featuring exhilarating performance, emotive design and cutting edge technology. Infiniti continues to launch across the globe through a dedicated network of Infiniti Centers that share a commitment to exceptional hospitality throughout the entire period of ownership.
Infiniti was launched in 1989 in the United States. Infiniti’s global footprint expanded into Canada in 1990, Taiwan in 1997, the Middle East in 2004, Korea in 2005 and Russia in 2006. Global expansion continued in 2007 with Infiniti Centres opening in the Ukraine and in one of the world’s fastest growing luxury automotive markets, China. In 2008 Infiniti launched in Western and Central Europe, which has added 19 additional markets. Infiniti is sold globally in 47 markets to-date.
Since May 2012, Infiniti Motor Company Ltd.’s new global headquarters is situated in Hong Kong, headed by Johan de Nysschen as President of Infiniti on 1 July.
# # #
Automotive News Europe reports in an article “Infiniti gets a take-charge ex-Audi guy with credentials, clout” that Infiniti now has its first-ever president and that he was formerly president of Audi of America. This is significant news for Infiniti and sets a much more aggressive direction for the future of the division.
And there are implications here: Audi has spent the past decade building ever-mo9re sleek and sophisticated products, while Infiniti has been inconsistent: playing with massive SUVs (reworked Nissans), leaving its mainstream product (Infiniti G) to age and become less competitive, and searching for a halo product (Essence, Emerg-E) but never making a decision. All leaving Infiniti with a hodgepodge of products attempting to satisfy a broad market, while losing focus on the original goal of sleek, powerful, and luxurious products.
Meanwhile Infiniti has defined a new styling language, as seen in the “Le-Electric” concept (electric sedan). Note the broken line in the side windows (very clumsy in the new JX – it suggests a reluctance to move forward), the huge grill (blocked off in this electric concept, but also recently seen in the M, JX, and the ridiculous QX), and gigantic character lines down the sides and wrapped around the front and rear.
We can’t even begin to say how ugly and clumsy this concept is compared to sleek Infinitis of the past.
Now look at Audi: the mainstream A4 has been consistent from the start, and variations such as the S4, A5, and S5 have just added to the appeal. Secondary products like the new A7 are not mainstream, but add to the overall appeal of the brand and stay consistent with the formula. SUVs add to profitability, and while they started out with somewhat different styling and less appeal, they are rapidly moving to the same formula.
Obvious conclusion: Audi is winning, and Infiniti has fallen well behind.
Message to de Nysschen: fix this problem. Start with the G. It’s no secret that a new G is coming shortly… and we hope the styling is not locked into any relationship whatsoever with the Le Electric concept. And just as Audi competes with the BMW 3 series with it’s own unique interpretation of that market, do the same with the upcoming G. Move quickly, time is running out.
According to an article in Automotive News last week, Infiniti is preparing to move all current production out of Japan. This raises several questions for driving enthusiasts. First, read the original article here:
“You won’t have to wait a long time before we make a decision about the new base for sourcing of Infiniti,” Ghosn told a group of reporters Wednesday during the New York auto show. “If you follow our logic, we should make the cars where we sell them.”
A move to North America would result in lower prices in this market, as well as a more highly profitable stream of exports to other markets including Europe and likely China.
However, big questions arise. First, what about the 370Z (branded as Fairlady Z in Japan)? It’s built on the same “FM” platform as several Infiniti models (G, M, FX). Does this mean that it will also be assembled in North America, or will it move to a different platform entirely when it’s replacement cycle comes up in another 2-3 years? How does this fit in with recent discussion of a “BRZ-type” replacement for the Silvia (240SX)? And where would the chassis for that product come from, and might it be shared with a new Z on an all-new non-FM platform? Where then would that be built? Would the it compete with the Subaru BRZ/Toyota 86, and another version of it with a 6 cylinder engine be sold as a “Z”?
The article also has a slightly inaccurate quote from Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn. He is quoted in the article that “Infiniti is not sold in Japan”. This is not exactly true: the Infiniti G35/25 is very simply a rebadged Nissan Skyline GT370/GT250 in Japan. Same exact car, different badge in the same grill and different labeling. Built in left-and right-hand drive configurations for different world markets. Same difference for the Infiniti M series – it’s actually a Nissan Fuga. And the EX, as well as the FX. Even the mighty GT-R is itself derived from the FM platform and before the current iteration used to share the Skyline name. So the future of all of these products are part of this question. And all are coming up for a redesign in the next 2-3 years, so the time is right to start asking.
So if the FM platform is leaving Japan, where does that leave our favorite products for North America, and where does it leave the Japanese home market?
Furthermore, if these products were to be built solely in China, would the North American market accept that? In our opinion, a strong and absolute ”NO“! However, given fluctuating currency and the distances involved, multiple production sites would seem likely and Ghosn seemed to confirm that with this quote: “We’re seeing what the Germans are doing,” he said. “The Germans are diversifying their base and they are producing practically everywhere”.
In closely related news, Carscoop has some spy pictures of an Infiniti mule for the next generation G. While they didn’t venture to say what changes they felt the mule represents, we’ll say it. It’s a G with the current bodyshell, but that has been updated to an M underneath. Note the wider track and M shifter and tacked-on instrument cluster. Running M electronics would require an M instrument cluster. Since the current M is a “version 1.1″ of the current G platform with a wider track and very slightly updated rear suspension (close enough that the M37H hybrid drivetrain was originally previewed to the press in a V36 G35 body), it would make sense to start with an M. But for testing purposes. Looking closely, we can see things like the front brakes in the same exact position as the current G/M, so that might suggest the platform is the same or just a “.1″ release. In the rear, however, there is a transverse muffler instead of the 2 stock mufflers. This would be a change… and architecturally would bring the sedan into the same architecture as the current G37 coupe and the Z.
And as our readers are also likely aware, there is a degree of cooperation taking place with new partner Mercedes. It was never previously announced for the rear wheel drive platforms… only a “B” platform product. Does the existence of the mule G at a Mercedes testing platform indicate that a platform or engine will be shared?” It’s too early to tell. We can see a shared platform… but not an engine family. It’s too important from a marketing and brand standpoint for each brand to have their own engine in their own products. Adding to this is the recent trademark filing by Infiniti of “G35H”, “G30t”, and “G22d”. This all makes sense, since the M37H mechanics are easily transferred back to the G, a small diesel engine is needed for Europe (smaller than the current 3 liter Europe-only diesel), and a “G30t” would be a 3 liter turbo V-6. The Nissan VQ engine already comes in displacements ranging from 2 liters to 4 – so a 3 liter V-6 with a single (and hopefully twin) turbo makes sense. Call it a “Nissan EcoBoost” – which would be a very good thing. Or a downsized “GT-R engine..! We also know that a supercharged 2.5 liter inline 4 is under development and this could provide an entry-level engine for the G series… and the Z.
So now we are in the waiting period… just as we have been before with the last G and Z. In terms of the timing, consider this: we first saw a full engineering prototype of the North American 2009 370Z in July 2008. And an engineering mule built from a shortened and widened 350Z two years before production. Taking past history as a guide, that would indicate that a new G will be introduced at the New York Auto Show in 2013, and will go on sale that fall as a 2014. Put a new Z (if indeed FM-based) on the calendar for one year later.
Our concern? The current G (and Z) is becoming aged and out-of-date. We had a slight update for 2010, then simply color changes for 2011 and 2012. Meanwhile BMW is moving quickly ahead and Infiniti sales as a whole are slowing. In our opinion, Infiniti needs a new G and it needs it now.
It’s also possible that the Skyline will be replaced with a non-FM based platform. Leaving Infiniti on exclusive platforms, free to come to Japan at last, and moving upmarket to more directly correspond to the completion (BMW 3, Cadillac CTS, Mercedes C). Skyline would then become more practical (very likely in energy-conscious Japan) with a range of engines underneath the current 2.5 and 3.7 liter V-6 engines (neither of which are particularly fuel-efficient). The Skyline brand has a rich history going back to 1957 and is one of the top Nissan brands of all time. It will certainly continue, but in what form?
: GOING WAY OUT ON A LIMB
So let’s go out, way out, on a limb and make a prediction, ’cause it’s fun. Based solely on our read of the market (and without any insider information) and what we (as a current G owner) would like to see:
- 2013 Nissan Maxima: last model year, then cancelled. Thru neglect and lack of differentiation has lost it’s brand value
- 2013 Infiniti EX35: last model year, then cancelled. EX has not been a market success.
- 2014 Infiniti G: Evolved FM platform (see below). Depending on worldwide market requirements (but engineered for all): 2.2 liter diesel (all-new engine), 300 HP 2.5 liter supercharged inline 4 (all-new engine), 370 HP 3.5 liter hybrid V-6 (existing engine, with addition of direct injection and updated batteries), 380 HP direct-injected 3 liter twin-turbo V-6 (update of existing engine family). Engine availability varies by market. 6-speed manual (existing, to be replaced in 2017 with new 7-speed) and 8-speed automatic (update of current 7-speed). Both rear wheel drive and all wheel drive. Size just slightly wider than current model. 4-door sedan and coupe. Popular “S” model continues to be offered. Premiers slightly updated (and fully common across all usage). Continues to be offered in Rear and AWD forms. Overall weight reduced 150 pounds due to extensive use of high-strength steel and aluminum.
- 2014 Nissan Skyline (worldwide market, JDM, North America, China, Europe): slightly lengthened worldwide Altima platform with every possible luxury. Supercharged 300 HP 2.5 liter inline 4 standard. Makes use of a common platform, but positions it appropriately against the Altima - which has moved up-market for 2012. New Nissan Murano and Infiniti JX (sharing same platform) to follow 2 years later. Replaces the Maxima in the North American market. The famous Skyline brand will now be available worldwide!
- 2014 GT-R: carryover with minor suspension tuning updates.
- 2014 Nissan Fuga. Cancelled. “Fuga” has no brand value, hence car will be replaced with the 2015 Infiniti M.
- 2015 Nissan Z: Re-branded as simply “Z”, offering the 300 HP supercharged 4 as standard and the 380 HP 3 liter turbocharged V-6 in the track model. Nismo returns as a track-ready suspension and option-delete offering with 400 HP via enhanced 2-mode exhaust system (where NVH is not as great a concern). V-6 model drops 100 pounds, 4 cylinder drops a further 85.
- 2015 GT-R and Infiniti “Essence“: sharing the new worldwide FM platform, in AWD form, offering a 580-HP twin-turbo 3.8 liter V-6, with direct injection and an updated hybrid drivetrain with 9 forward gears. Reducing weight is the priority of this new generation, although the drivetrain is an evolution of the current GT-R and M hybrid parts. Benefits significantly from the updated lighter-weight FM platform, but uses several exclusive carbon fiber body parts (hood, front fenders, doors, roof, hatch) to reduce weight even further (-300 from current car) to more than offset the weight of the battery pack at the expense of increased production cost. Mitigates costs by using an off-the-shelf Getrag 9-speed automatic, shared with 2015 M, making extensive use of electronics and offering multiple algorithms (including manual shift), and mounted conventionally behind the engine rather than as a transaxle. Thus the chassis is also conventional FM rather than a heavily modified (and heavier in weight) FM+ as in the current GT-R. Priorities: get the weight down, commonality underneath.
- 2015 Infiniti M: up-sized evolution of 2014 G, 3 liter diesel, 3.5 liter hybrid V-6, and 380-HP 3 liter turbo V-6 (differing from the G in the use of the GT-R 9-speed transmission). Drops V-8 engine. The ultimate luxury flagship of Infiniti, with a particular focus on electronics for entertainment and drivers aids.
- 2015 FX30: replacing the EX35 with a fastback coupe modeled on the 2014 Infiniti G sedan. Analogous to the G as the Audi S7 is to the Audi A6. Offered solely with the 400 HP direct-injected 3 liter twin-turbo V-6. Drops V-8 engine. “S” model provides suspension and appearance options only, same engine. Moves towards ultra-luxury and sportiness, rather than as the current crossover CUV. The FX was technically never an SUV, and this upmarket move results in better competition against Audi and BMW. And S. Vettel would be better served!
FM platform update summary:
- Platform evolution and 100% commonality across all users (Z, G, M, FX, GT-R, Essence) allows for better cost effectiveness of parts such as otherwise very-expense alloy forgings. Continues to be aluminum-intensive for all possible parts, including crossmembers. Optimization and gram-analysis reduces weight and increases strength where possible.
- Engineered for drivetrain commonality, although all drivetrains will not be offered in all markets. Single platform supports rear- or all-wheel drive, hybrid battery pack in rear trunk area, hybrid automatic transmission.
- 100% front suspension commonality across rear- and all-wheel drive models (versus current FM platform, where components such as uprights vary across different models).
- 100% rear suspension commonality across rear- and all-wheel drive models, with and without rear steering. Coilover rear eliminates heavy rear lower control arm (replaced with steel), cleans up packaging, and is a nod towards more extreme GT-R requirements.
- Consistent ride height and tire heights across all FM variants. 18, 19, and 20″ wheels offered. Widths depend on usage.
- Elimination of “tall” CUV FX suspension, as FX becomes a “fastback G”.
- 2.5 liter inline 4 DOHC, direct-injection, VVEL, supercharged. Jointly designed with Mercedes, built for both in Mexico starting in 2014. Exclusive to Infiniti and Nissan Z. Technological competitive example: 2015 Ford 2.3 Ecoboost: 300 HP and at least 32 MPG in a 3500 pound Mustang.
- 3 liter V-6 DOHC, direct-injection, VVEL, twin turbocharged. 380 HP (126 HP/liter. Somewhat less per liter than the current GT-R engine). Exclusive to Infiniti and Nissan Z. Built in North America starting in 2014. Better overall mileage than the current naturally aspirated 3.7 liter engine, far-better part-throttle and off-boost mileage, and far better NVH. Higher torque than 3.7 also allows use of numerically lower gearing. Coupled with 8-speed automatic (wide gear spread), an update to engine controls, and lower weights, mileage will improve 15%.
- 3.5 liter V-6 DOHC, direct-injection, VVEL, hybrid electric. 370 HP. Exclusive to Infiniti. Production moved to North America for 2014.
- 3.7 liter V-6 DOHC: cancelled.
- 3.8 liter V-6 DOHC: exclusive to GT-R and Essence. Updated with direct injection and addition of hybrid components from the G/M35h. Getrag 9-speed for improved mileage and acceleration.
- 5 and 5.6 liter V-8 DOHC: both cancelled.
: COMING BACK IN OFF THE LIMB
That was fun, but only time will truly tell. We’re right at the point where further spy pictures should be appearing. Look for them, and watch the news for any announcements of new production plants outside of Japan (as well as for news of Japan production plants closing).
Reference: review the current Japanese domestic market FM-based products:
It’s a terrific time we live in. A new era of Japanese supercars is almost upon us. We already have the fabulous Nissan GT-R (a Porsche buster at half the price and without the snootiness), the incredible Lexus LFA, a new 400+ HP NSX (three years off), and in the same timeframe this new Infiniti. If the first two don’t establish Japanese supercar invincibility, then the second two certainly will and will also take automotive technology into the next decade. The NSX is a hybrid, with a new gas engine powering the wheels supported by electric motor assist.
The Infiniti EMERG-E (a concept today, and without a doubt a production car inside of three years) is a pure electric that uses a very small gas engine solely for recharging the batteries. The exclusively electric drivetrain yields over 400 HP - and like all electrics maximum torque is produced from 1 RPM on up. The driving experience will be incredible.
Gallery of high-res images: Driving Enthusiast EMERG-E Gallery.
Infiniti EMERG-E website: www.infinitiemerg-e.com
Three Infiniti Press Releases follow.
REMARKS BERNARD LOIRE AND SHIRO NAKAMURA Geneva Motor Show 2012 – INFINITI PRESS CONFERENCE
Only the spoken word is valid
Good morning and welcome to the 82nd Geneva International Motor Show – the fifth time Infiniti has taken a stand here at Palexpo. And my first as part of the Infiniti team.
Yes, it was just five years ago, here in 2008 that we first told Europe what Infiniti means by Inspired Performance. And at every Geneva Show since, we have given you something special.
Last year, for example, we surprised you with our announcement of a partnership with Formula 1 champions, Red Bull Racing.
Can we top that today? Well, having seen what’s under here, I think we just might.
But first, allow me to update you on our business. Because it’s looking good.
We have just celebrated two milestones: the opening of our 20th European market and our 50th Infiniti Centre in Western Europe. Plus last year, our regions – that’s West and East Europe plus the Middle East – all enjoyed record sales.
Numbers that we want to increase further. Hence the strengthening of our sales teams across the region.
Our product offering continues to grow. Upwards with the confirmation that the FX Sebastian Vettel Version will go on sale this Spring in a strictly limited run of 200 units each enjoying 420PS of V8 muscle the most powerful and best sounding car we have yet brought to market.
Although Sebastian cannot be with us this year, we are very pleased to be joined by Red Bull Racing’s Team Principal, Christian Horner, with whom we will be working even more closely this year.
Welcome Christian back to Geneva. If you see Sebastian, you can tell him that Car Number 1 will be his.
One figure that we are reducing is our average emissions with the announcement today that, due to technical changes, the Infiniti M Hybrid now emits less than 160 grams of CO2 without changing its status as the world’s fastest accelerating full hybrid. Next year, the emissions of our fleet will further decrease with the addition of four cylinder petrol and diesel engines.
How high … and how fast can we go is a question our product planners have been thinking very seriously about.
In addition, can low emissions be exciting? And beautiful…?
We think it can. To tell you more, let me hand you over to Infiniti’s Senior Vice President and Chief Creative Office, Mr Shiro Nakamura. Shiro-san…
Good morning everyone.
At every Geneva Show so far, Infiniti has always brought you something special.
In 2009, we showcased the Essence concept car to commemorate the brand`s 20th anniversary as a producer of performance cars. This car on authentic rear wheel drive proportions showed many new design aspects and a signature that expressed the unique beauty and vigor of Infiniti.
In 2011, we again showcased Infiniti’s distinctive design through the compact but spacious proportions of the Etherea concept, Infiniti’s first front-wheel drive car.
And today, I am very pleased to introduce you a new exploration of Infiniti design language and advanced technology that reflects Infininti`s message of inspired performance: the INFINITI EMERG-E, the third part of the Infiniti Trilogy.
This third member of the Infiniti Trilogy is more sporty, more dynamic and even more expressive than the previous two with a midship motor layout.
And it shows how Infiniti design language works in a different package. Moreover it consolidates the future direction of Infiniti design.
Looking at the styling of the car, the flowing motion of the surface is led from a three-dimensional `Double Arch` front grille, with a new waved pattern, through to the kimono inspired air intakes on the rear fender giving elegance to this performance car.
Aside from its dynamic shape, Infiniti iconic signatures can be seen in the LED head lamp graphic inspired by a god’s forceful eye. The dynamic arc on the window graphic and crescent cut C-pillar are also adopted on EMERG-E embodying the unmistakable appearance of an Infiniti.
Looking inside the car, you can find subtle traces from Essence. Highly functional yet intimate spaces for both driver and passenger are formed by two different color and materials contrasting functional and comfortable zones.
We have designed a shape of real energy and elegance, and one with the emotional flow you know of Infiniti. But what you cannot see is that this silk dress of a body is super light made out of carbonfibre.
EMERG-E is also a symbol of performance and one that can be enjoyed without feeling guilty because we have explored technology new to Infiniti: an electric vehicle with a range extender.
The result is a sports car that can travel 30 miles with no emissions. It can accelerate to 60 miles per hour in four seconds thanks to three hundred kilo watts of power. And, with the assistance of a small three cylinder petrol engine, it is capable of a range of up to three hundred miles.
In addition to this show car, our engineering teams in the UK are building two more drivable prototypes this summer that will convey to you the real life experience of an electrically powered sports car.
And for me as a designer, there is no greater pleasure than seeing our work in a track environment.
So to conclude, the INFINITI EMERG-E is our new exploratory challenge, fitting the brand’s performance promise and expressing our new design direction.
Ladies and Gentleman, please enjoy our inspired performance: the INFINITI EMERG-E.
INFINITI NEWS SUMMARY: 2012 GENEVA MOTOR SHOW
• The brand’s first mid-engined, range extending electric sports concept car
• 0-60mph in 4.0 seconds; 300kW power output from twin motors
• Up to 300 mile range • Substantial UK involvement in its design and development
• 420PS FX Sebastian Vettel to enter a limited production run of 200 units
• CO2 emissions of the Infiniti M35h lowered to 159g/km without any reduction in performance
ROLLE, Switzerland (March 6, 2012) – Infiniti, the luxury performance automotive brand from Japan, revealed today at the 82nd Geneva Motor Show its first ever mid-engined sports car concept called the INFINITI EMERG-E.
In addition, Infiniti confirmed the limited production of 200 units of the 420PS FX Sebastian Vettel version for Europe and Middle East markets, as well as the reduction of emissions of its world record holding Infiniti M Hybrid model to 159g/km.
INFINITI EMERG-E: AN ELECTRIFYING NEW TAKE ON THE SPORTS CAR
The INFINITI EMERG-E Concept, which makes its debut at the Geneva Motor Show 2012, is a highly advanced mid-ship sports car that provides an exciting glimpse into Infiniti’s future.
INFINITI EMERG-E is physical proof of Infiniti’s intension to produce a bold halo model befitting the brand’s promise of Inspired Performance, and also signals an array of exciting new technologies that the brand will adopt in its quest to build dramatic and sustainable high performance cars. INFINITI EMERG-E also provides a fresh expression of Infiniti’s design language applied to a high performance, mid-ship sports car for the first time.
INFINITI EMERG-E is also significant for being the first Infiniti that has been developed in Europe. More than that, its advanced technology deliberately draws on the knowledge of suppliers beyond Infiniti’s usual base in the quest to uncover the most innovative hardware and the deepest knowledge base. That quest has seen Infiniti become a part of the UK government’s Technology Strategy Board initiative, whose aim is to speed the arrival of low carbon vehicles to our roads.
INFINITI EMERG-E is the ultimate expression of Infiniti’s inspired performance. This 402bhp (300kW) mid-engined, twin motor, electric motors powered sports car is capable of accelerating from 0-60mph in just four seconds – and from zero to 130mph in a single, seamless 30 second burst. Yet it also operates as exciting, zero emission urban transport over a 30-mile range. And when the range-extender petrol engine functions in concert with its twin electric motors, it produces a CO2 output of only 55g/km (NEDC cycle).
Within its compact 4.464m length the two-seater INFINITI EMERG-E contains a pair of electric motors, a lithium-ion battery pack, four inverters, a three-cylinder range-extending internal combustion engine and a petrol tank. All this is efficiently wrapped within highly aerodynamic, light bodywork characterised by a design fluency that could only come from Infiniti.
INFINITI POWERS UP THE FX SEBASTIAN VETTEL VERSION
Infiniti today confirmed the FX Sebastian Vettel version, shown first in concept form at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show, is to enter a strictly limited production run of 200 units to be sold across Europe and Middle East regions. The announcement was made by Bernard Loire, Infiniti Vice President for Europe and the Middle East.
The production version will match the 420PS output of the concept car making it the most powerful Infiniti yet to be sold by the European business unit. Although no price is available yet, it will also be the most expensive.
The car is a collaboration between Red Bull Racing’s champion racing driver and global brand ambassador, Sebastian Vettel, and Infiniti’s Chief Creative Officer, Shiro Nakamura. With its sophisticated technology, lightweight components and features such as Rear Active Steering for maximum agility, the V8 FX50S Premium – Infiniti’s current flagship as well as its best-selling model in some markets – provides the ideal starting point for the FX Sebastian Vettel version. Changes including increased power, lower weight, longer gearing, increased downforce and lowered, stiffer suspension turn what is already a sports car among crossovers into a crossover supercar.
Customer reservations are being taken now ahead of first deliveries from early 2013.
400 Wild Horses in a Silky Dress
Imagine a superfast, near silent sports car, cruising the neon-lit streets of an after-dark London. This is the compelling image that gave birth to INFINITI EMERG-E, and this concept is its realization.
INFINITI EMERG-E is a highly advanced, mid-ship, electric motors powered sports car concept. It projects Infiniti’s already advanced electric vehicle technology deep into the future with a range-extender powertrain that delivers the performance expected of sports car bearing the Infiniti badge. Combining thrilling performance with the scope to drive in urban conditions for up to 30 miles with zero emissions, it emits no more than 55g/km of CO2 (NEDC cycle) over a 300 mile combined range. INFINITI EMERG-E lays down a radical new marker for mid-ship sports cars, and explores one of a number of the alternative propulsion avenues that Infiniti is considering.
The thinking that brought the INFINITI EMERG-E concept about came from the department of Francois Bancon, Division General Manager of Exploratory and Advanced Product. “When I was in charge of exploring the next step, I thought, how can we be innovative? We started with Essence. It was very successful, but arguably not a dynamic performance flagship. Then came ETHEREA, an indication of Infiniti’s future in the compact luxury segment. Now we have to think about a flagship, an emblem for the brand – not necessarily a big car, a limousine, because Infiniti is about inspired performance, and sporty cars,” said Bancon.
Creating a sporty, dynamic and unusual flagship is one inspiration for the INFINITI EMERG-E program, but equally important is Infiniti’s continued exploration of alternative propulsion systems, a logical next-step for a company that is already selling the advanced Infiniti M35 Hybrid.
That exploration takes an unusual form with INFINITI EMERG-E, its range-extender driveline a first for Infiniti.
“Infiniti has a deep knowledge of what an internal combustion engine is because this is what we are providing, and we also have a deep knowledge of what hybrid is, which we are also providing in the market right now,” explained Bancon of Infiniti’s decision to pursue a range-extender series hybrid technology. “This is about changing the rules of the game. You have more and more cities in Europe that are banning internal combustion engine emissions, but with this car you can run downtown in London, for example, with no guilt – you are not guilty, because you are zero emission. At the same time, you’re going to have fun on a racetrack with the maximum performance you can enjoy.”
INFINITI EMERG-E also represents a new way of developing cars for Infiniti. It is the first car developed in Europe, and the first car it has built as part of a UK government sponsored technology initiative. That initiative is run by the Technology Strategy board, whose aim is to fast track the arrival of low carbon cars to the UK’s roads. The TSB’s competition is framed to encourage contact with innovative and pioneering suppliers who might not normally gain access to major manufacturers, providing Infiniti with the opportunity to harness promising new technologies that might enable it to produce better low carbon cars. That projects like INFINITI EMERG-E only qualify for partial funding if they pioneer new technologies – which this Infiniti clearly does – also encourages innovation.
“This is a new way of thinking about the sports car of the future,” said Bancon.
INFINITI EMERG-E was designed under the direction of Senior Vice President and Chief Creative Officer Shiro Nakamura. While some of Nissan Global design bases were involved in this project, the overall design development were mainly led by Nissan Design Europe (NDE), Paddington, London, and built by Nissan’s European Technical Centre (NTCE), Cranfield.
It’s a highly significant car for Infiniti because it advances on many fronts. It is the first mid-ship sports car the marque has ever produced. It takes the Infiniti design vocabulary in a fresh, intriguing and convincing new direction. It stretches Infiniti’s already accomplished expertise in the areas of electric vehicles and alternative propulsion systems. And it will provoke debate about the form an Infiniti flagship should take.
INFINITI EMERG-E is also unusual for being a project part-funded by the UK Government’s Technology Strategy board, a development that has significantly deepened the resource that the brand can draw on for the creation of new models, while lending this project an intriguingly international flavor.
The desire to stretch Infiniti’s knowledge of electric vehicles lead to the idea of a range-extender electric vehicle, and just such a machine began to be developed in Japan. An unexpected opportunity to advance the project through Britain’s Technology Strategy Board (TSB) – whose mission is to speed the passage of low carbon vehicles to UK roads - provided the chance to access new technologies and work with a variety of organizations. These included universities, suppliers and OEMs, this facet of the development broadening the scope and ambition of INFINITI EMERG-E. The opportunity to work in a consortium revealed that fellow member Lotus Engineering was also developing a range-extender electric sports car, the two companies deciding that it made sense to collaborate. That decision, explained Bancon, was eased by the fact that “Nissan (and Infiniti) have had a relationship with Lotus for 10 years, mostly about methodology. We have never agreed a contract to do a car with Lotus, but we have done many studies together, utilizing their additional resource when ours was taken,” he said. Further benefits included co-funding of the INFINITI EMERG-E project from the TSB, and access to a range of highly innovative suppliers.
A key feature of the INFINITI EMERG-E Concept is that it contains a blend of technologies and solutions that have not previously been tried, as required by the TSB funding rules. The sharing of several components by other members of the consortium is also an element of the TSB initiative, the aim being to promote developmental economies of scale, although the approach to their deployment differs.
“A key aim of the TSB approach is to develop projects that are closer to commercial reality,” said Jerry Hardcastle, Vice President Vehicle Design and Development, the Nissan Group Technology Centre Europe and senior member of the UK’s Automotive Council. “So there’s more of a chance of the technology making it to market.”
That chance will gain extra momentum when Infiniti produces two fully functioning INFINITI EMERG-E demonstrators in the next step of this highly unusual and innovative concept development program.
Although Infiniti has only been on sale in Europe since 2008, the brand made a big impact when it was launched in the U.S. in 1989 as Nissan’s luxury marque. From the very beginning the Infiniti name has symbolized “Inspired Performance,” the ownership experience painstakingly tailored to combine these qualities with exceptional customer care. Those first two decades culminated with the 2009 unveiling of the Essence, an elegantly sensuous-looking high-performance coupe. Apart from making a very favorable impact that resonates to this day, Essence was the first of a trilogy of concept cars showcasing the three core strands that characterize Infiniti’s design values. The second concept was ETHEREA, and INFINITI EMERG-E is the third.
This dramatic trilogy of show cars embodies the three strands that form the foundation of Infiniti’s Design Values. The elegantly spare muscularity of their bodywork is inspired by the Energetic Force to be found in nature. Their Seductive Aura is also immediately apparent, from the sensuous, hourglass squeeze of Essence’s cockpit to the graceful, unbroken arching of Etherea’s roofline and the subtle, cloth-like folds of INFINITI EMERG-E’s haunches. Yet the drama in the lines of all three show cars is tempered by the qualities of Dignified Intelligence that suffuses all Infinitis.
The concepts also bear a unique set of highly individual hallmarks that characterize an Infiniti. These include a radiator grille elegantly book-ended by a double arch and Infiniti’s highly distinctive crescent-cut rear pillar. Just as distinctive are the headlights, which are redolent of the eyes of a human, this shape reinforced by a fine eyebrow line of LEDs.
INFINITI EMERG-E takes the brand’s design vocabulary in an exciting new direction, this being the first time that it has been applied to a mid-ship sports car.
“Infiniti has always had rear-wheel drive styling,” said Nakamura. “The FX is a good example – it has a long hood, short rear deck, it is not wedged and has a very horizontal movement. But a mid-ship layout usually has a different attitude – it’s slightly wedged, so that’s a challenge for us.”
That challenge was all the greater, said Nakamura, because a mid-engined car was never a part of the original plan for Infiniti or its design philosophy. “Designing a mid-ship car sounds very exciting, but at the same time there’s even less freedom because of the package constraints and the distribution of weight. Because of the FX and Essence, we have already established an Infiniti look and proportion. Also, we now have front-wheel drive cars with ETHEREA. We’ve got to go beyond our existing proportions, so this is a good experience.”
That experience began with the creation of three-quarter scale model proposals from Infiniti studios in Japan, the UK and California. The winning design, the work of California-based Infiniti designer Randy Rodriguez, was recreated as a full-size clay model constructed at Nissan Design Europe’s Paddington studio.
The aim has been to combine the brand’s characteristic long nose with the heavier volume at the rear, while maintaining what Nakamura calls “the emotional flow of an Infiniti.” Unlike most mid-engined cars, INFINITI EMERG-E is not a wedged design, although there is considerable energy in its shape.
“We wanted to make it elegant yet dynamic, to show graceful power,” said Nakamura. “Mid-ship cars are usually more crude – this is like silk wrapping over the wheels.”
Taisuke Nakamura, NDE Design Manager, explains that, “The volume of INFINITI EMERG-E starts from the badge and the grille and flows like a stream from here all the way to the chopped tail.” This fluency of line is all the more effective for the extra length grafted into the INFINITI EMERG-E platform ahead of the windscreen, the fast angle of its A-pillars and the subtly flexing curve in the upper surfaces of INFINITI EMERG-E’s flanks, a characteristic of every Infiniti. So is the crescent-cut sculpting of the car’s rear pillar – fast-becoming a key Infiniti signature – which gives INFINITI EMERG-E a distinctively shaped greenhouse.
The furl of the neck of a Kimono is the inspiration for INFINITI EMERG-E’s subtly voluptuous lateral air intakes, explained Nakamura, adding that he did not want to see the crude grille of an air intake.
Bold headlights also identify INFINITI EMERG-E, their crescent-shaped LED illuminations visible during day and night. It is a future Infiniti design cue that was first shown on the ETHEREA concept. The penetrating quality of these lamps and their eyebrows is suggestive of human insight, a product of Infiniti’s Dignified Intelligence approach. The double arch grille also resonates with the flowing shape of the INFINITI EMERG-E’s shapely rear wings. The crowning visual highlight is the dramatic liquid silver paint that envelops this leanly tensioned, low, wide and more masculine Infiniti. Underlining the theme of Energetic Force, this liquid metal paint emphasizes the INFINITI EMERG-E’s sculptural, fluid lines.
“We’re moving the design language forward,” said Nakamura. “We’re still in the same form language as the Essence – elegant, sensual, but taut and sharp – and now that we’re confident, we can go beyond front engine, rear-wheel drive proportions,” he concluded. He also said that “designing a sports car is always fun.”
“Silence is the new vroom,” said Bancon of INFINITI EMERG-E’s potent and technologically advanced drivetrain. “It is elegantly silent, and responsible.” INFINITI EMERG-E is a range-extender electric vehicle, and it is propelled at all times by a pair of 201bhp (150kW) EVO ELECTRIC motors driving the rear wheels. These advanced motors direct their power via a single speed (XTRAC) transmission to create what is effectively an open differential, this arrangement significantly reducing driveline friction losses. A quartet of inverters controls the motors and their energy regeneration role under braking, the recovered power directed to a lithium-ion battery mounted behind the seats. The battery can be recharged from a mains power supply (domestic and fast-charge) and stores sufficient energy to propel the INFINITI EMERG-E for 30 urban miles, at which point the on-board petrol engine starts up to act as a generator. This light, ultra-compact, Lotus-engineered three-cylinder 1.2-liter35kW engine has been purpose-designed for its range-extending role. It operates between crank speeds of 1500-4000 rpm, producing peak power at only 3500 rpm.
The INFINITI EMERG-E high performance, low emission propulsion system is installed within a lightweight, extruded aluminum chassis unit to which ultra-light carbon fiber panels are attached, Infiniti keen to explore the potential for this material in future low production volume models. Given that it provides a 20 percent strength gain in tandem with a 50 percent reduction in weight compared to the sheet molded composite often used in sports car construction, it’s easy to see why INFINITI EMERG-E’s carbon upper body construction is a major contributor to the car’s 3,523-pound curb weight – impressively low for an EV offering performance at this level.
INFINITI EMERG-E has been developed for excellent aerodynamic performance, both to reduce energy-draining drag – which stands at 0.34 Cd – and to generate positive downforce, and downforce balance, to enhance its high-speed handling. “One of the biggest challenges was cooling the car, especially for the range-extender and the car’s EV mode,” explained Hardcastle. There are a surprising number of air intakes and extractors let into INFINITI EMERG-E’s body, but they have been introduced with such flair and subtly that they enhance the sensuous drama of the car.
As you’d expect of a machine created for ultimate performance, INFINITI EMERG-E features the double-wishbone suspension of race car practice, its arms of aluminum to save weight. Its carbon fiber panels have been developed in the UK in conjunction with a number of leading motorsports specialists (Lola Composites, supported by Cranfield University), with the aim of using the material in higher volumes than has previously been possible.
‘This is 400 wild horses of muscle in a silky dress,” said Francois Bancon.
The cocooning cockpit of a sports car, the artful grace of craftsmanship, the intrigue of experiencing an innovative machine – all these qualities and more are to be found inside INFINITI EMERG-E.
“We wanted to explore the excitement and desirability of a true sport car,” said Bert Dehaes, Project Lead Designer. “And because it is an electric vehicle, we also wanted to show its innovation.”
INFINITI EMERG-E is a strict two-seater sports car, and it provides the classic reclined seating position that heightens the driver’s sense of connection to car and road below. The cockpit is clearly oriented around the driver, and as with all the best sports cars, its simplified controls are located for speedy and intuitive use, this more mechanical, functional look reinforcing the theme of inspired performance. Yet the overwhelming impression is of the flowing lines of this cabin’s highly distinctive architecture, their contrast with its high-precision cut lines and the elegantly executed attention to detail.
The swooping lines of Infiniti’s trademark double-wave dashboard structure, a lightweight, floating center console and the inviting textures of locally sourced, semi-aniline leather upholstery make this a sports car cockpit with a difference, especially in the detail, and the dark chrome center console finisher echoes the crescent cut signature in the car’s rear pillars. But the most dramatic detail appears when INFINITI EMERG-E is powered up, bursts of light briefly streaking around the cabin to provide live confirmation that the EMERG-E is ready for action.
This lighting is an essential part of the INFINITI EMERG-E experience, not only because it confirms the electric heart of the car, but also because it provides a striking, modern alternative to the conventional roar of an internal combustion engine. The lighting sequence signals the flow of energy within the car, a heartbeat signature radiating from the ignition to illuminate the floating centre console and the silhouettes of the seats. A small, jewel-like lamp in the steering wheel boss also lights up momentarily to reinforce the drama. After three seconds these illuminations fade out, leaving the eye free to concentrate on the excitement of driving INFINITI EMERG-E.
Among the finer details is the dramatic undercut of the dashboard ahead of the passenger, a sculptural device that doubles as an air vent. The line of this cut runs in a single, energetic swoop into a center console whose lightweight, carbon fiber construction makes a satisfying reminder that the entire outer structure of the car is made from the same material. The center console’s upper surface is angled to present the INFINITI EMERG-E’s transmission controls to the driver, who sits behind a finely detailed instrument pack that includes a gauge indicating the percentage of total available power. The instrument illumination mostly glows blue, but shades to hot purple when INFINITI EMERG-E is driven with vigor.
The excitement of the drive is further heightened by a neatly integrated, touch-screen display, a wheel whose upper and lower portions are flattened off, and a light in the center of the boss that illuminates when the car is deploying full power. A pair of slender, lightweight, luxuriantly supportive bucket seats provide grippy Alcantara® side bolsters and leather centre panels, the fine stitching of this upholstery confirming Infiniti’s painstaking mastery of interior detail.
“It’s very cool to design a mid-engined sports car,” said Dehaes. “We produced a lightweight feel that’s sharply cut, like a tailored suit. It fits well with Infiniti’s approach. An EV is pure and clean so the interior is the same, but it’s a friendly interior and ergonomic too, but not brutal.”
The inviting nature of the interior is a reflection of Japanese hospitality, while the influences of traditional craftsmanship can be seen in the slightly shiny texture of the semi-aniline leather encasing the dashboard and seats, the subtle violet-tinted lacquer sheathing the cabin’s carbon fiber elements and INFINITI EMERG-E’s novel flooring. Fashioned from an architectural material called Sefar, this fine metallic mesh allows light to shine through to provide an intriguing, translucent glow. “It’s the first time this material has been used in an automotive application,” said Gail Patrick, Senior Color Designer, adding, “it adds depth and allure,” while underlining the car fact that this car is electrically propelled.
Exotic though all this sounds, Dehaes emphasizes that “this is not a show car that goes wild – it’s important to be realistic and believable. It’s a car you’d design for yourself.”
# # #
The Infiniti Essence concept was introduced at the 2009 Geneva Auto Show this week. It’s officially only a concept at this point in time, although it does appear to be based on a production intent. You’ll note the usual concept car features: the all-glass roof/windshield combination, the oversize-tires, etc., that won’t make it into production. Get past those and you have a car based on the GT-R platform, although with a low-boost twin-turbo 3.7 liter engine (not the 3.8 from the GT-R) and an electric hybrid assist system. These contribute 440 HP and 160 HP respectively, for a total of 600.
The production version will probably have a hundred HP less, and go for well over $100K. It’s also dependent on the Nissan/Infiniti hybrid system reaching production (a prototype was shown in a G35 last year), which won’t be until 2012 at least. And of course on the worldwide economy, which certainly doesn’t favor the development or sale of $100k products at the moment.
High-res Image Gallery: http://www.drivingenthusiast.net/sec-blog/?page_id=12307
INFINITI ESSENCE CONCEPT DEBUTS AT GENEVA MOTOR SHOW – REPRESENTS THE MAGNIFICATION OF “INSPIRED PERFORMANCE”
- A front-engined, two-seat, 592-horsepower, rear-wheel drive luxury coupe concept measuring 185 inches long
- A preview of Infiniti’s gasoline/electric hybrid drivetrain – capable of high speeds when conditions allow, zero emissions where they don’t
- Fresh design language to influence future production models
- New safety technology, including Back-up Collision Prevention
- Minimalist and intensely driver-focused interior
- “New luxury” meets traditional Japanese craftsmanship
- Louis Vuitton fitted luggage to maximize trans-continental capability
Essence Exterior Design: “Dynamic Adeyaka”
Thanks to the marketing newbies at Lincoln deciding to toss away their established brand names and switch to ever-so-trendy letters, a series of lawsuits has begun. Acura is suing Lincoln over their ill-considered move. BMW is suing Infiniti for $260M over the use of the letter M.
Message to BMW: don’t forget the Ford M-ustang.
Audi A6 and Infiniti M35 earn top scores in crash tests. WASHINGTON (AP) – Two large luxury automobiles received top ratings in frontal and side impact crash tests released by the insurance industry on Sunday.