• Jul 27, 2011
Yes, we obsessively cover the auto industry, but that doesn't mean we don't enjoy other modes of transportation. We may even get downright giddy when two different worlds collide, like for example, when a boat is powered by a large automobile engine. Infiniti must feel the same way because the automaker is helping two Tennessee schools bring a maritime project to life.

Infiniti's North American headquarters is located in Franklin, Tennessee, and the automaker is awfully proud of the state in which it resides. Infiniti is also quite proud of the 5.6-liter V8 engine that sits under the hoods of both the QX56 sport utility vehicle and M56 sedan. How to combine those two loves? Donate a QX56 to two local schools, which will use the mighty mill to add some serious horsepower to their budding boat.

Both the Tennessee Technical Center-Nashville and Nashville State Community College have automotive tech programs. Infiniti provided the guts of its full-size luxobarge so that the students could learn how to apply the powerplant to a non-automotive application. Sounds kind of odd, but makes perfect sense when you dig a little deeper. These students are taking a modern (read: complicated) engine, and making it work in an environment in which it was not intended to perform.

So far, the team has the engine separated from the rest of the vehicle, and the rest of the QX56 will stay with Tennessee Tech for continued learning applications. The 400-horsepower engine is being prepped for nautical duty, and the ultimate result will see it powering a luxury boat. Infiniti isn't stopping with the engine, and is in fact supplying a Bose audio system, semi-aniline leather seats, XM satellite radio with NavWeather and, lest we forget, the brand's signature analog clock will find its way in there as well.
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Infiniti Takes Luxury to School With QX56-Powered Boat Project

– 400-HP Engine Set to Go From Towing Workhorse to Luxury Boat Motor
With the Help of Local Community College Students –


FRANKLIN, Tenn. (July 27, 2011) – The Infiniti QX56 full-size luxury SUV might be best known for its leather-trimmed, 7-passenger interior and technological advances like the world's first Around View™ Monitor, but its real claim to fame could be its powerful, 400-horsepower 5.6-liter V8 engine and 8,500-pound towing capacity. Offering strong low-end torque, smooth operation throughout the entire RPM range and peak torque of 413 lb-ft, the Infiniti QX certainly has "power to go, power to tow" credentials in spades.

Now, in a unique twist on putting the cart before the horse, Infiniti has embarked on a one-off project to add QX power to what's being towed – a boat modified around a QX engine and designed with the luxury, performance and craftsmanship of its flagship SUV.

"The genesis for the Infiniti QX-powered luxury boat project came about when a group of us were talking about our full-size SUV's standing as the perfect luxury tow vehicle – capable of carrying tons of weight, and lots of people and their cargo, in style," said Infiniti Americas Vice President Ben Poore. "So what better object to tow than a boat custom-outfitted to QX-inspired standards, starting with its powerful but fuel-efficient engine and continuing with semi-aniline leather on the seats, XM® satellite radio system with NavWeather™ and Bose® speakers, and signature Infiniti analog clock."

The first step in the Infiniti luxury boat project is well underway with the extraction and maritime prep of the QX engine. With assistance from Infiniti engineers and training managers, a team of automotive technical training program students from Tennessee Technical Center-Nashville and Nashville State Community College removed the 5.6-liter engine and 7-speed automatic transmission from a 2011 Infiniti QX. Infiniti donated the rest of the vehicle to Tennessee Tech for continued use in their automotive curriculum.

The assignment, supervised by school instructors, was to not only remove the engine but to determine how to make it work outside the vehicle, using components such as the starter and electronic control unit, as well as removing extraneous systems, such as the power steering pump, which aren't needed to power a boat. And, given the complex nature of today's advanced engine electronics, controllers, processors and emissions systems, engineers at the manufacturing facility in Decherd, Tenn. – where the Infiniti QX56 engine is built – lent a considerable amount of time and knowledge to making sure the engine performs as well on water as it does on terra firma.

"It's great to involve students from the local community in this project, especially since Infiniti QX engines are manufactured in nearby Decherd, Tennessee," added Poore. "It's our hope that someday students in these automotive programs who will learn from the Infiniti QX we donated to the Technical Center will go on to work at our company or Infiniti retailers' service departments."

With the engine removal completed, the Infiniti QX-powered luxury boat project is now being prepped to debut by next boating season. Project updates, with teaser photos, will be provided along the way at facebook.com/infiniti and twitter.com/infinitinews. Fans and followers of these sites will soon also have an opportunity to name the Infiniti-powered boat.


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  • 17 Comments
      natron3030
      • 3 Years Ago
      QX56 is such a disgusting pig of a vehicle.
        Nemebean
        • 3 Years Ago
        @natron3030
        Agreed, and that weird roofline makes it look like it's sagging under its own weight. I've been seeing a surprising number of them around though, so there must be some redeeming feature (or a lot of people with no taste ;-).
        ericluvsgiraffes
        • 3 Years Ago
        @natron3030
        I second that. My instant reaction was "ughhhhh!" the first time I saw it. Nothing's changed.
      John
      • 3 Years Ago
      Oh yeah Lexus those headers won't work in a boat. Same goes for your induction system. Neither are any where close to meeting Coast Guard regulations which that project will need to meet before getting a registration/safety number.
        Mike K
        • 3 Years Ago
        @John
        The entire top end is going to have to be custom made, and will probably cost a ton of money. They should of just pulled an LS1 from a wrecked vette, and gotten a Mercruiser 350 MAG rebuild kit, and a bravo III and been done with it.
        Craig
        • 3 Years Ago
        @John
        This is an Infiniti project, not Lexus. Infiniti is the luxury make to Nissan, as Lexus is to Toyota. Anyway, Lexus already has marine specific headers that are Coast Guard approved, they did this in the late 90's for the 1UZFE. Infiniti needs to do the same for this motor, you act as if a water jacketed marine exhaust is some kind of engineering marvel.
      John
      • 3 Years Ago
      OMG to funny like Mercruiser doesn't use what were car engines for their power systems. Lexus is just trying to make a name for itself in an area it has zero experience with. Good luck getting 400 hp at the shaft without extensive mods which Lexus has no experience with when it comes to a marine application. I bet on a shaft dyno after installing it in the hull and in ready to go it gets about 300 at the shaft if that. Oh yeah 400 Hp is NOTHING new in marine applications Lexus get a grip stick with your bloat mobiles. http://www.mercurymarine.com/engines/inboards/sterndrives/engines.php
        Craig
        • 3 Years Ago
        @John
        Are you saying variable valve timing is not valuable in a marine application? I have VVT in my boat and the flexibility of wider RPM range and fuel efficiency over the Mercruiser pushrod options has saved me thousands in fuel costs over the 12 years I have had it.
      JJRFordGuy
      • 3 Years Ago
      It's a jap company...who gives a cr*p!
      Jill Levy
      • 3 Years Ago
      I just paid $22.87 for an iPad2-64GB and my girlfriend loves her Panasonic Lumix GF 1 Camera that we got for $38.76 there arriving tomorrow by UPS. I will never pay such expensive retail prices in stores again. Especially when I also sold a 40 inch LED TV to my boss for $675 which only cost me $62.81 to buy. Here is the website we use to get it all from, BidsOut.com
      mas raden
      • 3 Years Ago
      infiniti is a famous car brand that every tahunberkonstribusi with the latest creations and innovations. . I like this
      Jake S
      • 3 Years Ago
      "and is in fact supplying a Bose audio system" Sigh. You had me until Bose.
      Dwight Bynum Jr.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Given Infiniti's progressive designs lately... could that boat design (in the rendering) be any LESS inspired?!
      Mike K
      • 3 Years Ago
      I mean this is cool and everything, but fitting modern engines to maritime applications is nothing new. MerCruiser and Volvo Penta inboards have been powered by LSx internals for quite some time now. The biggest challenge is going to be electrical, and cooling. They're also going to run into difficulties fitting an off the shelf outdrive to the engine. Lots of custom fab work ahead. Good luck.
        Joe
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Mike K
        Actually cooling will be easy. They can just use an off the shelf heat exchanger to run the coolant through. There's never a shortage of cool water on a boat to transfer the heat to.
      turbomonkey2k
      • 3 Years Ago
      Miles don't really trade for knots. MPH on the other hand will trade for knots at a rate of approximately 1.15 MPH per knot. Just sayin'.
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