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.

Infiniti first showed the Q50 Eau Rouge at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show in January, where it did not have an engine – literally. Nothing was housed beneath its striking red hood. Naturally, this puzzled us, especially considering Infiniti boss Johan de Nysschen's statement that he "insists" the car be put into production.

But as it turns out, the Q50 Eau Rouge wasn't necessarily destined to be the "Infiniti GT-R" we have been hearing about for so long. In fact, several options were explored before the final decision to use the Nissan supercar's engine was even made. So following the Eau Rouge's second coming in Geneva, we talked to Infiniti's senior communications manger, Kyle Bazemore, who shed some interesting light on what almost was.
Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge photos

"We could have chosen other Infiniti engines – the 5.0- and 5.6-liter V8 engines for instance – or one from our Alliance partners," Bazemore told Autoblog. In fact, considering Infiniti parent company Renault-Nissan's partnership with Daimler, it stands to reason that even Mercedes-Benz (read: AMG) could have provided the beating heart for the Eau Rouge.

"We even looked at developing a high-power sports diesel..."

What's more, Infiniti actually explored alternative-fuel powertrains for use in the Eau Rouge. "Our engineering and product planning teams looked at other solutions, such as versions of our V6 engines, and we even looked at developing a high-power sports diesel, then we narrowed it down according to size, weight, packaging, flexibility and how the powertrain package could be 'Infinitized' for the Q50 experience," Bazemore said. "At one point, we looked at hybrid tuning, where the batteries, electric motor and charging equipment were all uprated to provide significant clean power in the form of an 'electric supercharger.'"

Even then, when the decision came to use the GT-R engine, it wasn't just a plug-and-play exercise.
"It's been mapped to feel like an Infiniti," Bazemore said, "which is to say it feels like a premium sedan engine should, has Infiniti air intakes and swirl pots, and is connected to an Infiniti seven-speed transmission."

Indeed, the version of the GT-R engine used in the Eau Rouge is said to produce 560 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque – a gain of 15 hp and a loss of 20 lb-ft versus the Nissan – though it uses the same all-wheel-drive system as the Japanese supercar. Bazemore sums it up, "After everything was considered, the GT-R engine – as a basis with modifications to make it appropriate for an Infiniti – was the clear solution for the Eau Rouge concept car. And ultimately, completely, amazingly fantastical."

Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge concept

Right now, Bazemore tells Autoblog that the Eau Rouge, named after the famous corner at the Circuit de Spa, "provides a glimpse into our vision for high-performance vehicles. It takes the basic design features of the Q50 sports sedan, but combines it with the spirit of Formula One, in which Infiniti is (obviously) involved." In fact, several of the sedan's design elements – specifically the front wing, rear aero packaging and rear foglight – are said to mimic the Red Bull RB9 racecar.

Should the Q50 Eau Rouge get the production nod, pricing will be key.

It all looks ready to go, and despite de Nysschen's insistence that the car be green-lit, Bazemore insists that the concept "is just that, a concept for now."

Should the Q50 Eau Rouge get the production nod, pricing will be key. For the model to compete with sport sedans like the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG or BMW M3, it would likely need to carry a price tag under $75,000. And even if the Eau Rouge were to go up against heavyweights like the Mercedes E63 AMG or BMW M5, base pricing would realistically have to fall between $90,000 and $100,000. But consider that a brand-new 2015 GT-R starts at just under $102,000 – would it make sense for the four-door, presumably more luxurious (and functional) model to retail for less money?

All that will have to be worked out, and for the moment, there are still no definite plans to build the Eau Rouge. What do you think: should Infiniti build it? And would you have preferred a different powertrain to the GT-R setup? Have your say in Comments.


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  • 56 Comments
      Gearhead
      • 9 Months Ago
      Priority 1 is getting this thing to steer properly. I test drove a Q50 and the drive by wire system is a science fair project that makes the it steer like a game controller.
      Gregory Jones
      • 9 Months Ago
      This could or should be the bargain high performance compact Infiniti. $72k-$77k since the size and body is essentially a Q50 therefore this would compete with Mercedes Benz C63/C65, BMW M3, Audi S4 or Lexus ISF if that one continues. And yes horsepower needs to be 550-560 HP with all-wheel-drive for off the line and cornering traction at each wheel. The GTR engine is the preferred powertrain the way I see it.
      James Mackintosh
      • 9 Months Ago
      It'll be too expensive. They should just put the 5.6L in there.
        Rr778
        • 9 Months Ago
        @James Mackintosh
        Your probably right BMW gave up on hand built in this class and Infiniti probably won't be able to make the margins
      icemilkcoffee
      • 9 Months Ago
      They should offer it for $75k, with the GT-R drivetrain. Let's face it- the GT-R is run its course already. The tooling is already paid for. Why not put that to good use?
        pavsterrocks
        • 9 Months Ago
        @icemilkcoffee
        If that was the case the should lower the price of the GTR first.
        Eskimo
        • 9 Months Ago
        @icemilkcoffee
        As a current G37x sedan owner, they should offer the GTR drivetrain/suspension/brakes as a $15k "IPL" option to be added to the cost to the base Q50...AND, you should be able to order this IPS package as a stand alone option. Remember, the GTR launched with a $63k dealer invoice in 2009. If Infinit charges more than $15k for this option, this car will be a sale failure like the GTR. I LOVE the GTR, and can afford a $100k+ car, but I REFUSE to pay $110k for a $70k car.
          UconnHuskies22
          • 9 Months Ago
          @Eskimo
          I agree Infiniti needs an IPL option for the Q50 to compete with the M3, C63, IS-F, and the forthcoming ATS-V. However pricing the IPL as you demand is not feasible. There is way more tech than $15k to put that drivetrain into the Q50, and none of the competitors offer this. By your logic, I should be able to walk into a BMW dealer, and check off a box on a base 320i stickering for $32k to get the m3 engine for $15k. Essentially, I'm paying $47k for a m3. Infiniti needs an IPL, however it should be a standalone model like the M's and AMG's.
          Chris O.
          • 9 Months Ago
          @Eskimo
          Also, the drivetrain/suspension/brakes make up a lot more of the R35's price than the $15k you want to spend on a Q50 option. A fully dressed VR38, plus a GR6 will run you $25k+. The brakes are cheap, either (nor are they very expensive). Aside from that, I not sure that the PM platform suspension pieces would work on an FM platform...
          carguy1701
          • 9 Months Ago
          @Eskimo
          Chris: FM and PM are conceptually related (the former sired the latter), but yeah, I doubt there is any actual parts interchange. Rob: The fact that you still think a GT-R powertrain option for the Q50 would only be a 15k option over base is proof you are a deluded fruitcake.
          chanonissan
          • 9 Months Ago
          @Eskimo
          carguy1701 you maybe right I get info nissan is working on a 3.7 turbo engine that can push the same numbers but it will have DI and also a 3.0 l Di turbo.
        mitytitywhitey
        • 9 Months Ago
        @icemilkcoffee
        This about sums it up.
      Dfelix70
      • 9 Months Ago
      Doesn't really make much sense to me. All of you saying that it needs to go into production won't come within spitting distance of buying it anyway. Why put your high-performance car in the middle of your model range to be the pole-carrier for the brand? Well, really, it's at the bottom of the model range. Similar to what Lexus did with the IS-F, it did little to help the brand at the time when the rest of the lineup was pretty tame/lame. Infiniti needs to put their time and money into creating a true flagship or a couple of true flagships for the brand, i.e., a true Infiniti GT-R and/or a true S-Class/LS fighter. In many ways, the G37/Q50 is defining Infiniti, and I don't think that's a good thing.
        GVIrish
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Dfelix70
        I don't think Infiniti needs to spend the coin on developing a full on supercar to fly the performance banner for their brand at all. Look at BMW, they haven't really had one since the M1 but they're considered the standard when it comes to sport and luxury. The M3 has successfully filled the role of BMW halo car for 25 years. With the GTR engine under the hood and the requisite handling, braking, chassis and interior upgrades the Eau Rouge Q50 could be just as good or better than the M3. Infiniti certainly needs some competent sedan models above the Q50, that is beyond question. But I for right now this high performance Q50 could do wonders for their brand image.
          Dfelix70
          • 9 Months Ago
          @GVIrish
          You cannot compare BMW to Infiniti. Firstly, BMW has decades of heritage both globally and domestically (US). They've had cars like the M1, Z8, 8 Series, to carry their torch at various points in the past. They've also always had the 7 Series flagship. They've also had the M5. And they now have the M6 GC and Coupe. Infiniti has only had the failed Q45. BIG difference. And, let's not forget that what probably already hurt them was bringing the GT-R over as a Nissan.
      Veinticuatro Kilates
      • 9 Months Ago
      They should build it with the GTR engine and keep it around $80K...this will not affect the GTR sales too much as the GTR is more hardcore and is aimed at quick laptimes, not luxury...would love to own one of these !!!
        Eskimo
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Veinticuatro Kilates
        $80k is WAY too much. A $80k Q50 is a joke. Frankly, the current GTR prices are ridiculous and that's why they can't sell them.
          Bernard
          • 9 Months Ago
          @Eskimo
          The GT-R just needs better styling. Regardless, who knows what Nissans actual sales goals for the GT-R are?
          Chris O.
          • 9 Months Ago
          @Eskimo
          @JA Smith: Boring to drive? I've never thought so... perhaps you're doing it wrong.
          J.A. Smith
          • 9 Months Ago
          @Eskimo
          $80k is too much for 561 bhp? Are you joking? That would be an insanely good deal. As for GT-Rs, they can't sell them because they're boring to drive. Not because they're overpriced. They're actually priced incredibly well, considering the competition. Pay $100k for a GT-R, or $350k for a Ferrari. The performance will be virtually identical, but the GT-R won't look nearly as good, and all of its computers will take a lot of the fun out of driving it. But no matter how you spin, $100k for a super car is great deal.
      bonehead
      • 9 Months Ago
      perhaps they should have explored a name other than Eau also why is any exploration needed at all. They already have one of the most powerful engines available. Its a no brainer
      Stang70Fastback
      • 9 Months Ago
      Say what you want about the car... that color is fan-*******-tastic.
      Rochester
      • 9 Months Ago
      Yes, of course they should build it. Using this drive-train gives NISSAN incentive for the next-level GTR. Be reminded that INFINTI gave up on using a proper manual transmission in 2014. And their 7AT is really clunky.
        chanonissan
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Rochester
        You have not read the Q50 the reviews, infiniti rework their tranny and it is very smooth, even the engine is much quite, and it was recent review on AB, the G37 might have a clunky tranny but the Q50 have a smooth one.
          Rochester
          • 9 Months Ago
          @chanonissan
          I drove the Q50S. It was about as exciting as sliced white bread. Simply put, without the 6MT, the car is boring. Maybe a DCT would help, but I doubt it.
          chanonissan
          • 9 Months Ago
          @chanonissan
          I have never drive the car but I read MT, AB, and C&D, yes it is not as excited as the lexus to drive to work, but it is excited on a track more than a lexus, that is what MT said, the clunky tranny that what I was addressing, not if it was excited, none of the above journalist said it was clunky.
      mitytitywhitey
      • 9 Months Ago
      Why does Infiniti take so long to come to (what should have been) a blatantly obvious conclusion. I think Infiniti needs to sack whatever group of professional dead-horse-beaters they have running their R&D.
        graphikzking
        • 9 Months Ago
        @mitytitywhitey
        I completely agree, but just to play devil's advocate here, how far did they actually go with the other options? Did they build prototypes and test them like Ford did with the GT (The 150k Ford GT not the mustang)? Ford put the 4.6 liter in there, then supercharged it before finally getting all the measurements done and putting the 5.4 liter motor into it. They knew they were going 5.4 the entire time BUT they wanted to check the balance, performance with lesser motors first. If Infiniti just had R&D and said what are our options 1. Hybrid, 2. Diesel 3. Big V8 4. GTR Engine. Well the obvious one is that they only have 1 decent option. The GTR engine. All the others they would have to either get from another Car company OR develop an entirely new engine for 1 single car. Their 5.0 / 5.6 engine aren't nearly strong enough and all other cars in this class (M3, CTSV, ATSV in the future, C class AMG, RS4) are forced induction so they basically have to also go Forced induction as well.
          mitytitywhitey
          • 9 Months Ago
          @graphikzking
          I agree they probably only did it on paper. I was thinking in terms of time more than cost. The first question that any Infiniti fan had when the GTR came out was 'When will Infiniti get a version?' And the second was 'can it have 4 doors?' Its now years later, and Infiniti actually had to do a study on what to build. Good to cover bases, I guess. But its almost laughable how long Infiniti has ignored the elephant in the room.
      AWD Terror
      • 9 Months Ago
      Yes, it should make it into production. About time a Japanese automaker started offering something to combat the Germans and Americans in the high power luxury line-up.
      Trent
      • 9 Months Ago
      It makes my eyes hurt.
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Trent
        [blocked]
          Trent
          • 9 Months Ago
          I really wanted to like it since the price and performance were a good fit for me. I need 4 doors, I need no more than $40k, I would like 300 plus HP and rear wheel drive was a want but I would be alright if it were front wheel drive if enough others things worked for me like the interior. Sadly I did not care for the interior either. This puts the 2015 Hyundai Genesis back up at the top again for the best interior/exterior/performance/price/rwd needs. I no longer care about a badge but a shitty transmission, road handling or wind noise will have me running for the Germans if they do not get it together with the Genesis. The Q50 has been kicked off the list.
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