Eau Rouge is a notoriously difficult turn at Belgium's Spa-Francorchamps Circuit that is capable of striking fear into the hearts of the most hardened driver. Naming a car after something so terrifying, therefore, strikes us as a rather poor idea.
"If we built this car I would expect it to feature over 500 horsepower and 600 pound-feet of torque."
But Infiniti has done just that, capitalizing on the sponsorship link it maintains with the Red Bull Racing Formula One team, and launching a new concept at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show based on the new Q50 sedan. It's called the Q50 Eau Rouge and Infiniti claims it's "infused with the enticing spirit of Formula One."
While this Q50 might have as much to do with F1 as this website does with the life and times of Paris Hilton, there's little arguing that the Eau Rouge presents a very interesting concept - a high-performance Infiniti. The brand's efforts in this realm have been limited to the Infiniti Performance Line, which was featured on the old G37 Coupe. With the Q50 Eau Rouge, the brand looks to (finally) be aiming for the BMW Ms, Mercedes-Benz AMGs and Cadillac Vs of the world.
"If we built this car I would expect it to feature over 500 horsepower and 600 pound-feet of torque," said Johan de Nysschen, president of Infiniti. "The engine we are evaluating for the Q50 Eau Rouge is a big personality, V-cylinder engine with forced induction."
It certainly looks the part of a 500-hp sports sedan. The carbon-fiber body gives the Q50 a business-like look. According to Infiniti, only the front doors and the roof arch are carryovers from the standard sedan, with all the other parts getting crafted specifically for this concept. New front and rear fenders widen the car's stance, while exposed carbon fiber in the front and rear fascias add to the visual impact. The front grille is finished in dark chrome, while a set of hood vents certainly help the menacing front end. 21-inch forged wheels round out the sportier package.
"The design has a number of distinctive Formula One inspired touches. In particular, the sculpted front wing assembly and the rear aerodynamic packaging take their cues from the [Red Bull] RB9 race car. The rear fog light packaging is unmistakably Formula One," said Alfonso Albaisa, Infiniti's executive design director.
"The sculpted front wing assembly and the rear aerodynamic packaging take their cues from the [Red Bull] RB9 race car."
The cabin, meanwhile, gets a similar stylistic treatment. A new, two-tone steering wheel and restyled seats contrast nicely with the red carbon fiber (it doesn't look nearly as tacky as it sounds).
The Q50 Eau Rouge presents an interesting concept, and one that we're hoping Infiniti manages to pull off. With Lexus pushing forward with its F range of performance cars and new BMW Ms and Mercedes AMGs arriving on an alarmingly regular basis, high-performance offerings are an absolute must of the Japanese brand that wants to play with the big boys.
- Q50 Eau Rouge concept provides a glimpse of Infiniti's design prowess for high-performance vehicles
- Exterior features Infiniti Red Bull Racing Formula One design influences
- Q50 Eau Rouge hints at future powerful product line
Detroit / Hong Kong – The Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge, revealed at the 2014 NAIAS Detroit Motor Show, is a concept car that expresses Infiniti's design vision of a high-performance Q50 premium sports sedan.
The Q50 Eau Rouge embodies the arresting design features of the Q50 premium sports sedan – infused with the enticing spirit of Formula One.
Featuring bespoke aerodynamic carbon fiber bodywork, Q50 Eau Rouge is lower and wider, possessing genuine road presence. This striking design is inspired by muscularity, aerodynamics, refinement, and understated power.
"If we built this car I would expect it to feature over 500hp and 600lb/ft of torque. Through our various alliance partners we have access to a range of engines featuring this performance capability which, with a fair amount of engineering effort, can be developed to exhibit Infiniti character and accommodated within the Q50 engine bay. The engine we are evaluating for the Q50 Eau Rouge is a big personality, V-cylinder engine with forced induction.
I think our engineers have been waiting for a project like this," said Johan de Nysschen, President of Infiniti Motor Company Limited.
Hints at powerful intent
The Q50 Eau Rouge was born out of competition at the very pinnacle of motorsport, mirroring components from the successful RB9 race car.
Almost every exterior panel is bespoke to the Q50 Eau Rouge, with only the front doors and the arch of the roof pillars retained as standard components.
Q50 Eau Rouge visibly hunkers down with menace and intent. New front and rear fenders extend the current Q50's already broad-shouldered stance by 20mm, while a larger deck lid spoiler creates air-pressure downforce. All of this dynamic width is wrapped in a tailored coat of customized red paint.
Framing the paintwork across the Q50 Eau Rouge's athletic physique is dark- chrome detailing to replace the chrome bright work of the production Q50, darkening the concept's demeanor dramatically.
Q50's signature double-arch front grille too takes the dark-chrome's matte finish, as do the glasshouse surrounds, door handles and deck lid accents. The curving hood is double air-vented as a further suggestion of the capability and purpose of the Q50 Eau Rouge.
"From our shared passion for performance with Infiniti Red Bull Racing grew a collective desire to produce an ambitious and powerful Infiniti Q50 design study. The overall design creates a feeling of refined muscularity," said Alfonso Albaisa, Infiniti's Executive Design Director.
"The design has a number of distinctive Formula-One inspired touches. In particular, the sculpted front wing assembly and the rear aerodynamic packaging take their cues from the RB9 race car. The rear fog light packaging is unmistakably Formula One.
"The Q50 Eau Rouge is a combination of the seductive lines of the Q50 but with a fiercer design urge in keeping with a high-performance vehicle. The Q50 Eau Rouge is Infiniti to the power of four; like a bull with its shoulder muscles flexed, a bull in Infiniti clothing."
Part of the concept's exterior treatments include lightweight 21-inch forged alloy wheels which fill the wider arches.
Premium interior. Sporting inspiration
Further underlining the sporty character of the design study, the interior was designed to offer command and comfort.
Further precision control is afforded by a high-grip sports steering wheel and Formula One-style paddle-shifters.
Red-infused carbon fiber detailing to the doors and center console complement the exterior style, and dark-chrome again replaces silver-chrome in the red cockpit.
The breadth and depth of capability is self-evident; the Q50 Eau Rouge is a design concept that clearly indicates what Infiniti could achieve if it was to build a performance version of the Q50 sports sedan.
"Performance is a key ingredient of Infiniti vehicles such as the Q50 sports sedan. Our involvement in Formula One provides inspiration and excellence to our designers and engineers. Q50 Eau Rouge provides not only a glimpse of the design language, but also the performance capability of a future special series," de Nysschen added.