With one of Infiniti's chief goals being to adopt a less US-centric product lineup and burnish its standing on the global stage, Nissan's premium outpost will have to get serious about enhancing its offerings' performance and image credentials if it wants to take on the Germans model for model. It dabbled with the idea when it launched its Infiniti Performance Line (IPL), but its sole emissary to this point, the G37 IPL, offered little in the way of actual enhanced performance, focusing instead
We've known since mid-December that Infiniti's new global model naming convention would turn the current-generation G37 Coupe into the Q60 Coupe starting next year, but we haven't been clear on whether the model-range-formerly-known-as-G would get a successor, especially as its volume has traditionally been a lot lower than its sedan counterpart.
Remember when the price of entry to the "entry-level luxury" space was around $30,000? These days, that's the average price of a new car, nevermind something with premium brand cachet attached. Forgive our rose-colored glasses for a moment, but we've just come across the pricing announcement for the new-for-2013 Infiniti IPL G Convertible and it starts at $60,600, *plus $895 for delivery. (If a fixed head is more your speed, the IPL G Coupe starts at $50,500). That's a whole lot of ducats.
We certainly like the idea behind the Infiniti Performance Line, but execution has left us largely underwhelmed. Instead of an M or AMG fighter, buyers are left with little more than fancy paint and a stiffer suspension. But according to Motor Trend, Infiniti may have something more impressive brewing.
Any luxury automaker worth its burlwood has to have a performance division. BMW has M. Mercedes-Benz has AMG. Audi's Quattro GmbH churns out S and RS models. Lexus has the letter F. Cadillac has V. And Infiniti has IPL.
Running a luxury brand used to be simple. Tart up a few mass-market sedans with leather interiors and power accessories, slap on a big hood ornament, jack the price through the roof, then sit back and watch the gravy train flow. These days it couldn't be more different. You need dedicated luxury platforms and halo cars and marketing tie-ins. And if you really want to be taken seriously among the cognoscenti, you need an in-house performance tuner to craft your own AMG or M-series line of cars.
History and the contemporary automotive market hold no lack of examples of F1 teams translating their checkered flags into road cars. It's practically Ferrari's raison d'être, after all. McLaren's following suit, as well. Even Williams has collaborated with Renault on performance-oriented Clios, and now with Jaguar on the C-X75. But though each of these teams has claimed its share of championships and then some, these days it's Red Bull Racing that's on top. Trouble is – PlayStation
2011 Infiniti IPL G Coupe – Click above for high-res image gallery
2011 Infiniti IPL G Convertible – Click above for high-res image gallery
Infiniti IPL G Convertible Concept – Click above to enlarge image