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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Infiniti Q80 Inspiration previews a 550-hp hybrid luxury future

 YAHOO AUTOS                   


Infiniti Q80 Inspiration
                       Infiniti Q80 Inspiration

We wrote about the first look at the Infiniti Q80 Inspiration concept last week, and noted how the Hong Kong-based Japanese luxury brand wanted to use the Q80 as a statement of intent in the luxury world. Today, to kick off the Paris Motor Show, Infiniti revealed the full details of the car, and if the styling isn't aggressive enough, the technology under its skin comes with plenty of ambition.

Infiniti says the Q80 Inspiration uses a new 3-liter V-6 paired with twin turbos and a hybrid system that's good for 550 hp, powering all four wheels when needed or the rear two in normal driving. If that sounds like a potential evolution of the current Nissan GT-R's powerplant, it's not a mistake. While Infiniti didn't commit to building this exact engine, it did say the design would spawn a family of future power sources within the next two years.

Infiniti Q80 Inspiration Concept

Infiniti Q80 Inspiration Concept
The interior has been designed to be spare but luxurious, in a bid to declutter the buttons that envelop drivers in current luxury cars. That doesn't mean the Q80 is simple; Infiniti says the Q80 has a host of unspecified driving aids that help the driver decide what to do — but the automaker also says it won't develop fully self-driving vehicles, saying "autonomous driving should empower and
enhance the driving experience, not do the driving."

So far, Infiniti's advancements among luxury buyers have been steady but modest. The Q80 suggests Nissan's luxury division may be poised for a leap — but the test will be how much of the Q80 survives from the Paris Motor Show into production.