Infiniti is trying to re-establish its performance credentials with cars like the Q60 Red Sport and Q50 Eau Rouge, but so far it hasn't been able to match the Germans for outright driver enjoyment. It's not a production car, but the Project Black S hints at a more aggressive future for hotted-up Infiniti coupes with wild wings and an F1-inspired hybrid powertrain.
Infiniti has a long connection with Formula 1, having sponsored Red Bull Racing before joining parent company Renault as a technical partner this year. The brand is cashing in on that connection with the Project Black S concept car, which explores how the high-rate discharge batteries and energy-harvesting technology used in the current hybrid F1 powertrains could be used to cut down on turbo lag and increase power. Infiniti says the tech could free up 25 percent more power from the turbocharged V6 engine in the Q60.
Although the concept hybrid system adds a bit of weight to the powertrain, a set of 21-inch lightweight wheels go some of the way to shedding the extra pounds. Infiniti is vague on any other lightweight measures that have been taken, but it does say a production model could also benefit from a more focused chassis and suspension tune, working with sticky tires to improve on the standard Q60 Red Sport.
Beside the experimental engine technology, the Project Black S is also a test-bed for all the wild styling cues Infiniti wasn't willing to fit to the production car. Whereas the Q60 in showrooms is an exercise in subtlety, the concept vehicle is wildly over the top to demonstrate just what can be done with advanced carbon-fiber manufacturing techniques. The deep front splitter, rear diffuser, fenders and bodykit are all made of the lightweight weave, as is the boy-racer wing adorning the trunk.
"Project Black S is a daring and elevated representation of Infiniti's performance DNA," says Alfonso Albaisa, Executive Design Director for Infiniti. "It expresses our desire to create cars that are designed to perform, marrying the potency of a high-performance powertrain with a muscular new design. This project has given us the opportunity to experiment with advanced materials to create a performance-inspired aesthetic that draws on Infiniti's motorsport ties."
It looks mean and purposeful to our eyes, although the big wings won't be to everyone's taste. Then again, that's sort of the point here. Infiniti is using it to gauge interest in a higher-end hot version of the Q60 and, if the public is keen, might even put something closely resembling the Project Black S into production.
The car will be on show in Geneva, where New Atlas is on the ground covering the action.