23 Sep
Unveiling an ambitious plan for the top end of its luxury line-up

During our visit to Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance last month, our hosts at Infiniti teased us between dinner courses with an enigmatic poster board. The image was of a spot-lit automotive grill, nothing else — the equivalent of showing a flexed bicep to tease the next Dwayne Johnson shoot ‘em up. It revealed absolutely nothing, but let us know to expect something… dramatic. Exciting. And possibly over-the-top.

Today Infiniti revealed what that particular grill belonged to, and like a greased bicep the hint was sound. Infiniti’s new Q80 Inspiration Concept hopes to usher in a new era for the Japanese luxury marque, one that will elevate it from perennial also-rans to actual contender status.

In the past calendar year Infiniti has unveiled two vehicles targeted to churn the waters of public excitement: the compact Q30 Concept and the high-performance Q50 Eau Rouge. While the former aims to be Infiniti’s volume seller, that latter is a Nissan GT-R powered monster, a Godzilla-in-a-Tom-Ford-suit developed in conjunction with four-time Formula One Champion Sebastian Vettel — making performance a priority.

Now, with the Q80 Inspiration Concept, Infiniti is showing off its ambitious plans for the very top end of its luxury line-up. The sprawling executive saloon boasts a sleek fastback profile (one without side-view mirrors), massive 22-inch lightweight alloy rims, acoustic glass and doors that open portal-style to show off its decadently styled interior. Using copious carbon fiber, aluminum and leather, Infiniti describes its highly stylized and personalized cabin as having a social “1 + 1 + 1 + 1″ seating plan. Measuring in at a Brobdingnagian length of 198.9 inches, the flagship vehicle will look to crush its German fastback competition (Audi A7, Mercedes CLS, Porsche Panamera and BMW 6-Series Gran Coupe) with scale and appointments.

Infiniti is using such terms as “category-breaking”, “supreme”, “audacious”, “magnetic” and “elegant” to promote the Q80 Inspiration, and all of the above — although requisite brazen PR talk — aim true. For a marque that has long wavered in dramatic design, and has not hit many aesthetic bulls-eyes (and several failures, including the zero emission LE Concept which has since been shelved), the Q80 Inspiration Concept marks a promising redirection for the brand.

Although still mum on engine options, Infiniti hints that the Inspiration’s powertrain will not only be driver-centric and high-performance, but will also boast efficient hybrid properties — as can be expected from Nissan, the industry leader in electrification. More news, details and images will be had October 2nd when Infiniti officially unveils its Q80 Inspiration Concept at the Parc des Expositions de Versailles in Paris.

“For a marque that has long wavered in dramatic design, the Q80 Inspiration Concept marks a promising redirection for the brand…”

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