What would happen if Infiniti designed a car with the sole intent of pestering Mercedes Benz and BMW performance sedans on their own turf? The Q50 based Eau Rouge concept unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show might be the result. Gizmag was on hand in Detroit to capture the reveal.
With aggressive stylistic details, it’s clear the Eau Rouge would sit comfortably next to the big performance Euro sedans. Although the car is a concept piece it is distinctly premised off Infiniti’s new Q50. However, even though the overall style remains similar to the consumer ready Q50, the only remaining bits left on the Eau Rouge are the front doors and the A-pillar.
Lower and wider, with a more muscular, sculpted demeanor, the Eau Rouge has received a significant carbon fiber body injection. Wider translates into front and rear fenders flared out 20 mm, while up at the waistline, Infiniti hasn’t been shy about shaving out some significantly sharp hip lines. Down at ankle level, new carbon fiber sculpted aero-sections run the distance between the flared arches and 21 inch forged wheels.
Further emphasizing the car’s serious nature, out back there's a big deck lid spoiler and carbon fiber diffuser. The formed diffuser not only houses oversized tailpipes but an F1 styled brake light – an obvious design nod to the concept's F1 influence (Belgium’s Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps “Eau Rouge” corner is one of Formula One’s most famous twisty bits).
Alfonso Albaisa, Infiniti's Executive Design Director, expands on this point: "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.”
Nose on there’s quite a bit of Jaguar going on there, but with the exaggerated air intakes and double air-vented hood, there’s no mistaking the car for a big cat.
The Eau Rouge currently has no defined powerplant, but Infiniti clearly has an idea of what might go under the hood.
"If we built this car I would expect it to feature over 500 hp and 600 lb.ft of torque,” notes 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. I think our engineers have been waiting for a project like this."
Is this a message to the kids at Mercedes and BMW that Infiniti wants to come out and play?
In terms of accessible performance powerplants currently at Infiniti’s disposal, the company could possibly go with a modified Q50 engine, or they could theoretically borrow a Nissan GTR’s 545 hp twin-turbo V6 and stuff that into the Eau Rouge instead. Carry over some of the other Nurburgring proven performance parts from the GTR and Infiniti could have a serious Euro-fighter on its hands.
Inside the red beast resides an layout similar to the Q50 with a few not so subtle differences. A high-grip sports steering wheel next to F1 style paddle-shifters helps deliver the car’s overall performance message, with the only other noticeable difference being the sport seats and what had to be one heck of an expensive designer touch – red-infused carbon fiber detailing formed into the doors and center console.
The Q50 Eau Rouge is only a concept at this stage, but if Infiniti is serious about tackling Euro marques like Mercedes and BMW, then the car night well make it to production. We can only hope.