Infiniti’s Q Inspiration midsize luxury sedan concept has all the design accents that scream “the future,” but the engine under the hood is rooted in the past.
Nissan’s luxury vehicle division revealed the Q Inspiration Monday at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The car is a stunner, with a Tesla-esque windshield-sunroof hybrid, short hood, and swooped, coupe-like roof line. And even with an onboard computer brimming with all of Nissan’s advanced driver assistance capabilities, it still feels like it’s a “driver’s car” rather than anything meant to inspire a glimpse into our automotive future.
Infiniti says the VC-turbo technology is “the world’s first production ready variable compression ration engine,” which means it combines the speed and performance of a gasoline-powered engine with the efficiency and torque of a diesel or hybrid one. The automaker has also included this VC-turbo engine in its QX50, which goes on sale in later this year.
Tech features include a digital dashboard and new ProPilot autonomous driving technologies, such as autonomous multilane highway driving and intersection auto-navigation. Infiniti says both functions will make it to production in the near future.
But this still feels like a big missed opportunity, especially when Infiniti’s parent company Nissan is leaning so heavily on its mission to bring battery-electric power to the masses with its Leaf EV.
And it’s not like Infiniti hasn’t shown us electric concepts in the past. Last summer, the luxury brand revealed the decidedly retro-looking Prototype 9 electric racecar with the powertrain of a Nissan Leaf. A 148-horsepower electric motor, with 236 pound-feet of torque, and a 30kWh battery, powers the rear wheels through a single-speed transmission. Aside from that, it just looked fun to drive.
The Q Inspiration certainly also looks like a blast on the road, but don’t expect it to serve as a platform for any future mobility efforts. On the bright side, the fact that this thing isn’t an electric or hybrid car probably increases its chances of eventually getting made.