Turbo 4 cylinder, diesel planned for Infiniti Q50
DETROIT -- Infiniti will expand the powertrain options on its highest volume sedan to include a turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a clean diesel for Europe.
The luxury brand revealed the plans while introducing the Q50 at the Detroit auto show. Q50 is the name for Infiniti's next-generation G37, the V-6-powered sedan that represents half of the brand's U.S. sales volume.
Johan de Nysschen, president of Infiniti worldwide, said the options will be available in two years. The Q50 goes on sale this summer using the outgoing G's 3.7-liter engine.
De Nysschen said the additions are part of Infiniti's plan to move into spots in the premium market where the brand has been absent.
"You must have diesel available to be a serious member of the premium market," de Nysschen commented during the show. Infiniti is studying whether to offer the diesel in the United States.
The planned turbo four-cylinder engine will come from the Renault-Nissan Alliance's technology partnership with Daimler. Infiniti will receive an engine derived from the engine used in the Mercedes-Benz C class.
Smaller high-performance engines have become a necessity in luxury circles as automakers reach for fuel economy gains without giving up luxury-class acceleration and performance.
De Nysschen said the planned diesel also will come from Daimler and initially will be sold only in Europe.
"We're reflecting on the U.S. market," he said.
De Nysschen, who took over management of Infiniti last summer after running Audi in North America, observed that Infiniti's lack of a clean-diesel engine and a small turbocharged engine has been causing the brand to miss out on two of the most important product segments in the world luxury market.
"We simply lack a vehicle in those segments," he said. "We can't compete with the world's most powerful luxury auto companies on a part-time basis."
The new Q50 represents the slot for Infiniti's highest volume product. The current generation G sedan appeared in the 2007 model year.
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