Details hint concept is likely to be OK'd
Infiniti gets engine-specific on Q50

Infiniti gets engine-specific on Q50

Details hint concept is likely to be OK'd

Q50 Eau Rouge: Moving closer to production?
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GENEVA -- Infiniti raised production expectation for its two-month-old Q50 Eau Rouge concept sports car here last week by identifying the specific engine it would receive.

Johan de Nysschen, Infiniti's worldwide president, says the car -- which has not been approved for production -- would get a twin-turbo 3.8-liter V-6 engine that promises 560 hp and 0-to-60 acceleration in under four seconds.

Infiniti's parent, Nissan Motor Corp., uses a 3.8-liter V-6 to power the Nissan GT-R sports car. The GT-R version reaches 545 hp. So Infiniti is proposing even higher output.

The escalating discussion follows by barely eight weeks the unveiling in Detroit of the Q50 Eau Rouge as a Formula One racing-inspired variant of Infiniti's Q50 sedan. Officials in Geneva last week referred to the concept car as the predecessor of Infiniti's future performance flagship.

The Q50 itself was introduced last summer as a replacement for the entry-level G37 sedan, although the two models are now temporarily selling side by side.

The rapid progress from Detroit auto show concept car to a realistic product proposal with a specified engine reflects the new sense of urgency at Infiniti under de Nysschen. The former Audi chief wants to remake the luxury line into a performance brand worthy of head-to-head competition with the biggest luxury marques of Germany.

But whether Infiniti and Nissan will have enough factory capacity for the twin-turbo V-6s to suit both brands remains to be seen.

GT-R sales already are limited worldwide because of the engine's limited production in Yokohama, Japan. Only four master craftsmen --called takumi in Japanese -- build every GT-R engine by hand.

The Yokohama engine-builders are now attempting to train additional takumi to keep up with growing demand for the Nissan sports car. But officials in Yokohama say the training is a slow process.

You can reach Lindsay Chappell at lchappell@crain.com.


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