Infiniti has finally secured a rival to the BMW M4 and AMG C63, with a production version of its Q60 Project Black S Concept set to arrive boasting “one-for-one” F1 hybrid tech.
Nissan’s premium offshoot has been at the super sportscar crossroads before, with 2014’s Q50 Eau Rouge concept revealed as a medium sedan with a Nissan GT-R drivetrain and initially slated for production, only to then be killed off.
Apparently things are different this time, according to Infiniti Cars Australia product planning manager Bernard Michel who explained that a new management set, driven by a former BMW executive, has given this year’s Project Black S Concept the go-ahead.
“Let’s just say under the new regime of management I doubt that [it will be killed],” Michel told MOTOR at the national media launch of the Infiniti Q60 Red Sport in rural Victoria.
“It was under two different sets of management. Roland Krueger who is the CEO now, he comes from BMW, so performance-based cars, and he has an objective, he wants to see these sorts of projects come to life. His endeavour is to continue to build this brand.”
The Project Black S uses a 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 engine combined with a kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) from the Renault Sport F1 team, of which Infiniti is a technical partner. It is touted as being able to boost power by 25 per cent, which on the brand’s 298kW V6 would mean 373kW – just 2kW shy of an AMG C63.
“He [Krueger] is pushing this agenda and he wants to have a fast flagship for the company,” Michel insisted.
“I think there’s a relationship there with F1, we’re the technical partner to them specialising in hybrids, so you basically have all the guys from Japan and they want a one-for-one translation. If you’ve got the potential from a performance perspective to do it, why not?
“CO2 emissions targets are everywhere around the globe, so electric cars, hybrids, that’s the way of the future. If they have got specialised know-how about it, why not use it?”
Asked whether the production version was in an embryonic stage, the product planning manager instead replied: “It is pretty advanced.”
And would Infiniti want a ‘halo’ smack-down entrant as Alfa Romeo has done with the Giulia QV? “I think yeah they’d want it and … they certainly give the brand credence or credentials in that space.”
“You always remember that the biggest market for Infiniti is the US,” he added.
“Ultimately that [a production rival to BMW M4] is what’s on their radar as well, and it is a huge opportunity. They like their performance cars as well.”