At the reveal of the Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge concept at the 2014 Detroit auto show, Infiniti global boss Johan De Nyschenn posed a question: can Infiniti survive as a premium aspirational brand without a high-performance model? The answer was a resounding “no,” as de Nysschen said he “insists” the 500+ horsepower Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge will go into production.
What remains to be seen is how those 500-plus horsepower will be produced in this F1-inspired Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge. De Nysschen suggested two possible options: either a naturally-aspirated V-8 or a twin-turbo V-6 based on the standard Q50’s 3.7-liter unit. He also hinted at the possibility of a manual transmission, surprising considering that the standard Infiniti Q50 is only offered with a seven-speed automatic transmission. De Nysschen also said the Infiniti team had “a lot of work to do” in order to beef up the standard car’s chassis and drivetrain to handle the extra horsepower and live up to the Infiniti brand’s performance reputation.
In terms of the future of Infiniti, de Nysschen cited strong results for the end of 2013—both November and December were record-breaking months for the brand in the U.S.—and confirmed that the Infiniti lineup will be expanding to include a Q30 compact, a flagship luxury sedan, and a halo model. With a new production location to be built in China later this year to account for the growing luxury market there, de Nysschen made the bold claim that Infiniti would sell 500,000 units worldwide by 2020.
Stay tuned for more Infiniti news to come over the next few months as the brand attempts to bump up its presence in the luxury market. In the meantime, check out some photos of the Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge concept and its eye-popping red paint from the show floor at the 2014 Detroit auto show.