At the 2014 Beijing auto show, Infiniti will show footage of the Q50 Eau Rouge prototype being extensively tested at the U.K.’s Millbrook Proving Ground. Predictably, race car driver Sebastien Vettel will be featured behind the wheel of the pre-production high-performance sport sedan, giving Infiniti the expertise and feedback to make the Q50 Eau Rouge a viable contender by the time it hits showrooms.
We first saw the Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge concept at the Detroit auto show earlier this year, and though it looked pretty enough, details on its powertrain were the missing ingredient. By the Geneva show last March we learned that the Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge will use a twin-turbocharged, 3.8-liter V-6 engine based on the unit at work in the Nissan GT-R supercar. The Q50 Eau Rouge will improve upon the base GT-R’s 545 hp with 560 hp in total, although torque will dip down 21 lb-ft to 442 lb-ft. Power is delivered to all four wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox.
As the teaser video shows, Vettel is hard at work pushing the Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge through a series of performance tests. However, we know that the Eau Rouge project faces obstacles beyond precision tuning from Infiniti’s in-house race car driver.
When associate editor David Zenlea spoke with Infiniti global president Johan de Nysschen at the Geneva auto show, de Nysschen let on about some of the engineering obstacles that the project faces. The biggest hurdle, aside from the substantial chassis upgrades needed to handle the Eau Rouge’s extra power, would be finding a suitable transmission—the GT-R’s transaxle simply won’t fit. “There’s a reason it hasn’t been done before—it’s not easy,” says the Infiniti president, who insisted at the Detroit show that the Q50 Eau Rouge go to production. “If Infiniti were a dictatorship, we’d be building it now.”
Infiniti promises it will reveal more details on the Q50 Eau Rouge at the Beijing show.