A wholly re-imagined corporate naming scheme means that Infiniti's next entry sports sedan will be called the Q50, ending the reign of the G25/35/37 designation that has heretofore marked Infiniti's BMW 3 Series fighter. But is the new name an opportunity for Infiniti to reinvent its reputation, or a mistake that will confuse car shoppers?
Infiniti announced yesterday that it will ditch its alphabet collection of car names -- G, M, EX, FX, JX, and QX -- in favor of simply Q and QX. The former applies to sedans, coupes, and convertibles; the latter is for crossovers and SUVs. A two-digit number signals each vehicle's rank in thebrand hierarchy, so the car line runs from the Q50 sports sedan to the Q70 luxury sedan, while the SUV range will go from QX50 to QX80. Confused yet?
The rechristening begins with the switch to the 2014 Infiniti model year, and the first new product following the naming convention will be the Q50 –otherwise known as G37 replacement. It will be revealed in January at the Detroit auto show, and should go on sale by the middle of 2013. Whereas the G37 was sold as a coupe, convertible, and sedan, the Q50 will be sedan-only, and two-door versions become the Q60.
Our information suggests the revised Infiniti sports sedan will use an updated version of its current 3.7-liter V-6 engine, although there's the potential for a Mercedes-Benz-sourced mill at a later date. (Infiniti and Mercedes have a deal to share powertrains and platforms in the future.) Other upgrades, likely targeting the car's suspension and refinement, will help the Infiniti Q50 keep pace with German rivals like the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes C-Class, and Audi A4/S4. It will most likely adopt Infiniti's new steer-by-wire technology, at least as an option.
An Infiniti Q50 prototype we spied in Germany revealed that the car will grow slightly compared to the current G37 (pictured). A rectangular front grille, swept-back headlights, and a tapered hood dominate the front end; dual exhaust tips, a curved trunk lid, and angled taillights define the rear. A curved, sloping roofline emphasizes the additional length of the 2014 Q50 compared to the G37.
The big unknown is how the name change will affect the new Infiniti models. Will customers recognize that the Q50 is a successor to the G37 sedan, or consider it a brand-new model from the Japanese luxury marque? And will customers understand the hierarchy and differences between all the Q and QX vehicles on display at an Infiniti showroom? Infiniti is confident the name change will only be a positive.
"We concluded that 'Q' captured the inspiration within the next generation of Infiniti models,as well as emphasizing our performance credentials," Infiniti global president Johan de Nysschen said in a statement.
What do you think? How will such a drastic naming adjustment affect Infiniti's fortunes? Will the new Q50 sedan be a fitting replacement for today's Infiniti G, or will it disappoint buyers excited to try the new Q range? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.