Infiniti Q80 Inspiration Concept Previews Upcoming Flagship Model

Infiniti is calling its new Q80 Inspiration Concept a "statement of intent," meaning that it signifies a new direction for Nissan's luxury brand. Debuting at the 2014 Paris auto show this week, the Infiniti Q80 Inspiration is a low-slung, large luxury sedan that likely previews a new flagship model for Infiniti.

We previously saw the Q80 Concept's fastback-like rear end and exaggerated surfacing, and now we can see that the front end of the car continues this wind-swept design along with Infiniti's now-signature grille shape that debuted on the Q50 compact luxury sedan. The steeply sloped rear end gives the Q80 Inspiration a dramatic look, and the long, sweeping profile and wedge-shaped front end evoke four-door coupe designs like the Porsche Panamera and Audi A7.

Certain details like the boat-tail tapered rear glass and oversized wheels are unlikely to make it to production, but otherwise this concept is sure to soon beget a similar-looking Infiniti Q80 flagship that will be positioned above the existing Q70 midsize luxury sedan.

Even less likely for production is the Q80 Concept's wild interior, which is accessed through a set of suicide doors that create an extremely wide opening thanks to the car's lack of a B-pillar. The four-seat cockpit is full of Alcantara trim and leather, and all of the various technological displays and controls are invisible until needed, giving the dashboard a sleek, uncluttered look.

The Infiniti Q80 Inspiration Concept's powertrain combines a 450-hp, 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 with a hybrid system for a total of 550 hp. Infiniti says this powertrain, which routes through a nine-speed automatic transmission, previews a new family of engines for the Infiniti lineup, so we would expect to see this new aluminum, direct-injection V-6 propagate to other Infiniti models within the next few years. The hybrid powertrain also pairs with an all-wheel-drive system, and the Q80 achieves approximately 42 mpg despite its high power output.

As it did with the Infiniti Q50, the brand is emphasizing its aggressive approach to semi-autonomous driving technology with the Q80 Inspiration Concept. This concept's set of active safety technologies is meant to involve the driver in the decision process. At lower speeds, the system uses cameras and other sensors to provide "assistance" to the driver; for instance, in a traffic jam, the car would present the driver with either the option to accelerate and overtake or to brake and fall behind the car in front.

Stay tuned for more news about the eventual Infiniti Q80 flagship after the Infiniti Q80 Inspiration Concept's official debut this week in Paris.