This article also appears in
Subscribe now »

The Q Inspiration concept's front grille has fins and no fins, depending on the angle of view. (Infniti)

2018 NAIAS: Infiniti concept conjures a new-tech Q45

The design signature for autonomous technologies and connected vehicles could be a car’s front-end, and that message--delivered in edgy design language--is a centerpiece of the Infiniti Q Inspiration concept sedan.

“We show performance, but not in the traditional way. We’ve removed a lot of the chrome. And when you look at the grille from a front view, you see the fins. But as soon as you move to the side, it becomes invisible,” explained Alfonso Albaisa, Senior Vice President of Global Design for Nissan Motor Co. Ltd.

With its global debut at the 2018 North American International Auto Show, the Q Inspiration foreshadows how designers can get extra creative with a vehicle’s signature front end, especially in a future world centered around self-driving cars.

“This seamless and stunning new design philosophy shows Infiniti artistry in the age of autonomy, connectivity, and breakthrough powertrains,” Albaisa said.

Twenty-nine years ago, Infiniti showed the first Q45, a V8-powered rear-drive luxury car with a large hood and cabin-rearward proportions. When powertrains started to reduce in size--Q Inspiration features Nissan's newly introduced variable-compression-ratio engine--the cab-forward proportion became the trend. Yet another design trend is unfolding as vehicle performance metrics further evolve.

The Q Inspiration conveys its powerful yet elegant message at the front end, the body sides, and the rear-end where the thin and wide taillights use the same advanced reflective technologies as the front headlamps. “And the rear fenders are out very far, showing a new-type of performance sedan,” Albaisa noted.

A full-glass roof invites a look inside the cabin. The floor is essentially flat, and the center console floats as the sedan’s shift-by-wire driving negates the need for mechanical components. For added visual appeal, the cabin’s wood accents have backlighting.

“The Q Inspiration has been liberating for the design team,” said Albaisa, “This is the first manifestation of Infiniti’s new form language for an era of advanced powertrains and future technologies.”

Continue reading »