Automotive

Published on November 5th, 2019 | by Subhash Nair

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INFINITI Refocuses itself for Future and Teases their QX55

In the premium segment, some brands are clearly doing better than others. Unfortunately, despite some rather decent products, INFINITI has had a bit of a rough patch, pulling out of Europe and losing lead designer Karim Habib to Kia.

But here at the end of 2019, the company seems to be getting its focus back. Just today, they issued a whole swarth of press releases pertaining to the company’s past, electrification plans, design evolution and its upcoming QX55 SUV.

Past

INFINITI took some time to highlight its milestones over the last 30 years, as the company is turning 30 this month.

Here’s what was mentioned:

  • Its beginnings with the Horizon Task Force in Japan
  • its first fully-active suspension in 1989
  • RearView Mirror/back-up camera in 2001
  • Lane Departure Warning in 2005
  • Around View Monitor in 2007
  • Variable compression ratio engine in 2018

Electrification Plans

INFINITI will deploy two powertrains per platform:

  • e-AWD with 2 motors (one per axle) and a large battery pack between them
  • ‘Gas-generated EV’. Essentially an electric vehicle with a smaller battery and a petrol VC-turbo engine as a generator to charge that battery

Design Evolution

Here’s what the press release say about this:

INFINITI design will adopt a new form language for the era of electrification. Dubbed ‘powerful serenity’, this will manifest itself in cars that look progressive, serene and powerful, embodying electrified performance. The result is an incredibly expressive design, with expansive, muscular surfaces and clear, concise lines inspired by origami, the Japanese art of paper folding.

Unshackled from the need to accommodate an internal combustion engine as the principal means of propulsion, the physical proportions of future INFINITI vehicles can be transformed. Engineers have more freedom configuring the mechanical layout of the car, with motor-driven wheels eliminating the need for drive shafts that intrude on cabin space in a conventional car.

The era of electrification will therefore enable INFINITI designers to adapt the proportions of future vehicles and create more spacious, lounge-like cabins. The brand’s new ‘powerful serenity’ form language will give these cars a memorable visual identity – inside and out.

As vehicle proportions evolve, so too will the design details. Signaling the nature of new electric or electrified powertrains, INFINITI is adopting a new ‘Powerful Serenity’ form language for the era of electrification. Inspired by recent concepts such as the QX Inspiration and Qs Inspiration, future INFINITI models will look as progressive, seamless and powerful as their electrified powertrains. This form language will be infused with Japanese DNA, drawing upon the culture and modern architecture of INFINITI’s home country.

The brand’s designers took inspiration from the Japanese spatial concept of ‘Ma’, described as an emptiness full of possibilities, potential and anticipation. Applied to INFINITI’s upcoming electric vehicles, designs will emphasize the smooth, muscular spaces between the sharp, sheer lines of the bodywork, building visual anticipation for the electrified performance within. What happens between these lines is truly expressive; empty spaces which carry the loudest message. Utilizing the ‘Ma’ philosophy will ensure all future INFINITI cars feature svelte, graceful and uncluttered designs. Further Japanese influences will include body surfaces and creases inspired by origami, the Japanese art of folding paper, and technical ‘kimono fold’ patterns, inspired by the straight lines that typify modern Japanese architecture.

This form language serves a practical purpose, too. With no cool air required to cool an engine, future INFINITI models will do away with traditional air intakes at the front of the car. Instead, cars will display the outline of a grille, proudly bearing the company’s logo, while air will be channeled around the body for aerodynamic efficiency, essential for helping to preserve battery life and increasing range.

Opening the doors on INFINITI’s most recent concept cars reveals the packaging benefits brought by electrified powertrains. With less space required for engines, and the flat packaging of a battery pack beneath the floor, INFINITI will be able to create larger, more spacious cabins – lounge-like interiors which provide more passenger space and comfort.

INFINITI has always sought to create interior spaces that enhance the driving experience, while cossetting passengers. The brand’s recent Qs Inspiration and QX Inspiration concept cars have shown the potential for this approach in future, with beautiful, handcrafted interiors. Spacious and comfortable for occupants, they remain focused on connecting drivers to the car and road ahead, empowering them with a clear view and a powerful, serene driving experience.

QX55 SUV Preview

The car was initially teased at the 2019 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance back in August. Back then, this was the only image shown:

Now, we have this:

Those guys at INFINITI sure know how to tease, don’t they? No further details were released, but they promised more before the car’s 2020 launch.


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