We take our shot at improving the Infiniti lineup.
We recently took a look at what BMW should do in order to improve its lineup. Basically, it boiled down to building an 8 Series and a mid-engined supercar as well as killing off the ugly 5 and 3 Series Gran Turismos. Now we are going to take a shot at fixing Infiniti's jumbled mess of a lineup and see if we can turn it into a winner. We will begin by talking about performance. This has been an Achilles heel for Infiniti when as it tries to best its German rivals. Hell, it's even become an issue regarding Lexus.
When the company that used to make your grandmother's car is now stuffing a V8 into not one, but two hardcore F Sport cars, you should realize that making a high-performance model is important. Infiniti models have always been a rather good value when equipped with the old, but powerful, 3.7-liter 328-horsepower V6. The reason why this engine was such a good value is that the old G37 cost around the same amount of money as the much less powerful Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, and Mercedes C-Class with four-cylinder turbocharged engines. Even when the G37 was replaced by the Q50, Infiniti continued to offer the 3.7-liter V6 with higher horsepower numbers than its German and Japanese competitors.
While this formula worked out OK for Infiniti, it didn't do much to solidify the brand as an innovator that was even on the same level of prestige as Lexus or any of the top German brands. Now Infiniti has finally decided to ditch the old VQ series engine for a line of turbocharged units. The new 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 will be offered in 300 and 400 horsepower variations. A 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo will act as the base engine and do a better job of aligning Infiniti's lineup to that of the competition. A 400 horsepower Infiniti is definitely a step in the right direction, but we feel that they still have one step left to take. According to Infiniti's website, it will still sell the old Q60 IPL in the convertible version. This is the only IPL model that is currently offered.
This is not very good for a performance division that was meant to tackle the likes of BMW's M and Mercedes' AMG. If Nissan wants anyone to take the IPL badge seriously, it should build some seriously sporty cars. Listen to us, Nissan: "If you build it, they will buy it!" The Q50 Eau Rouge Concept was supposed to be the insane model from Infiniti that enthusiasts had dreamed about. However even that fell to the wayside. Now that that the new lineup will feature turbocharged engines, the IPL division may actually have something to add to the cars, other than more aggressive body kits, new alloy wheels, re-tuned suspension, and a few minor engine upgrades for a handful more horsepower. IPL can actually be cool!
By taking the new VR30 V6 and tuning it to between 450 and 600 horsepower, the IPL division could easily create a range of models to compete with M cars and AMG models of all sizes. The next issue is changing up the models that these engines go in. The upcoming Q60 coupe and its sedan counterpart the Q50 should be great with the new engines. However, the rest of the lineup is looking very outdated. The Q70 and the entire SUV range are simply renamed carryovers from the model range before the naming scheme change took place. We, like many consumers, are still getting used to the Infiniti naming scheme. However, we think that the scheme could work with some help from the engineering department.
In our Infiniti dream lineup, the naming on the two door cars would be even numbers, and the sedans would be odd (with regard to the first number). A Q20 coupe and convertible should slot below the Q60. This car could be based on the upcoming Nissan Z car and be powered by the new four-cylinder engine. The Q50 would remain as the 3 Series-fighter, but the Q70 would be redesigned and a range-topping Q90 would be created to battle the new S-Class. On the SUV side, the QX50 and QX70 would be redesigned based on the Q50 and Q70 sedans respectively. These models would be in direct competition with the BMW X3 and X5. The QX80 would be renamed the QX90, and compete with large SUVs like those offered by Range Rover.
With the name change on the SUVs, Infiniti would be able to create "coupe" versions like the X4 and X6. Finally, we would offer IPL models on the Q50, and Q60 with around 500 horsepower. The Q20 coupe would also be offered with around 350 horsepower in IPL guise. The Q70 IPL would feature around 600 horsepower, and the QX70 and QX90 could be offered with similar power. Finally, if the IPL division really wanted to be taken seriously it should build a sports car to fight the Mercedes-AMG GT S. With a new GT-R currently in development, it would not be that hard for Infiniti engineers to use the hybrid drivetrain as a stepping stone for a flagship car that we will tentatively call the Skyline IPL, because why the hell not?
Hey, its a better name than Eau Rouge. But what do we know? Do you think we are crazy? Or do you think that our plan for Infiniti might actually work?