It's a matter of when, not if.
It's been over a year since Infiniti revealed its updated Q60 coupe-based Project Black S prototype at the 2018 Paris Motor Show and there's still no production version. Having recently dropped out of Europe and other overseas markets due to slow sales, the carmaker clearly has more pressing concerns. It also discontinued the QX30 SUV. Given the many challenges Infiniti is currently facing, would a high-performance niche coupe really be the right move to make at the moment? Motor Trend recently with Infiniti's vice president of the Americas, Jeff Pope, about the potential future of the Project Black S.
"I think there's absolutely space, as a specialty vehicle in a small volume, that's more of a brand recognition type of model. It'd be great to have a nameplate, being one of 400, 500 or however much volume that would be. That's where I would see the execution of that car. It would be a statement vehicle for us," he said.
Several months ago, we learned Infiniti will supposedly decide on the Project Black S' production future by the end of this year. At the time, Nissan's luxury brand was still trying to determine whether a business case could be made. Infiniti is also currently celebrating its 30th anniversary, so an announcement regarding production of this 563-horsepower coupe would be very much welcomed.
Unlike most traditional performance coupes, the Q60 Project Black S features two energy harvesting systems that store their generated electricity in a 4.4 kWh lithium-ion battery. All of that energy is then used by an electric motor integrated into the rear axle. It also powers the compressor wheels on the VR30 V6 engine's twin turbos. And yes, this is a Formula 1-derived system used on Renault's F1 cars.
Speaking of F1 technology, Pope added he does not see this technology making its way to any of Infiniti's surviving SUVs in the near future, though nothing should be ruled out.
"Right now, I still think what we need to understand is, you can't just take the F1 technology and throw it into a vehicle. It doesn't work that way. But I think if we can get down the road with this, it'll give us insights into what future technologies we can actually use in our vehicles. I think that's an exciting question," Pope explained.