The curvaceous Infiniti Project Black S coupe is making its world debut at the 2018 Paris Motor Show and comes powered by a hybrid powertrain that borrows heavily from the Japanese luxury brand's association with Formula One racing.
More to the point, the technology and engine know-how lurking beneath the skin of this Infiniti coupe is a collaboration between Infiniti and its corporate parent, the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance. Renault has an especially long and successful history of involvement in F1 racing. With the French brand's vast engineering background as a base for the concept, Infiniti has created a car that hints heavily at future hybrid performance models.
While some enthusiasts might spew lots of virtual ink over whether Infiniti builds a production model to the exact configuration as the Paris concept, it seems clear that the brand's electric plans include a desire to join the same echelons of high-performance sub-brands like Mercedes-AMG and BMW's M.
Having a green-minded sport model is a smart — and probably overdue — marketing move for Infiniti. Under the hood of the Project Black S coupe is a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 coupled to supplemental energy-harvesting units, which Infiniti calls Motor Generator Units.
Strange names notwithstanding, these MGUs have a pretty straightforward job. One works like the regenerative braking system found in many hybrid vehicles: Under deceleration, braking force returns to the car's battery pack to help boost range. Two other MGUs recycle engine heat and translate it to extra power. In total, the new engine and MGU system adds 163 horsepower onto the standard car's 400 hp for a total of 563 hp.
Infiniti says the combination propels the Project Black S coupe to 62 mph in less than 4 seconds. One drawback to this concept's engine wizardry is that it adds extra weight to the car — yet the rear-wheel-drive Project Black S concept tips the scales at 3,915 pounds, or just 53 pounds more than the Q60 Red Sport 400 production coupe. That would have likely been much higher, but Infiniti used lightweight carbon fiber for much of the concept's body, including the hood, roof and fenders. An added benefit is a lower center of gravity, a trait that usually helps handling.
The Project Black S also features larger brakes and larger front grille openings to feed air to the engine, along with hood vents to help heat escape. The most dramatic exterior addition lives in back, where a towering rear wing with a low, F1-inspired aerodynamic profile holds court.
Infiniti has not committed to building the Project Black S, and pushing the price of the Q60 higher could make for a hard sell. What's more important is that the brand announced in January that all of its new vehicles will offer electrified powertrains by 2021, so it's possible that cars similar to this concept are in the works. Whether Infiniti's onslaught of electric powertrains starts with one very rapid sports coupe and a towering wing remains to be seen, however; Infiniti calls the Project Black S coupe a "test bed," similar to its recent single-seat electrified Prototype 10 concept at the 2018 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. Stay tuned.
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