From its inception, Infiniti has always been a brand associated with performance and luxury on the road. However, a new partnership between Infiniti and two colleges in Tennessee may soon find that brand on the open water as well.

Infiniti recently announced that the brand would partner with Tennessee Technical Center and Nashville State Community College, both in Nashville, on a project designed to modify an engine from their flagship QX56 full size SUV, and outfit it to a boat. Infiniti wants the boat to exhibit the same standards of luxury, performance, and craftsmanship that are found in their vehicles.

"The genesis for the Infiniti QX-powered luxury boat project came about when a group of us were talking about our full-size SUV's standing as the perfect luxury tow vehicle," said Infiniti Americas Vice President Ben Poore. In addition to the powerful yet fuel efficient QX engine, Poore says the boat will be outfitted with other appointments similar to the SUV, including semi-aniline leather seating, XM satellite radio with NavWeather, a Bose speaker system, and Infiniti's signature analog clock.

Students at Tennessee Tech and Nashville State began the project by removing the 400 horsepower 5.6-liter engine and 7-speed automatic transmission from a 2011 QX56 to prepare them for maritime use. Infiniti donated the rest of the SUV to Tennessee Tech for further use in their automotive curriculum.

Students at both schools were tasked with making the engine work outside the vehicles using the QX starter and electronic control unit. The students had to do away with systems that were unnecessary, such as the power steering pump, which isn't needed on a boat. The students were assisted by engineers from Infiniti's manufacturing plant in Decherd, Tenn., where the QX engine is built.

"It's great to involve students from the local community in this project, especially since Infiniti QX engines are manufactured in nearby Decherd, Tennessee," added Poore. "It's our hope that someday students in these automotive programs who will learn from the Infiniti QX we donated to the Technical Center will go on to work at our company or Infiniti retailers' service departments."

Now that the engine and transmission removal are complete, the Infiniti QX-Powered luxury boat is being prepped for release by the next boating season. Project updates, along with teaser photos, will be provided along the way on Infiniti's Facebook fan page and Twitter feed. Infiniti followers on facebook and twitter will also have an opportunity to name the QX-powered boat in the near future.

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Cliff Turner has been an automotive enthusiast ever since high school, where he developed a passion for cars while working for the local Saturn/Hummer dealership. When he isn't writing, he is busy earning his Juris Doctorate at John Marshall Law School in Atlanta.

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