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Infiniti Q Inspiration Concept: Detroit Auto Show

What Is It?

At its most basic, the Infiniti Q Inspiration Concept is a premium midsize sedan. And it’s almost refreshing that it’s not an all-electric crossover. Then again, it does follow the “4-door coupe” template to the letter. Let’s take a closer look, though, because there are some high-IQ things about the QI.

For example, a new take on good old internal combustion. According to the company, this turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder unit is “the world’s first production-ready” engine with variable compression. Compression is the process that takes place when a piston is moving upward, squeezing the air/fuel mixture before the spark plug ignites it. Infiniti claims a variable compression ratio provides “the torque and efficiency of a hybrid or diesel engine.”

No output or consumption figures have been released yet. For a clearer picture of the importance of variable compression, however, Porsche is also working on it.

Using a 4-cylinder engine rather than a physically larger V6 has an impact on the overall design, reducing the need for a long nose. This allows the cabin to expand while remaining within a midsize footprint. Style-wise, the QI concept signifies a new approach, deploying what Infiniti describes as “straight lines, concise graphics and clean surfaces.”

When talking about the cabin, Infiniti uses the word “minimalist” more times than a minimalist would prefer. Influences here come from residential architecture in Tokyo, with the intention of creating an environment that’s simultaneously modern yet warm.

Naturally, the Q Inspiration has some self-driving functions based on the production system that Infiniti (and parent company Nissan) calls ProPilot. This involves assistance during the dull stuff, like stop/go traffic and taking over the steering when cruising down a freeway lane. It will also lend a virtual hand (and/or foot) when the driver has to take quick, evasive actions.

Will They Ever Sell It?

The company says no. Instead, the Infiniti Q Inspiration Concept does what concept cars are supposed to do, which is show the world what its makers are working on, from design to technology.

Why It’s Important

Infiniti has a relatively new design chief, Karim Habib, who previously worked at BMW. So the Q Inspiration Concept is a statement of intent in some ways. No doubt various styling ideas will find their way into production models, as will the advanced driver aids. And since Infiniti says this innovative engine is ready for prime time, we should expect to see that as well.

See all 2018 Detroit Auto Show articles

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Colin Ryan
Colin Ryan specializes in writing about new cars. But he has also covered trucks, vans, 3-wheelers, even the occasional motorbike. That’s the kind of thing that happens while contributing to the Los Angeles Times, Autotrader, Kelley Blue Book, Popular Mechanics, Variety, Mazda and Lexus customer magazines, as well as many enthusiast sites and publications. He was also a staff writer at BBC Top... Read More

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