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Auto Show:  2014 Detroit Auto Show

Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge Concept: Detroit Auto Show

author photo by Colin Ryan January 2014

What Is It?

The Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge Concept is an Infiniti Q50 sedan that's been substantially revised with Formula One-inspired upgrades. That's according to Infiniti, which notes that the brightly colored concept sedan is "infused with the enticing spirit of Formula One."

So what does that mean? Well, first and foremost, the Q50 Eau Rouge boasts an entirely different look than the production-ready Q50 sedan. There are large alloy wheels, a body kit designed to bring the car closer to the ground, dual rear exhausts and a host of carbon fiber accessories ranging from the mirrors to the roof. In fact, the Q50 Eau Rouge boasts so many unique body panels that Infiniti says only the doors and the roof pillars are shared with the production car.

Inside, the Q50 Eau Rouge also boasts a long list of upgrades from the workaday Q50. There's a lot of red stitching, a thicker steering wheel for better grip, heavily bolstered seats for better support in turns and a huge amount of suedelike Alcantara throughout the cabin. The Q50 Eau Rouge also boasts numerous red accents located everywhere from the steering wheel to the center console.

Of course, the most important part of a performance car is what's under the hood, and for now, Infiniti is keeping quiet on that subject. The brand's global boss Johan de Nysschen says that if Infiniti built the car, it could feature "over 500 horsepower and 600 lb-ft of torque." But de Nysschen didn't elaborate on the engine's size or even whether such power would come from a V6, like the standard Q50, or a more potent engine such as a V8 or a V10.

Will They Ever Sell It?

Most of Infiniti's rivals offer cars in this segment (think Audi S6, BMW M5, Cadillac CTS-V and Mercedes E63 AMG), so the idea of Infiniti creating a similar vehicle isn't out of the question. But it would take considerable development time, since we find it unlikely that Infiniti could easily extract 500 hp from its 3.7-liter V6. It would also face tough competition, since buyers tend to be highly loyal to their performance sedans of choice.

Why It's Important

While the Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge Concept likely won't see the light of day in its current form, it shows us that Infiniti has its sights set on rivaling high-performance models like BMW M and Mercedes AMG -- a segment where it's never competed before. The Q50 Eau Rouge may just be an example of Infiniti trying to tie its road cars together with its Formula One racing team. But it might also show that the brand is serious about dialing up performance and fighting established models from high-end brands with loyal shoppers.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge Concept: Detroit Auto Show - Autotrader