New Car Review:  2019 Detroit Auto Show

Infiniti QX Inspiration Concept: First Look

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author photo by Colin Ryan January 2019
  • An electric future beckons for Infiniti.
  • The concept reveals a future with a new design language.
  • This concept offers midsize space in a compact footprint.

Now that Infiniti has a new design chief, the Infiniti QX Inspiration Concept heralds a fresh approach to styling, as well as what might be the inevitable move toward alternative methods of propulsion and away from fossil fuels. The new designer is Karim Habib, formerly with BMW (the current 7 Series is his work). This concept, unveiled at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, illustrates the different possibilities (and different demands) that an all-electric drivetrain entails.

Let's start with the basics, what is it?

The QX Inspiration is an all-wheel-drive midsize crossover/SUV that's powered solely by battery. According to Infiniti, this concept "previews the brand's plan to launch a range of high-performance electrified vehicles, which promise an engaging drive and deliver range confidence."

How many miles between recharges?

That term "range confidence" has to suffice until the company comes out with some real figures. But at least it's the opposite of "range anxiety" -- the problem that came with the first wave of modern electric vehicles that might only be able to cover about 70 miles.

So what are these new possibilities?

Although Infiniti calls it a midsize crossover, the QX Inspiration Concept is about 183 inches long, just a couple of inches shorter than a Mercedes-Benz GLC crossover, which is seen as a compact. Having been relieved of the burden of making room for a cumbersome combustion engine, however, this vehicle can have shorter overhangs while still providing the kind of interior space associated with a midsize crossover.

The electric motors (one up front, one at the back) can be set low, with the battery pack located under the floor between them. This left the design team with a lot of freedom to exercise their imaginations. The extremely minimal exterior not only looks striking, it could also help with aerodynamics.

How similar might a production version be?

There are plenty of things about the Infiniti QX Inspiration Concept -- the ultra-futuristic interior design for one, the opposite-opening rear passenger doors for another -- that won't be practical. At least in the short-to-midterm period where an all-electric Infiniti could become a reality. There are mundane, but necessary things to take into account, like how easy and cost-effective it would be to produce, and how safe every aspect will be. But this concept does use the actual electric vehicle (EV) platform that will serve as the foundation for the company's new breed of vehicles.

Infiniti also has plans to build some gasoline/electric hybrids.

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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 QX Inspiration Concept: First Look - Autotrader