Infiniti Q80 Inspiration Concept
Having been involved in the development of this project it’s interesting listening to the internet talk surrounding the concept’s launch in Paris. General consensus ranges from being stunned by the scale of the thing (over 5m long) to being impressed by the car but remaining to be convinced by the brand.
It’s true that Infiniti doesn’t have the cachet of the premium German companies, nor the products to challenge them. But remember, Lexus had a similar situation back in 1989 when the LS was launched. That car instantly took the Toyota sub-brand from nothing to a genuine challenger. The fact that since then Lexus hasn’t delivered anything as important is more down to product strategy and design direction, but the truth was that Lexus shocked the premium establishment.
It’s an almost impossible line to tread; design something radical and the Euro sophisticates will shun it for being too flash, too new, too expressive. Play it too traditionally and you’ll never be able to compete with the established brands with years of heritage.
By the time the Q80 gets to production in around 2017 the styling will be less shocking, less avant-garde than it looks at Paris. The suicide doors will probably change and the beautiful clean lines will be criss-crossed with shutlines. Yet the impressive presence will remain. This is the car that will put Infiniti on the map…