Mark the date, folks - The brand’s future begins here

With the QX Inspiration, Infiniti becomes the latest company to enter the EV fray. The automaker unveiled the QX Inspiration Concept at the Detroit Auto Show which gives a peak into the brand’s new design language for EVs. Although Infiniti has not revealed any specs yet, it says the QX Inspiration, when launched, will be a high performance production SUV.

The Future Of Infiniti Mobility- Failure To Launch Or Invisible Cars?

In a shocking turn of events, Nissan decided to abandon the launch of the Infiniti QX Inspiration without any explanation.

People could see the technicians working on the car at the official time of the unveiling.

30 minutes later, the company drew the curtains and told the 100-odd people present that they hoped to reschedule it later the launch, rather re-launch, for later in the day. Nevertheless, Nissan too saw the funny side of it and Trevor Hale, head of Infiniti global communications, said in an email. “The Infiniti QX Inspiration, like many stunning beauties, is a bit of a diva and decided to to delay her debut. Another memorable NAIAS moment,” “That’s show business.” Nevertheless, the press event happened without the car making it to the stage.

This SUV Won’t Look Dated Even If Launched 20 Years From Now

2019 Infiniti QX Inspiration Concept - Car from the future or a far-fetched thought?
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The QX Inspiration marks the beginning of a new era for Infiniti. This fully electric midsize SUV is roughly the size of the Infiniti QX50. To speak of the new design, it is the clichéd futuristic look that all automakers associate EVs to. I hope the production model looks more subtle and ‘earthy’.

With that said the SUV looks balanced and well-planted overall and has short overhangs as well.

Infiniti has gone grille-less with the Inspiration Concept that gets a smooth surface with an illuminated logo instead. It measures 4,650 mm in length and rides on 22-inch wheels that fill that the flared, muscular arches well. When viewed from the side, it might remind you of the Range Rover Evoque because of the small, raked rear windshield and a rear spoiler.

"QX Inspiration is the beginning of a new era for INFINITI, and an illustration of where we want to go with the brand. New technology has given us the opportunity to evolve our design philosophy – and this new vehicle communicates the serene strength at our core." said Karim Habib, Infiniti’s Executive Design Director.

The Brand Has Promised It To Be Performance-Oriented

2019 Infiniti QX Inspiration Concept - Car from the future or a far-fetched thought?
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Being an SUV, the QX Inspiration packs the high capacity battery beneath the vehicle floor, feeding power to a pair of electric motors, one for each axle.

This way, the legroom and cargo space does not get compromised, and also ensures a low center of gravity. Since there is no transmission tunnel, the missing floor hump inside the cabin results in a “spacious, lounge-like” interior with a flat floor. Infiniti has not disclosed the power figures yet. However, the company promises the QX Inspiration to be a hoot-and–a-half to drive, as the power delivery from the electric all-wheel-drive system enables “blistering off-the-line acceleration”.

QX Inspiration Inspired By A Rival?

2019 Infiniti QX Inspiration Concept - Car from the future or a far-fetched thought?
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Inside the cabin, the dashboard is dominated by a large screen flowing from pillar to pillar. The rectangular steering wheel also gets a monitor in between. Are these the same folks who worked on the Byton M-Byte’s interiors? Cabin is filled with some unimaginable stuff, like a marble centre console, a red cedar wood roof, white suede floor, and a cloth-wrapped instrument cluster, to name a few. All-in-all, the interior does not belong to, or even remotely relate to any production car being sold currently.

Conclusion

2019 Infiniti QX Inspiration Concept - Car from the future or a far-fetched thought?
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The production version of the QX Inspiration is still a few years away. Seeing the concept, do you think the production SUV will be anything close to this concept? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Further reading

2019 Infiniti QX Inspiration Concept - Car from the future or a far-fetched thought?
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Read our full review on the 2019 Infiniti QX Inspiration Concept.

2018 Infiniti QX50 Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Read our full review on the 2018 Infiniti QX50.

The INFINITI QX Inspiration is a midsize SUV concept previewing the brand’s first fully electric vehicle. As a company with technological and powertrain innovation at its core, electrification is a natural next step for INFINITI. This design study previews the brand’s plan to launch a range of high-performance electrified vehicles that promise an engaging drive and deliver range confidence. The INFINITI lineup of the future will consist of a range of electric, e-POWER and performance hybrid vehicles.

The QX Inspiration concept signals a new era for INFINITI design enabled by technology, with a form language hinting at the potency and character of electrified powertrains. The new concept sets a direct precedent for the company’s first fully electric production car, illustrating how new architectures and technologies are influencing modern INFINITI design. It also draws on the Japanese spatial concept of ’Ma,’ demonstrating how open spaces between lines create tension and build anticipation.

This Japanese DNA continues into the cabin. The interior of QX Inspiration is hand-crafted using traditional techniques and a choice of materials inspired by a subtle Japanese sensuality. The development of new electrified vehicle platforms enables the creation of spacious, lounge-like interiors influenced by omotenashi, the Japanese approach to hospitality. The cabin incorporates technologies to create a welcoming environment while assisting drivers and connecting occupants to the world around them.

Electrification

Previewing INFINITI’s first fully electric vehicle

"The INFINITI QX Inspiration marks the beginning of a new generation of INFINITI cars and establishes a direct blueprint for the brand’s first electric vehicle. Based on a new, dedicated electric vehicle architecture and inspired by INFINITI’s Japanese DNA, the SUV concept previews a product portfolio which will offer high performance, ultra-low emissions and range confidence."

Christian Meunier, President and Chairman, INFINITI Motor Company Ltd.

Electrification: a natural next step for INFINITI

QX Inspiration concept sets a direct precedent for the first fully electric INFINITI model
Future INFINITI models will offer buyers a mix of fully electric, e-POWER and performance hybrid powertrains

The QX Inspiration concept sets a direct precedent for the brand’s first fully electric car: a high-performance SUV offering range confidence. Electrification is a natural next step for the company, and, as a member of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, the industry leader in low- and zero-emission vehicles, a range of ultra-low emissions technology is available to INFINITI.

INFINITI’s future models will offer drivers a mixture of fully electric, e-POWER and performance hybrid vehicles. These powertrains will be matched with dedicated platforms and vehicle architectures, delivering the high performance, range confidence and low environmental impact that buyers are coming to expect from luxury car manufacturers.

"For INFINITI, our powertrain electrification strategy focuses on offering both high performance and range confidence. As the luxury brand within the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, INFINITI can draw on a wide range of ultra-low emissions powertrain technologies to deliver driving pleasure and thrilling performance. We have previously explored this with the Prototype 9 and Prototype 10, and QX Inspiration shows how this philosophy will manifest itself in production: as a powerful electric SUV with a versatile character and luxurious interior."

François Bancon, Vice President, INFINITI

High performance electrified all-wheel drive powertrain

High-performance and range confidence from INFINITI’s future electrified vehicles
QX Inspiration concept hints at the potential for an SUV with a powerful e-AWD system

With the planned electrification of INFINITI’s future product portfolio, the QX Inspiration concept signals the brand’s intention to produce a fully electric midsize SUV, based on an all-new vehicle platform, which could accommodate a powerful electric all-wheel drive (e-AWD) system. The concept’s SUV packaging means the high-capacity battery pack can be located below the vehicle floor, feeding power to a pair of electric motors (one on each axle).

Future INFINITI products promise a power delivery which is instantaneous, with the e-AWD system enabling blistering off-the-line acceleration. Power is distributed intelligently between all four wheels, and the battery’s location ensures a low center of gravity, meaning the QX Inspiration concept inspires confidence in all situations – from high-speed corners to long-distance cruises – and weather conditions.

"Global demand for SUVs continues to grow, as does the number of drivers eager to make the shift to an electrified powertrain. QX Inspiration meets at the intersection of these trends and sets a direct precedent for the launch of a powerful all-electric SUV. INFINITI is a brand built on the idea of technological innovation, and the electrification of our product line-up is a natural next step for us. The QX Inspiration concept signals the direction we plan to take."

Christian Meunier, President and Chairman, INFINITI Motor Company Ltd.
Exterior design

New form language for electrification, based on the principles of modern Japanese design and architecture

"The decision to electrify the INFINITI range was an inflection point for our brand. We started to understand the potential of new architectures and technologies and how they could influence a change in how we design our cars."

Alfonso Albaisa, Senior Vice President for Global Design, Nissan Motor Co.

INFINITI’s new form language

Electrified powertrain technology enables evolution of INFINITI form language
New aesthetic defined by straight lines, clean surfaces and concise graphics, taking hints from Q Inspiration sedan concept and Prototypes 9 and 10

The QX Inspiration concept signals a new era for INFINITI design, influenced by new powertrain technologies and architectures. The form language of the new concept car hints at the potency and character of the brand’s future electrified powertrains.

A reference point for the new SUV concept was the Q Inspiration sedan concept, which signaled INFINITI’s first steps towards establishing a new design language characterized by straight lines, precise forms for functional elements and clean surfaces. More technical in its design than any prior INFINITI, the Q Inspiration sedan combined simplicity with muscularity, inspired by modern powertrain technologies. Now, the QX Inspiration concept takes this further, echoing the sedan concept’s muscular form language while adopting certain details first featured on the Prototype 9 and Prototype 10 design studies.

The QX Inspiration’s form language is characterized by straight lines and sudden creases, finely balanced, smooth surfaces and organic shapes. This contrast gives the QX Inspiration concept a new tonality compared to earlier INFINITI designs, it is muscular, yet composed and less overtly aggressive, yet bold in its details.

"QX Inspiration is the beginning of a new era for INFINITI, and an illustration of where we want to go with the brand. New technology has given us the opportunity to evolve our design philosophy – and this new vehicle communicates the serene strength at our core."

Karim Habib, Executive Design Director, INFINITI

Electrified by design

Proportions of concept hint at the car’s electrified powertrain
Balanced silhouette with a cab-forward stance and aerodynamic lines

"The INFINITI design aesthetic has always been linked to the powertrain. Where a V8 engine might move the interior rearward, electrification has allowed us to the move the interior forward and provides for a balanced profile. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t express a new kind of performance. The power of the electric engine is expressed through the robustness and fullness of the body."

Alfonso Albaisa, Senior Vice President for Global Design, Nissan Motor Co.

The design of the QX Inspiration concept, from its dimensions to its details, hint at the potency and character of INFINITI’s future electrified powertrains.

INFINITI’s earlier SUVs, such as the iconic 2003 FX, have been characterized by their long hoods - a nod to their powerful V8 and V6 internal combustion engines - and a cab-rearward silhouette. The QX Inspiration concept proposes its own uncompromisingly modern silhouette, inspired by its fully electric powertrain. Without the need for a large engine, INFINITI’s designers adapted the proportions to accommodate a more balanced overall shape, a cab-forward design with short front and rear overhangs (855 mm and 945 mm, respectively) and a shorter hood. The concept’s overall length is 4,650 mm.

Locating the powertrain low down in the body and between the axles (2,850 mm apart) enabled INFINITI’s designers to create a bold and powerful lower body, blending its smooth, expansive surfaces with fascinating new proportions. The sleek, long roofline peaks at 1,630 mm in height, at a point directly above the front row of seats, then flows downwards into the car’s aerodynamically efficient Kammback rear.

Without the need for a large front grille to cool an engine, the QX Inspiration concept nonetheless retains shapes that define what would have been an air intake. The smooth surfaces replacing the grille feature an illuminated INFINITI logo, book-ended by channels that divert air over and around the body. A closer look at the thin headlamp strips reveal laser-like etchings, with a highly technical pattern echoed throughout the interior and exterior. The pattern is also featured in the wing-shaped light strip that spreads across the tailgate, adding a clean trailing edge to the rear of the car. Housed within wheelarches clad in contrasting black protective material are 22-inch wheels that feature a similar louvered pattern and an aerodynamic design to divert air along the flanks of the car.

Sitting in the sharply angled D-pillar is a vermilion signature line emboldened with a gold highlight. Surrounding it is a stylish quarterlight, which enhances the cab-forward profile.

Japanese DNA: designers inspired by Japanese design and architecture

Exterior design inspired by the Japanese spatial concept of Ma – a focus on the open spaces between lines
Body surfaces and creases influenced by origami, with design details drawing on elements of Japanese art and architecture

"We considered where we have been in our 30-year life, and where we want to go. We contemplated what it means to be Japanese, and how that resonates for INFINITI. One idea struck a chord with all of us – the concept of Ma, or the mastery of the empty space, which can be full of meaning and potential. Imagine someone clapping, the empty sound between claps is full of anticipation. In this way, the electrification of INFINITI will bring a new simplicity and excitement to the brand."

Alfonso Albaisa, Senior Vice President for Global Design, Nissan Motor Co.

"With the QX Inspiration concept, we were inspired by the Japanese concept of Ma, a focus on the lines and the empty space in between. What is happening in that space between the lines – the free, natural flow of surfaces – is truly expressive. It’s the empty space between the edges that often carries the loudest message."

Karim Habib, Executive Design Director, INFINITI

Perhaps more so than any other INFINITI created during the company’s 30-year existence, the QX Inspiration concept explores and actively draws upon the company’s Japanese roots.

Underpinning the aesthetic of the exterior is the Japanese spatial concept of Ma – the mastery of empty space. For INFINITI’s designers, this meant adopting an approach which focused on the open space between the concept’s lines. They were drawn to the character of paper and the Japanese art of paperfolding, origami. Infused with Japanese DNA, the elegant exterior of the QX Inspiration is derived from the artistic coaxing, folding and slicing of paper into different shapes.

The QX Inspiration concept’s sharp lines and modern aesthetics are enhanced by a series of high-precision details, formed of a pattern repeated throughout the exterior and interior. The pattern is made up of thin lines and arranged into near-perpendicular forms, a modern interpretation of the historic architectural design of Japanese timber louvers used in construction. Traditional by nature, yet increasingly adopted in contemporary Japanese architecture, the louver-inspired lines appear in the front and rear lamps and on the surface of the 22-inch alloy wheels. Furthermore, the roof of the QX Inspiration is formed of louvered slats made of Japanese red cedar (or sugi), giving occupants a stunning view of the sky above and lending a sense of Japanese architectural modernity to the exterior.

Further reference to the vehicle’s Japanese DNA can be found in the three colors used across the exterior. The QX Inspiration concept is finished in Liquid White pearlescent paint, inspired by the winter snows of Mount Fuji. In addition, highlights on the D-pillar and wheels are finished with two new signature color treatments, gold and vermilion – inspired by Japanese urushi lacquerware and gold kintsugi ceramic work.

A soft, warm shade of red, vermilion was widely used in traditional Japanese lacquerware. If lacquered ceramics were broken, they were often reformed with the kintsugi technique: that of repairing broken pottery with lacquer mixed with powdered silver, gold or platinum. Together, vermilion and gold were often used in painted Japanese artwork to express the power and energy of the sun.
Interior design

New electric-vehicle platforms enable spacious, lounge-like interiors, rich in welcoming and assistive technology

New electric vehicle platform enables new lounge-like interior

QX Inspiration concept features abundance of cabin space and a flat floor for greater flexibility
Cabin designed like a lounge, with luxurious, unconventional materials and relaxing space for four

The interior of the QX Inspiration concept shows the potential for new electric vehicle platforms. Powered by a battery pack stored beneath the floor, with electric motors on each axle, there is no intrusion from driveshafts or transmission tunnels. The result is a spacious, lounge-like space, with flat floors and greater room for occupants and luggage.

The spaciousness enables the vehicle’s human-centered ergonomics and creates a welcoming, open atmosphere that invites occupants to relax in comfort. The cabin has a level of architectural modernity to it, with a highly structural layout that diverges from conventional automobile design. Like the exterior, the interior of the QX Inspiration concept draws upon INFINITI’s devotion to the Japanese spatial concept of Ma, which has meant a close consideration of the surfaces and open spaces as much the layout and design of seats, dashboard and driver controls.

Dominating the dashboard is a wide-screen monitor flowing from pillar to pillar, finished in polarized gold-tinted glass. The rectangular steering wheel, trimmed in soft brown and white leather, also features its own monitor. In place of a transmission tunnel, graceful arches, trimmed in brown leather, rise out of the floor beneath the dashboard, flowing into a Bianco Carrara marble center console which extends to the rear seats.

The instrument panel is trimmed in a luxurious grey cloth normally used to upholster furniture and finished with INFINITI’s patented dot-quilting effect. Inspired by classic buttoned leather sofas, dot quilting produces a more informal interpretation of the diamond lozenge shape that gives classic Chesterfield lounge chairs their distinctive appearance. The idiosyncratic cloth extends from the front of the cabin and transitions into relaxing sofa-style rear seating area, generously proportioned for two passengers.

As seen from the outside, the headlining of the vehicle is replaced by a unique timber louver structure, inspired by Japanese architecture. Creating pleasant indirect lighting for occupants, the sugi cedar structure casts beautiful shadows throughout the cabin as the car moves. As the individual slats twist outwards, the wood gives way to white exterior painted surfaces.

The most open surface of all, the flat floor receives its own unique treatment. Upholstered in white suede panels in a variety of rhomboid shapes, it features kintsugi gold inlays, adding an additional element of lounge design to the cabin.

"We have taken advantage of the EV architecture to develop a lounge-like interior, enabled by the flat floor and the empty space below the dashboard and center console. So really, we’re not just designing the objects inside the car, we’re designing the empty space between objects. We’re trying to use that space to accentuate the design – you let the empty space talk as much, if not even more, than the forms and objects that are there."

Karim Habib, Executive Design Director, INFINITI

Technology that enables

QX Inspiration’s cabin fuses technology with a warm, minimalist design and typical Japanese hospitality, creating a seamlessly enabling, instinctive experience
Pillar-to-pillar widescreen displays information to driver and front passenger – a signature feature destined for future INFINITI models

"There’s a very natural coalescence of technology and hospitality in Japan, and this is something very appropriate for INFINITI. We want the technology in our vehicles to create an experience that seamlessly enables and enhances the drive, while also making life comfortable and natural. That’s what inspires us, and we worked with those principles when designing QX Inspiration."

Karim Habib, Executive Design Director, INFINITI

The QX Inspiration concept uses technologies to create a welcoming environment – one that assists drivers and connects occupants. INFINITI’s designers were influenced by the natural coalescence of technology, hospitality and warm minimalism that is unique to Japan. They focused on developing a vehicle which seamlessly and intuitively enables occupants, both through the application of its technologies and by creating a comfortable, relaxing and natural atmosphere.

Following the principle of omotenashi, the notion of Japanese hospitality, the interior draws occupants in from the moment the doors open. Illuminations in the base of the coach doors cast a subtle light over the ground, echoing the same thin line pattern found throughout the car, rolling out an inviting ’carpet’ of light. The front seats rotate 30 degrees outwards, making for easier ingress and egress.

Where the electric vehicle architecture is a macro-enabler for the overall structure and design, the pillar-to-pillar widescreen serves as a micro-enabler for the minimalist interior. A signature theme that will eventually be reflected in future INFINITI vehicles, the widescreen system has facilitated a dramatic reduction in the number of buttons in the interior and a clearer dashboard-wide display of information for driver and front passenger. The customizable screens enable the front passenger to see and control a range of functions, from infotainment to cabin lighting, as well as heating and ventilation.

The proliferation of displays, including the center of the widescreen rectangular steering wheel, gives the driver easy access to important information. There are digital displays linked to the rear-facing door-mounted cameras, to navigation and traffic systems and vehicle diagnostics.

The center console transitions subtly from Bianco Carrara marble into a display surface at the base of the dashboard, creating a harmonic contrast between function and material form.

INFINITI has harnessed its driver assist technologies to further enhance the lounge-like atmosphere of the cabin. The steering wheel, pedals and driver displays maintain the all-important connection to driving, a feature which will remain common to all INFINITI vehicles for the foreseeable future. Yet, hinting at the full range of driver assist technologies that may one day be available, the steering wheel collapses into the dashboard and the pedals retract into the floor, releasing even more space should the driver wish to hand control over to the vehicle.

By contrast, the rear of the cabin is devoid of all technology, except for the QX Inspiration’s lighting, a deliberate move by INFINITI’s designers to create a relaxing, screen-free space.

"For the interior we followed the principle of omotenashi, or Japanese hospitality. It’s a concept that we discussed a great deal during development of the INFINITI QX Inspiration. Technology is a window into broader horizons, and we want that window to be inviting, welcoming, enticing – staying true to our Japanese roots."

Alfonso Albaisa, Senior Vice President for Global Design, Nissan Motor Co.

Staying true to INFINITI’s Japanese roots

Handcrafted interior inspired by a subtle Japanese sensuality
Draws on a uniquely Japanese appreciation of nature and technology

The artistic, hand-crafted interior and the choice of materials used in the QX Inspiration concept are inspired by a subtle Japanese sensuality. With technology central to its appeal as a lounge-like space, the careful selection of natural materials and soft colors found in the cabin has its roots in a uniquely Japanese appreciation of nature and craftsmanship.

The Bianco Carrara marble center console is a defining feature. While the material itself is European, the stone texture is reminiscent of Japanese artistic sensibilities, fusing technology in the front of the cabin with a more natural, authentic appearance. At the end of the marble table, between the two rear seats, sits a branch of ume no hana plum blossom. This blossom is associated in Japan with the notion of omotenashi hospitality and welcoming guests into the home. It is typically the first to flower in the spring, as the temperature warms up after winter.

This appreciation of spring is echoed further in the choice of colors that define the cabin’s soft ambient lighting and graphic displays. Flooding the cabin in a calming glow, the lighting takes on one of four colors: wakanae (a soft green, like new spring grass), torinoko (a pale yellow, and the same shade as a hen’s egg), akebono (the subtle pinks and reds of a breaking dawn) and shirafuji (the soft purple of Japanese wisteria blossom). The subdued tones of the graphic displays and lighting perfectly complement the soft greys, browns and whites of the interior’s upholstery.

The roof, finished in sugi, Japanese red cedar wood, further ties the cabin of the QX Inspiration concept to its natural roots. Adhering to the Japanese world-view of wabi-sabi, that of accepting imperfections, INFINITI’s designers have left the knot and grain of the wood on display, expressing the strength and life of the raw material. Traditional in its design origins, the roof is distinctly modern in its structure and appearance. Beneath, the white suede floor adopts kintsugigold inlay between panels, further instilling the vehicle with a degree of Japanese sensuality and craft tradition.

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