No timetable yet, so don’t count those chickens before they hatch

Infiniti has been known to play with our heartstrings when it comes to performance vehicles, only to cut the cord in the end, leaving all of us wondering what the point of all the teasing was. Well, prepare for another round of promises as the company’s vice president of product planning, Francois Bancon, told Car Buzz that the company has yet to give up on releasing a sportier model over the 400-horsepower Q60 S Coupe. Bancon even went so far as to say that “two to three possibilities” are currently in the running, opening the door for everybody to once again lose their minds over the possibility of finally seeing a true performance model from Nissan’s luxury brand.

Bancon didn’t dive into the specifics of what those discussions are like, but he did say that executives are aware of the importance of having a performance model that can also serve as the company’s halo or regarded as the “face” of the entire brand. Moreover, Bancon also touched on the possibility of the performance model getting a healthy dose of technology, including the possibility of using an all-electric powertrain to give it the power and performance credentials it needs to be considered as a legitimate “face of the franchise.”

While it has become a little bit more difficult to take Infiniti’s word given how many times it has teased us with a proper performance model only to yank it away in the end, Bancon did say something different this time compared to the narratives we’ve heard in the past. Apparently, the company isn’t as concerned about making a profit as it was in the past. Remember, that was one of the biggest reasons why the Q50 Eau Rouge was shelved. That doesn’t appear to be the case this time so there is a little bit more optimism about seeing this new project get greenlit by the company’s decision-makers.

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Cautious optimism is the mood for this one

If all of this sounds familiar, that’s because we’ve been through this with Infiniti numerous times before, most recently with the incredible 560-horsepower Q50 Eau Rouge that was thought to have been approved for production until those plans were axed in 2015. Instead, we got the Q50 Red Sport 400, a car that had the power and performance credentials to get noticed. Still, many thought that axing the Q50 Eau Rouge was a mistake on Infiniti’s part given the opportunity it could have had to take the premium compact segment by storm.

Now, we’re back with a new round of teases from Infiniti and I for one am not sure what to feel. I like that Bancon was confident enough with his words that he didn’t dive into too much details about the company’s plans. The fact that he also said that profits won’t be a huge factor for Infiniti is also refreshing to hear given that a "lack of a proper business case" was one of the reasons why the Q50 Eau Rouge was axed in the first place.

Given all these hints and details, I’m cautiously optimistic about the status of this new performance model, in whatever size or shape it comes in. Hopefully, it finally pushes through because whether Infiniti likes to admit it or not, it still doesn’t have a model that really resonates with auto enthusiasts. Seems like Infiniti is finally prepared to crown its lineup with a proper halo model, the kind of car that’s traditionally developed for attention-grabbing purposes instead of the proverbial bottom line.

The Q50 Eau Rouge was supposed to be that model. Now, we wait and see – again – which one will take its place.

Read our full review on the Infiniti Q60 Coupe here.

Read our full review on the Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge here.

Source: Car Buzz

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