Q50 Eau Rouge – Another Look

Q50 Eau Rouge

What you see before you is the working prototype Q50 Eau Rouge Concept that made its world debut at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show earlier this year. Based on the production Q50 and inspired by Infiniti Red Bull Racing who then enhanced it with carbon-fiber bodywork, aerodynamic upgrades and then fitted with a beastly twin-turbocharged engine shared by none other than Godzilla the Nissan GT-R. The Q50 Eau Rouge is named after the signature high-speed corner at Belgium’s famed Spa-Francorchamps race circuit. This a most intriguing pairing by Japanese luxury brand who has never offered a flagship sport sedan such as this. This is a brain child program by Johan de Nysschen who was tasked with turning Infiniti around, recently announced his departure from the company at the end of the month. The working prototype was built by a small team in England, which allowed the program to move unimpeded while launching the Eau Rouge program.

The donor car used to create the Q50 Eau Rouge was a US spec Q50S from there the complete powertrain, including its naturally aspirated 3.7-liter V6, rated at 328 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque was yanked. Then the stock suspension, brakes, bumpers and front seats were also removed and thrown in the trash bin. Cosmetically the prototype is almost identical to the concept. The engine choice seemed to be a no brainer when your parent company is Nissan with their GT-R currently shoehorning a VR38DETT under its hood, all power goals and expectations where close in hand.  Unlike many engine transplants that reveal themselves with rough idles, misfires or other faults, the 3.8 liter in the Infiniti backed with a performance ECU let the Eau Rouge purr like a kitten. Two separate exhaust pipes, each serving a bank of cylinders before exiting through custom tips in the rear carbon-fiber fascia, gives the Q50 Eau Rouge its very own distinct sound compared to the GT-R… and when ye hear it all was good!

The team also bolted a seven-speed torque-converter automatic, since the GT-R was not usable in the Q50 Eau Rouge due to limitations in mounting it to the chassis, so instead they borrowed from the Q70 5.6 and bolted it directly to the back of the VR38DETT, according to Infiniti it’s a first for this engine. The GT-R all-wheel-drive system was also eliminated and replaced with Infiniti’s Intelligent AWD from the Q70. Expect a different transmission and a performance-oriented AWD solution if the Eau Rouge makes it into production. The turbocharged 3.8-liter is tuned to 560HP and 442lb-ft of torque, a level of power that can put unwanted stress on the gearbox. To extend its life, shifts have been electronically slowed to reduce driveline shock, and shifts are obtain with the use of paddle shifters. Engineers estimate a 0-60 blast of “high three seconds” and a top speed “in excess of 180 miles per hour. The sport sedan will be a very competitive if it’s given the opportunity. The team expect the momentum of the Q50 Eau Rouge to see it through to production as a possible 2016 model….stay tuned for more info.

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