But Infiniti’s 'Project Black S' hot-rod has but one teensy drawback…
Infiniti intends to make a version of the Q60 Coupe with 500-ish horsepower. To prove it, here’s its Geneva Show concept car, called the Project Black S. Which, you’ll agree, looks like it has 500-ish ponies.
It doesn’t though. The engine hasn’t been built. Hasn’t been invented, really. But even so it could be a very interesting prospect, using proper Formula One technology and expertise, including perhaps the first use of a motor-generator unit on the turbo of a road car. Or so they say.
See, Infiniti used to sponsor Red Bull Racing, but that was strictly putting its name on the car. Now, via the Renault-Nissan Alliance, Infiniti has proper engineering collaboration with the Renault F1 power-unit team. Infiniti engineers work at the Renault Sport works in Viry-Chatillon.
In fact last year, when Infiniti in Japan couldn’t banish a vibration from prototypes of its clever new variable-compression road-car engine, it asked the Renault F1 engineers to look at it. And they fixed it, ready for production later this year.
So then, back to Infiniti’s potential BMW M4 rival – as any mid-size 500hp four-seat coupe will inevitably be known – the Q60 Black S. It’ll use a version of the 3.0-litre twin-turbo engine currently available with 400hp in the Q60 Red S. There’s also a 300hp version in some parts of the world, the Q60 Silver S.
The Black S was designed in Infiniti’s London studio. Designer Matt Weaver tells TopGear.com the aero has been run through CFD software, so it’s not just visual aggression. “We know the level of performance expected, so form follows function.”
The yellow brake callipers and rear wing flash are Renault F1’s house colour.
At the front, an extra slot borders the grille frame, feeding the hungrier engine bay. Gulping brake ducts add to the effect, and the bonnet outlet vents the radiator air that would otherwise build pressure under the car.
The track is widened, though the metalwork of the wings is not. Arch extensions cover the 21s.
Out back, that wing isn’t just a generic plank, Weaver says, but has been shaped to echo the blistered trailing edge of the Q60’s boot lid. Down below, one single super-complex, carbon-fibre moulding includes ‘trip edges’ to evacuate the wheel arches, strakes for the air passing the wheel, and the diffuser. The whole edifice channels a storm-drain-sized titanium exhaust.
The potential under-bonnet tech is fascinating. Formula One cars have two hybrid units – one to harvest energy from the driveshafts as the car slows, and re-apply it on acceleration. That’s the so-called motor-generator unit - kinetic (MGU-K). In principle, it’s what road hybrids have too.
The other race car hybrid unit is the MGU-H. This one charges up from the spinning turbo off-throttle, and then when the driver gets back on the pedal it spins up the turbo for low-lag power. No-one has done this on a road car before, but it’s what Infiniti is exploring for the Black S.
Now, assuming they make the tech work with enough refinement and durability for a road-car, do you think the world needs an M4/C63/RS5/RC-F rival from Infiniti? Answers, as always, in the space below please.