A management change has gifted Infiniti a rival to the BMW M4 and Mercedes-AMG C63 S complete with F1-derived electric-boost technology set to deliver around 373kW of power.
Infiniti Australia product planning manager Bernard Michel confirmed to Drive that a production version of the Project Black S concept, shown at last month’s Geneva motor show, was in an “advanced” stage to become a new $150,000 super-sports coupe entrant.
“Roland Krueger who is the Infiniti CEO, he comes from BMW, so performance-based cars, and he has an objective, he wants to see these sorts of projects come to life,” Michel said.
“He’s pushing this agenda and he wants to have a fast flagship for the company. His endeavour is to continue to build this brand. Things like the Project Black S … that builds another whole new element to the brand in terms of performance credentials.”
Asked whether the Infiniti boss had therefore “green lighted” a production Project Black S, Michel agreed.
The concept featured a 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged V6 engine teamed with a kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) from the Renault Sport F1 team, which Infiniti is a technical partner. Lithium-ion batteries store energy that is harvested from braking and turbo exhaust gases, to power an electric motor that spins the turbo and crankshaft faster for a monster performance boost.
Infiniti claims the system provides a 25 per cent power increase, which on its 298kW V6 engine would amount to 373kW of power, lineball with the 375kW C63 S.
“I think there’s a relationship there with F1, we’re the technical partner to them specialising in hybrids, so you basically have all the guys from Japan and they want a one-to-one translation,” Michel revealed.
“CO2 emissions targets are everywhere around the globe, so electric cars, hybrids, that’s the way of the future. If they have got specialised know-how about it, why not use it? If you’ve got the potential from a performance perspective to do it, why not?
“[The project] is pretty advanced.”
He further suggested that it should come as no surprise that Infiniti would build a hybrid super-sports coupe given its history with petrol-electric technology.
“Going back to the roots of Q50, we launched the hybrid here a few years back and it still performs extremely well, zero to 100km/h in 5.1 seconds – it’s an extremely fast car with astonishing fuel economy,” Michel continued.
“It’s the sort of thing that Infiniti want to separate themselves from the rest of the market, by doing different things.”
The production Project S would also not, he insisted, end up like the Q50 Eau Rouge concept shown at 2014’s Detroit motor show. It was slated for production, showcasing a Nissan GT-R drivetrain in a medium sedan body, before the company did a U-turn and killed the plan.
“It was under two different sets of management,” Michel said of that decision.
“Let’s just say under the new regime of management I doubt that [would happen again].”