Nissan’s premium car brand Infiniti is beginning to increase in popularity in Europe, but its biggest market by far is still in the US – which may be why the company has chosen the 2017 Detroit Motor Show to display its new concept SUV – the QX50 Concept.
It’s an evolution of the brand’s last big concept, the QX Inspiration, which debuted at the 2016 Beijing Motor Show. Infiniti has released some teaser images ahead of the car’s big unveiling at the show, allowing us to see the differences between the new QX50 Concept and the QX Inspiration.
Infiniti says the QX50 Concept shows the design features of the QX Inspiration but on a vehicle that could be adapted for production. The new concept is very similar to what came before but a few vital features have been changed to make for a more realistic car.[gallery:1]
Up front there’s still a bold grille with a massive Infiniti badge, flanked by sharp LED headlights and daytime running lights. The design of the front splitter has been changed, though, and is now complimented by low-set LED strips on either side. The long bonnet doesn’t have such a pronounced slope down, either, which would improve visibility on an eventual production model.
The QX50 retains the previous concept’s sculptured sides, with flowing creases running down either door, but they’re a little less exaggerated, while the plastic-clad wheelarches aren’t as prominent as before. Crucially, the tiny door mirrors have been replaced with full-sized units, while the panoramic roof and windscreen have made way for a conventional roof with silver roof bars running down its length.[gallery:2]
No images of the interior have been released, but the company promises a “driver-centric, passenger-minded” space, with premium craftsmanship throughout.
Infiniti has also hinted that a production model of the QX50 Concept could be a showcase for the brand’s groundbreaking VC-Turbo engine technology. The world’s first variable compression ratio engine is said to give petrol performance with diesel fuel consumption, and will also go on show on Infiniti’s Detroit stand.
“With the unveiling of the QX Sport Inspiration at the 2016 Beijing Auto Show, we showed the future of Infiniti QX models,” said Roland Krueger, President of Infiniti. “The new QX50 Concept evolves this concept further and shows how Infiniti could develop its future presence in the fastest-growing vehicle segment globally.”
The new QX50 Concept will go on display on the Infiniti stand at the 2017 Detroit Motor Show in January.
Infiniti’s autonomous future
The company has also revealed upcoming plans for a set of new semi-autonomous driving technologies, named ProPILOT, to compete with the likes of Volvo’s Pilot Assist and Tesla’s autopilot. It will debut on the QX50 Concept, before going on to feature on the company’s new models.
The company is keen to point out that ProPILOT is not a fully autonomous driver replacement but a co-pilot – allowing the car to navigate less challenging situations on its own while aiding the driver with tracking and monitoring systems. Infiniti says “the driver retains ultimate control over their vehicle”.
Could the QX50 Concept be Infiniti’s big break in Europe? Let us know what you think in the comments…