Nissan’s First Plug-In Hybrid To Be Premium Infiniti Q80 Inspiration – Report

2 years ago by Jay Cole 38

Full Size Q80 Inspiration To Be A Plug-In Hybrid - Report

Full Size Q80 Inspiration To Be A Plug-In Hybrid – Report

When the Q80 Inspiration concept debuted, it was billed as:

“This is the highest portfolio entry for Infiniti and our vision is to compete with a unique approach. This car is not the traditional premium sedan. It breaks new ground in areas of body sculpturing and passenger hospitality. And, we will introduce a powertrain which affords power responsibly. It’s the perfect balance between performance and agility.”

Now it turns out (according to a source inside Nissan), a plug-in hybrid car based on the Q80 Inspiration is heading into production.

The full-size PHEV will be the company’s first entry into the extended range segment – and in the very high end, competing against the likes of the Porsche, Mercedes, and possibly even looking to take some sales from Tesla.

“The Q80 Inspiration concept was born to disrupt the premium sedan category,” said Francois Bancon, Infiniti Vice President, Product Strategy. on the Q80 Inspiration debut in Paris.  “We aim to do this with elegance, style, and emotion. Q80 Inspiration is how we see the future in terms of moving people in the higher end of our portfolio. This car is making a statement. Q80 Inspiration is a precursor of a production model in this segment and, as such, integral to our future.”

Infiniti Q80 Inspiration (Or Something Very Similar) Headed To Production

Infiniti Q80 Inspiration (Or Something Very Similar) Headed To Production

As a refresher on the Q80 Inspiration:

View From Above

View From Above

*- 550hp

*- twin turbocharged 3.0-liter V6

*- hybrid electric powertrain

*- fuel efficiency in the region of 5.5L/100km

*- CO2 emissions of about 129g/km

“Coupled to the innovative hybrid powertrain, a smart drivetrain reinforces the sporty appeal with the ability to switch from rear wheel drive to all wheel drive on demand, or as conditions dictate.” – Infiniti PR

Automotive News reports that early development work is happening now at Nissan’s Cranfield R&D site in central England, and is “being benchmarked against the Mercedes S500 plug-in hybrid and the Porsche Panamera E-Hybrid.”

Obligatory "Artsy" Shot

Obligatory “Artsy” Shot

Timeline for launch is around 2018/2019, which would be after the premium, all-electric Infiniti LE (a premium version of the Nissan LEAF based on the IDS Concept shown recently)- which at last check was still tentatively expected in the first quarter of 2017.

The online magazine even managed to get a rare positive quote on PHEV technology out of the all-electric plug in maker – so you know Nissan is getting serious about producing a PHEV now.

“If you use the car to commute, then an EV is a good solution,” said Francois Goupil De Bouille (head of Infiniti Europe) told Auto News,” If you are traveling a lot from town to town, maybe a plug-in hybrid is better.”

Infiniti Q80 Inspiration’s Debut At Paris Motor Show (2014):

Automotive News

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38 responses to "Nissan’s First Plug-In Hybrid To Be Premium Infiniti Q80 Inspiration – Report"

  1. jh says:

    To little. To late.

    1. Brian says:

      Oh it’ll be great! Just wait! Or is it too little, too late?

      I agree. If they are looking to “disrupt” the luxury segment, I would say that Tesla has beaten them to the punch. And outdone them at the same time.

    2. Scramjett says:

      Yes, this should have been a Rouge or Pathfinder like SUV PHEV that could compete with the Outlander PHEV. I would have put down the money for a Pathfinder-like PHEV if they’d just make one! Instead, I’ll be ordering an Outlander PHEV when they hit dealerships in May.

      I would buy a Model S if I had the money because its a practical yet sporty family sedan. But nothing about this car makes me say “I would buy this if I had the money” like the Model S does.

  2. kdawg says:

    Please give it a decent AER, like 40 miles.

    1. RexxSee says:

      I see what ICE car makers are doing. They are using only the better torque of the electric motor but they keep the cars essentially gasmobiles.
      No genuine efforts to go toward a massive electrification shift, nor helping the environment.
      Only green washing, more profits from more expensive hybrids and no less profits from the repairs, maintenance and early replacements of internal combustion engine vehicles.
      Then they call it PHEV and count it as an electric car.
      All these less than 50 miles AER cars should NEVER be considered as EVs.

      1. Rich says:

        +1
        If Nissan is only going to increase range by 20 miles per year and GM is only going to manufacture 30K BOLT cars a year, Tesla is our only hope.

        1. Alonso Perez says:

          20 miles per year would be awesome; we got 30 miles after four years.

          Still, I refuse to fault Renault/Nissan. Their cars are much cheaper than the cheapest Tesla. The Model S was, at inception, supposed to be a 50K car.

          The holy grail is a 200+ mile, EPA range pure EV at $35K or less. Tesla isn’t there any more than Nissan is. They are heading in that direction from different ends of the market. We shall see who gets there first.

    2. Ambulator says:

      It’s a four seater and it has a large center hump that could store a largish battery. This may be a decent offering if you don’t care about storage space.

      1. Scramjett says:

        I presume you are referring to the Volt? If so, it actually has some decent trunk/cargo space. The back seats aren’t too bad either, although, at 5’10, my head was touching the ceiling where the rear hatch glass met the roof.

        1. Ambulator says:

          No, I wasn’t referring to the Volt, although the passenger areas looks similar. This looks lower than the Volt and, since it doesn’t appear to be a hatchback, will probably hold much less stuff.

          The Q80 probably handles better and is presumably much faster than the Volt. If that center hump hides a battery it could have a similar electric range.

  3. Robb Stark says:

    “CO2 emissions of about 129g/km”

    To match BMW 7 Series PHEV it needs to be less than 60g/km.

    Then it qualifies for a bunch of incentives in Europe.

    1. ggpa says:

      “CO2 emissions of about 129g/km”

      Are the EU CO2 numbers honestly calculated, or are they fiction like their fuel consumption?

      1. pjwood1 says:

        If they aren’t honestly calculated, they will be.

        ~20lbs CO2 per gallon, 453 grams per pound. You can get to 40mpg diesels emitting ~226gr/mile, and then convert to km (.625) and see a start point of 141gr/km CO2. Not hard to envision a luxury PHEV down at 129gr/km. It isn’t a big leap, considering CO2 from electricity isn’t counted.

        If Infiniti isn’t talking range, or kwh, I’m squeamish.

        1. Bone says:

          129 g/km is for regular hybrid, not PHEV. PHEV numbers are not published yet.

          I think 129 g/km for a 550 hp luxury sedan is a good number even on the european (or japanese) cycle. PHEV will get way lower number.

  4. ggpa says:

    All these years when I complained about turbo lag, I never realized that the best solution for that is a hybrid drivetrain.

    Pretty soon, all high performance vehicles will be like the McLaren P1, gas and electric.

    1. Loboc says:

      Or an electric turbo.

  5. ffbj says:

    So I am to take, from the first commercial that the audience is swine?

  6. Kaleb says:

    Keep that styling, throw the ICE away and replace it with a big battery and you’ve got something I would want.

  7. Ben says:

    In Europe there are plausible rumors that in 2017 Nissan Qashqai and it’s twin brother Renault Kadjar will be offered with plug-in technology (first time for Renault-Nissan Alliance)

  8. Bill Howland says:

    Nissan’s finally done it..

    Released a car that is absolutely 100% soft-sell. No real info at all, not even the price.

  9. Get Real says:

    Yes Bill, unlike Tesla who has at least announced that the Model 3 will have at least 200 real world miles range and cost in the 30k range.

  10. Josh says:

    It is a little surprising that Infiniti is going with a sedan to debut PHEV tech. I was hoping they would develop this for their SUV/CUV lines, and keep using the BEV tech for the cars.

    Jay, any news on the Infiniti version of the LEAF? It seems like it has been crickets since the Lizard battery delay.

    1. Jay Cole says:

      Nothing has changed, or popped up. But that is just as disconcerting really when you think about it.

      Been on Nissan’s Power 88 Plan at the very back end for going on 18 months now, so ~March 2017 production.

      Generally, we’d start to hear more “stuff” by now. I guess you could point to the IDS, as the LE and LEAF will be functionally the same platform and battery, but I would not class our optimism as ‘growing’, lol.

      1. Josh says:

        Thanks for the update.

        I have the same feeling. If the Infiniti was coming, wouldn’t they use it to keep the focus off LEAF 2.0. That doesn’t seem to be the case.

  11. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    Nissan marketing wrote:

    “This car is not the traditional premium sedan. It breaks new ground in areas of body sculpturing…”

    Wow, that’s the worst series of typos I’ve ever seen for “We did a wholesale swipe of the Tesla Model S’s body style.” :-/

    1. Kaleb says:

      I see nothing in that design that even remotely looks like a Tesla design, other than the presence of four doors and four wheels.

      1. ffbj says:

        Hmm. I think if take the cool sculpting, where the side panels are dished out, you would have a very similar shape to the Model S.
        I actually like the cool Infiniti shape better than the Model S, but I agree with Pushmi-Pullyu,in that, they are more similar than different.

        1. Ambulator says:

          I agree more with Kaleb. In particular, the Model S is a hatchback while this probably isn’t.

          I suppose it’s a matter of what you focus on.

          1. ffbj says:

            True. I would adjust my position to say from the front it looks more like the S, from the rear not so much. It’s a perceptual thing.

          2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            Ambulator said:

            “…the Model S is a hatchback while this probably isn’t.”

            No, the Model S has a hatchback, but it does not have the body style called “a hatchback”. The Model S is described as a sedan, or more specifically as a hatchback sedan.

            1. Ambulator says:

              A hatchback doesn’t need to look like a miniSUV. Many of the early ones didn’t.

              The Model S is a hatchback. The only reason to call it a sedan is because hatchback is a dirty word to some Americans.

              1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

                Ambulator said:

                “The Model S is a hatchback.”

                Tesla calls the Model S a sedan. Edmunds.com calls it a sedan. Kelley blue book calls it a sedan.

                You are, of course, entitled to your opinion, but I doubt anyone who knows what the term “a hatchback” actually means, will agree with you.

                You might want to check out the diagrams of sedan, station wagon, and hatchback here:
                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hatchback

                1. Ambulator says:

                  “You might want to check out the diagrams of sedan, station wagon, and hatchback here:
                  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hatchback

                  Yes, I looked at that before my prior post. I think the Tesla is a two box design, which rules out a sedan. I already explained why I think so many are calling it a sedan, even though it isn’t.

      2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Kaleb said:

        “I see nothing in that design that even remotely looks like a Tesla design, other than the presence of four doors and four wheels.”

        I presume you’re joking?

        Here’s a side-by-side comparison of 3/4 front/side views:

        The side scoops and the front grille/nosecone have different shapes, but aside from that, they’re remarkably similar. It’s true that they don’t look alike from the rear.

        1. Trace says:

          Most cars these days have similar looks. This Infiniti is much more different from the Model S than the Model S was to the Jaguar XF and Maserati Ghibli.

  12. Anon says:

    It certainly has “nose cone”, and a logo that’s about 25% bigger than normal. Just so the viewer isn’t confused about who made it. 😉

  13. ModernMarvelFan says:

    I guess Nissan doesn’t believe in pure luxury BEVs like Tesla anymore?

  14. Speculawyer says:

    Let’s see if this car is not so embarrassing that they cancel it even before building like they did with their pure electric Infiniti. That was a hoot.