Infiniti’s chief Johan de Nysschen likes to think ahead. Even when the Infiniti Q50 is all-new, he is already planning for what’s to come two years from now, which is when the G-sedan replacement will receive a four-cylinder. He estimates that by offering a potent and frugal turbocharged four-cylinder, it could achieve a total sales mix that exceeds 40%.
He said that this is “incremental” to what the brand has today. De Nysschen said that the four-cylinder, which is being developed together with Mercedes-Benz, will be mated with an eight-speed automatic.
The Q50 will start selling late this summer. It will be offered with a 3.7-liter V-6 and a smaller six-cylinder hybrid powertrain. It’s certainly true that four-cylinders have become more important than ever in premium sedans.
BMW has become so successful with the four-cylinder 3-series that it’s presenting the 320i, another version. It’s a bit surprising that Infiniti didn’t already have this engine prepared for the Q50’s launch. De Nysschen, who made the transfer to Infiniti from Audi last summer, said that this is “an inhibitor” specifically in global markets such as in China and Europe.
He said that this is part of its history since it’s highly centered in the U.S. where it is considered vital to offer four-cylinder gasoline and clean diesel powertrains.
The four-cylinder won’t serve as the replacement for either of the six-cylinders but in a previous interview, de Nysschen implied that the revered 3.7-liter V-6 won’t be around forever.
He said that this is an “absolutely outstanding engine” but considering the worldwide rules that impose penalties on engine capacity, this is the type of development that would prompt the brand to look at the 3.0-liter turbocharged engine.