Current Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel definitely knows what performance is. That is why Infiniti product strategists are leaning on him to help develop a performance sub-brand for the luxury marque. In fact, Vettel, who serves as director of performance at Infiniti, has been test driving a prototype of the Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge at the Millbrook Proving Ground in England and at the same giving very important feedback on its performance.
Michael Bartsch, vice president of Infiniti Americas remarked that Vettel is tasked with carefully assessing handling, suspension, components and packaging of up and coming Infiniti models.
Bartsch quipped Sebastian's interpretation of a performance car brings a “very contemporary perspective to it."
Bartsch noted that once a person with Vettel’s credibility and skill set test drives a car, “the benchmark is set.
He remarked that while Infiniti’s engineers and designers employ a particular set of performance parameters to ensure that a vehicle sits well within a broader market, they are talking about the 560-hp Eau Rouge, which amounts to hard-edged performance.
Bartsch said that Vettel’s interpretation will be extremely important for the premium that the Q50 Eau Rouge will command. He disclosed that Vettel's input on the Eau Rouge marks only the start of a move toward building an Infiniti performance sub-brand, similar to Mercedes-Benz's AMG performance division.
The Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge is the result of competition that is the height of motorsport. It also echoes the parts of the RB9, a highly successful race car. Each panel on the exterior has been customized to this model and the only standard components kept are the arch of the vehicle’s roof pillars and the front doors. Overall the new Q50 Eau Rouge has the appearance of hunkering down and doing so with intent and menace.
By putting new fenders on the front and the rear, the already broad-shouldered stance of the current Q50 is increased by 20 mm. Making the deck lid spoiler larger results in an air-pressure downforce. All of the vehicle’s dynamic width is covered in a customized red paint coat. The paintwork that is on this model’s sporty physique is framed by the dark-chrome detailing.
This serves as a replacement to the chrome bright work that is present in the Q50’s production version. It also darkens the attitude of the Q50 Eau Rouge in a dramatic fashion.
Also having a dark-chrome matter finish is the trademarked double-arch front grille of the Q50. This is the same finish on the deck lid accents, door handles, and glasshouse surrounds. Further, the curving hood is made double air-vented to give a hint of the purpose and capability of this new offering from Infiniti.