There’s a big invisible question mark that hangs over the Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge prototype: Should Infiniti actually mass-produce this lean luxury sedan with a monster twin-turbo V-6 stuffed under the hood? Or should the Eau Rouge—named after one of the most unforgiving corners in Grand Prix racing—be led down a dead end street in the Meadowlands and dumped into the marsh?
Tough call. As of today, there is exactly one actual prototype, and it’s parked under a temporary tent at the Millbrook Proving Grounds, just a couple of clicks away from the Infiniti Red Bull Racing team’s Formula 1 factory.
Argument in favor? This car is a slick rocket. Infiniti has replaced the engine with the Nissan GT-R’s revered powerplant and transformed it into a wickedly fast and throaty monster with a brawny matte-red-and-black color scheme. As it tear-asses up and down the gradients on the Millbrook hill course, it easily overpowers the Pirelli Corsa 255 tires. It is fast, ferocious, raw. It is a pleasant surprise. That’s why they should build it.
And why not? Well, Infiniti is at something of a crossroads. It recently finished upending its naming conventions (the Gs and Ms are out the door; say hello to a parade of Qs). The CEO, Johan de Nysschen, resigned abruptly in August after just two years, claiming he was homesick for Detroit (of all places).
Now it’s looking to make a bold statement to highlight a great array of products and somehow compete with the big German luxury halos. The Eau Rouge could well be it, but is it a big enough statement? Maybe. At the very least, it’s worth a try.
Photos by Infiniti