Infiniti is expected to reveal its production-ready, performance hybrid Q60 Black S at this year’s Paris motor show in October, but you won’t see it on sale until at least 2020 — provided it’s green lit for production by company chiefs at all.
The 500hp (370kW) Black S model will tap into the company’s collaboration with the Renault Sport Formula 1 team. A twin-turbo V6 engine will be paired with an energy recovery system (ERS) that re-deploys captured energy to augment power and torque.
The company claims it will be the first accessible road car using up-to-date F1 tech, given the Mercedes-AMG Project One’s prohibitive price.
It’s been a year since the concept Black S premiered at the 2017 Geneva motor show. Where’s it at? We were given some time in Melbourne with Infiniti’s director of product strategy and motorsport, Tommaso Volpe, ahead of last weekend’s Grand Prix.
He said the layout of the prototype was finalised, and suppliers were set to deliver key components such as the electric motors in the next few weeks. The countdown is well and truly on.
As far as statements of intent go, the Black S — a “radical reinterpretation of the Q60 coupe” — stacks up. If Infiniti intends to push its case as an electrified performance luxury brand, then using Formula 1 tech is surely a good start.
The Black S drivetrain will fuse the Q60 Red Sport’s 298kW 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 engine with an ERS, boosting power by up to 25 per cent. This, alongside tweaks such as a high-performance titanium twin exhaust system, will give the car its requisite 370-odd kW.
For context that would about match the twin-turbo V8 engine in the similarly sized Mercedes-AMG C63 S, which does the 0-100km/h dash in 4.0 seconds.
The F1 tech in the Black S comprises two types of motor generator unit (MGU) and a battery pack to gather, store and recycle electrical energy.
There’s a MGU-K unit to harvest kinetic braking energy, and MGU-H units fitted to each turbocharger to collect heat energy from exhaust gases.
The energy harvested by each is stored in high-rate discharge lithium-ion batteries, with the recovered electric power deployed to rotate the crankshaft and turbocharger turbine blades more quickly.
“A production car with Formula One-inspired performance hybrid technology would benefit from greater power and torque, and instant, lag-free acceleration,” the company says.
Beyond this, the Q60 Black S will sport braking-by-wire, but will ditch the Red Sport’s controversial steering-by-wire system in favour of a motor-driven unit. The design will also sport lashings of carbon-fibre to cut weight, and the 21” wheels will get bespoke Pirelli tyres.
Whether it remains RWD or adopts AWD remains to be seen, but we do know the Black S will get its own suspension tune, and that lots of R and D investment has gone into ensuring the smoothness and integration of the ERS.
Volpe, who said that “it’s vital that whatever we do in F1 applies to the road business”, also said that the eventual production Black S, should it get the tick of approval from the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, would be in production for 2020 and would be engineered for right-hand drive.
Nissan Australia’s chief Stephen Lester said it would be a no-brainer for Australia. Fingers crossed…