Concept Cars

INFINITI partners with world- famous furniture maker

Infiniti's first all-electric vehicle is coming but first the QX Inspiration Concept is here. The all-electric concept crossover shows the design and engineering progression the automaker is taking as they move toward electrification. To help show that off, Infiniti has enlisted the help of world- famous furniture maker, Tendo Co.

Tendo was founded in 1940, a full 49 years before Infiniti was born, in Japan's Yamagata Prefecture. It is heralded for its artisan woodworkers and craftspeople. The company's business includes working alongside architects and designs to create timeless products. It was because of this heritage that Infiniti went to Tendo for its interior design.

"Our first ideas and sketches for the interior were founded in this notion of creating a space that was more akin to a lounge or living space. We took advantage of the spacious layout enabled by the electric powertrain, and created a furniture-like expression for every element of the interior. At the same time, we wanted to explore a Japanese sense of beauty, tying the car to our cultural roots," said Mie Tanaka, color design assistant manager at Infiniti Motor Company.

Infiniti Design Infiniti used sugi, a Japanese cedar tree, to give the interior of its concept crossover a warm hue. Photo courtesy of Infiniti Motor Company Ltd.

"We approached Tendo with this, and, while we had our own idea about how the QX Inspiration's 'furniture' could look, Tendo's many decades of experience in wood-working and design helped us to create something really special. The result is a beautiful, relaxing space that is rich in Japanese craftsmanship and materials. It is unlike anything we have been able to produce before."

With a design directive that included the use of organic materials and subdued colors, the two teams decided to use sugi, a cedar tree from Japan, for wood accents in the cabin. Its natural coloring and soft, light grain project warmth. The Sufi used in the car was grown in the Yamagata Prefecture and can be found on door panels as well as woodwork throughout the cabin.

Our team values the Japanese notion of 'monozukuri' – an appreciation of making things – so we have handcrafted each part of the Infiniti QX Inspiration's interior with care," said Sakae Igarashi, assistant manager, Tendo Co. "We are proud with what we have created and achieved with INFINITI. It is always a pleasure to work with fellow designers who can imagine beautiful things and create wonderful features. It has been an honor to work on this project."

The QX Inspiration Concept is just the first hint at the future of electrified mobility for Infiniti. Plans call for electric, hybrid, and performance hybrid vehicles to enter the lineup soon.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The new supercar is part throwback, part modern marvel.

Photo courtesy of Gordon Murray Automotive

Think of the common script for the modern supercar. Among other things, they must be reasonably uncomfortable to sit in, pass the effects of every bump in the road on to the driver, and have anxiety-inducing levels of torque that make it a chore to drive in traffic. The Gordon Murray Automotive T.50 has been designed to flip that script.

The limited edition model - just 100 will be made - promises to be the “most driver-centric supercar to be built”. It will still have a high-revving engine, lightweight and aerodynamic design, and dihedral doors like the typical supercar, but it will also be so much more.

Gordon Murray Automotive T.50 The supercar has a carbon fiber body and chassis.Photo courtesy of Gordon Murray Automotive

”Just 100 customers will share my vision, a car created to improve on the F1 formula in every conceivable way,” said Murray. “With 30 years of technological and systems advancement, now, the time is right to design the greatest analogue driver's car. I believe no other company could deliver what we will bring to market in 2022, producing this British supercar will be my proudest moment."

The car gets its name from company namesake Professor Gordon Murray. It is the 50th model, either road or track, that Murray has designed over his 50-year career.

Murray has designed the car to be free of wings, skirts, and vents. It’s look is clean, if not a bit streamlined, showing restraint that doesn't encumber performance. There is a cold-air ram induction that sits directly above the driver’s head.

The car weighs just 986kg (2,173 pounds), around one-third less than the traditional supercar. It’s body panels and chassis are made of carbon fiber. A carbon tub monocoque provides stiffness and torsional rigidity. The car’s glazing is 28 percent thinner than typical glass delivering valuable weight savings.

A rear-mounted 400mm fan helps the model achieve the “most effective aerodynamics ever seen on a road car”. It works in tandem with active rear spoilers and diffusers to increase downforce by up to 100 percent, depending on drive mode. The car has six available aero modes: Auto, High Downforce, Streamline (creates a virtual longtail), Braking, Test, V-Max Boost (raises output of engine).

Gordon Murray Automotive T.50

Photo courtesy of Gordon Murray Automtoive

The road car bit is important. Murray has designed the model to be equally as good there as on the track - a unique balance for a supercar. The model was created to be “alive” at traditional road speeds, not just high-rev track days.

The visceral experience of driving takes center stage with the car’s electronic stability protection and traction control able to be completely turned off.

At the heart of the car is a bespoke 3.9-liter V12 engine that revs to 12,100rpm. The engine is paired with a bespoke lightweight Xtrac six-speed manual transmission with an “H’ gearchange motion and regulated by a feather-light titanium pedal. Each element is crafted by a British company.

In fact, all major components are British-sourced and the model is assembled in the U.K.

The engine isn't designed to hit speed or power targets, but rather deliver the best experience for the driver. It’s the most dense naturally aspirated road car engine ever as well as the most responsive. The V12 delivers 592 horsepower and 344 pound-feet of torque.

According to a press release from the company, “Murray detests carbon or plastic engine covers so, upon raising the twin gullwing openings that span the rear half of the car, the Cosworth GMA V12 engine sits proudly on display with its cam covers, primary exhaust manifolds and inlet trumpets all taking centre stage.”

Murray has given the car a Direct Path Induction Sound, the system pioneered in the McLaren F1, to channel the sound of the throttle-induced induction growl into the cabin. The car’s carbon fiber roof panels act as an amplifier.

Gordon Murray Automotive T.50 The model’s interior blends old and newPhoto courtesy of Gordon Murray Automotive

Inside, the model has a central, jet fighter-like driving position. It's buttons and knobs are also inspired by flight and feature aerospace-grade primary and secondary controls arranged in an "ergonomic bubble" around the driver. They're analog, a refreshing change from the gas at screens and animated displays in everything from supercars to SUVs.

There's a premium audio system that features 10 speakers and Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Bluetooth connectivity.

There is enough seating for three adults and the company assures that ingress and egress are easy. All this in a model with about the same footprint as a Porsche Boxster.

The price tag is a hefty £2.36 million (before taxes) - that's over $3 million USD.

As part of the buying process, each T.50 customer has the opportunity to meet Murray to discuss their car and personalize it inside and out. Part of this process includes a seat, steering wheel, and pedals fitting session that will ensure the T.50 is ergonomically perfect for each client.

Customer versions of the T.50 will be built beginning in January 2022.

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The Infiniti QX55 is the company’s new crossover.

Photo courtesy of Infiniti Motors

The Infiniti QX55 was supposed to have already been seen by the public, but COVID-19 derailed the company's plans for a reveal at the New York International Auto Show. Today they're releasing the first official image of the new SUV and confirming that the model will be a 2022 model year vehicle as opposed to its original 2021 date.

AutomotiveMap has already seen the vehicle in full as part of an event last year.

In the image, just the backside of the crossover's body is shown. Even there, design lines inspired by the FX model that has long since been retired by the brand are evident.

2022 Infiniti QX55 Last year, the company teased the QX55 with a rendered image of its profile. Photo courtesy of Infiniti Motors

The model's coupe-like rear stands out as being on trend with designs of modern European SUVs with wing-like taillights reminiscent of the Q60 sports coupe flanking the rear door. Atop the rear windshield is a black design element, possibly showcasing that a two-tone paint scheme will be offered.

The picture also reveals that the model will have a rear windshield wiper, wheels, tires, and cladding (phew).

When AutomotiveMap first saw the model last year, Mike Colleran, then Vice Chairman and Global Division Vice President, Marketing and Sales Operations for Infiniti Motor Company, was quick to point out that the model has FX model bloodlines but isn't a direct FX successor.

Though it's not shown in the new photo, when the full vehicle is revealed, its lineage will be instantly apparent to brand enthusiasts that will see where a bulging hood and sleek lines that make the QX55 look as much like a throwback as it does a fast forward. Its face is commanding, but not as upright as what is seen on Infiniti's larger SUVs, including the 2020 Infiniti QX80 and the redesigned 2021 Infiniti QX60. It has its own unique grille that hasn't been seen on any other Infiniti yet.

Beyond its looks, Infiniti confirms that the QX55 will feature “innovative technologies designed to empower, engage, and connect luxury customers to the road ahead".

The automaker, a luxury arm of Nissan, will reveal the model to the public via social media on November 11 at 5:55 p.m. PST. The crossover will arrive on U.S. shores in the spring of 2021 and then be available in other regions across the globe.

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