Future Product

The new plan is to reboot Infiniti as 'Nissan-plus', rapid model rollout coming

Infiniti already has plans for a number of new vehicles in the works.

Photo courtesy of Infiniti Motors

It's no secret that Infiniti has been struggling with its brand identity. It shows right there on the balance sheet where sales are down significantly, suffering a fate similar to its parent company Nissan. But, there's a plan underway to change that.

Reporting from AutomotiveNews indicates that the brand will no longer be looking to go in the direction of other luxury manufacturers like Mercedes-Benz and BMW. Instead, they'll be considered "Nissan-plus" according to a representative from the company.

2020 Infiniti QX50 The Infiniti QX50 is a premium compact SUV that is designed for comfortable cruising. Photo courtesy of Infiniti Motors

The move is part of a larger four-year turnaround plan made public by Nissan last week that advertised the introduction of 12 new models in the last 18 months. Infiniti vehicles were not explicitly part of that news release but we already know that the company plans to unveil the new QX55 and redesigned QX60 in the coming months.

AutomotiveMap has seen the 2020 Infiniti QX55 in person at a private media event and the 2021 Infiniti QX60 in picture form at the same event. The company also teased forthcoming electrification plans.

Infiniti COO Ashwani Gupta outlines what the plans for Infiniti are beyond then explaining that Infiniti and its parent company Nissan would begin sharing platforms in a move to slash costs. This is not unusual in the auto industry. In fact, Volkswagen Group has based its electrification strategy on flexible platforms that can be utilized by its Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche brands, among others.

In addition to the platform sharing, Infiniti will share powertrains and assembly with its mass market counterpart. Today, Infiniti vehicles are made at six plants: two in Japan, two in China, one in Mexico, and one in Smyrna, Tennessee. The forthcoming QX60 is made beside the Nissan Pathfinder in the U.S. so we should see both redesigns at the same time (likely at the L.A. Auto Show later this year).

2020 Infiniti QX80 Infiniti recently updated the interior design of its QX80. Photo courtesy of Infiniti Motors

Those new models will begin to rapidly roll out in 2023.

The U.S. and China will be the company's primary market focus as the company reshapes its brand. In the early part of the century, Infiniti was known for creating fresh versions of Nissan vehicles that were upmarket. The company abandoned this strategy in an effort to give the Infiniti brand its own unique line of models. With global sales in decline, the company appears to be reverting to old strategy to shore up its finances and future.

Infiniti isn't the only brand attempting to return to the successes of the late 90s and early 2000s. Acura has begun rolling out a bold strategy featuring performance-focused models, including the 2021 Acura TLX and TLX Type S.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The Audi A7 will be available later this year in a plug-in hybrid format.

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

Audi has revealed the third plug-in hybrid in its lineup, the 2021 A7 55 TFSI e, a powerful option for executive car buyers. It joins the Audi Q5 TFSI e and Audi A8 TFSI e as the only PHEVs in the company's U.S. lineup.

The A7 gets its power from a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that is paired with an electric motor and seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. The car has a total system output of 362 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. All-wheel drive is standard.

Audi's new sedan can run as a hybrid or on all-electric power. Drivers can utilize the vehicle in three drive modes: hybrid, EV, and Battery Hold. Hybrid mode is activated automatically when the navigation system is issuing guidance in order to optimize battery power and reduce fuel consumption. In EV mode, the car exclusively uses battery power up to a certain speed. Battery Hold mode utilizes the car's powertrain to keep the battery capacity at its current level.

2021 Audi A7 55 TSFI e Photo courtesy of Audi AG

The A7 holds its lithium-ion battery under the rear cargo area of the sportback sedan. Final EPA-estimated fuel economy and range numbers are pending. The 14.1-kilowatt-hour battery features 104 pouch cells with a voltage of 381 volts.

Audi's predictive efficiency assist technology adjust the vehicle's behavior to save on fuel. According to the automaker, ". Detectable haptic feedback from the accelerator pedal and a visual signal in the MMI and head-up display indicate the proper time to let off the accelerator to use as much kinetic energy as possible."

The model comes standard with Audi's S line exterior package, which includes specific front and rear fascia designs, fender badgers, and illuminated doorsill inlays. The car also has Matrix-design LED headlights, high beam assist, quad-zone automatic climate control, Audi advanced key, Audi Virtual Cockpit, ad PHEV-specific displays within the infotainment system and cockpit. It rides on 20-inch Audi Sport five-twin-arm wheels wrapped in all-season tires.

The roster of standard features continues with audible low-speed exterior e Sound, a top view camera with Virtual 360 view, Integrated Toll Module, the Audi MIB 3 infotainment operating system, heated front seats, and leather upholstery for all five passengers.

A variety of packages are available.

Audi Virtual Cockpit now displays speed reductions, including those for speed limits, tow signs, curves, downward slopes, traffic circles, intersections, and highway exits.

The fresh version of the A7 can be charged at any SAE J1772 charging station or at home. Audi has partnered with Amazon Home for home charger installation should a vehicle buyer decide they want to install a charger at their residence. Charging can be monitored via the myAudi app.

The 2021 Audi A7 TFSI e starts at $74,900, a $5,000 increase over the base gasoline-only A7 55 TSFI. It will be available in Premium Plus and Prestige trim levels (the traditional A7 55 is available in three, including the lower grade Premium offering).

Audi says that customers who purchase purchasing the 2021 Audi A7 55 TFSI e will be eligible for a federal tax credit of up to $6,712. Additional state incentives may also be available.

The model is expected to arrive in dealerships later this year.

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The Zero SR/F and SR/S are part of the Cash for Carbon offer.

Photo courtesy of Zero Motorcycles

The all-electric lineup of Zero Motorcycles delivers the power and performance many motorcyclists are seeking without a drop of fuel. Now, the automaker is delivering a deal on them as well.

Through August 15, buyers can trade-in any gas motorcycle for a $1,500 instant credit for any new Zero SR/S or SR/F motorcycle. This amount is in addition to any trade in value Zero dealerships are currently offering. When combined with the North America Federal Tax Credit buyers have the potential of saving nearly $4,000 on a new model.

The 2020 Zero Motorcycles SR/F is a looker with true motorcycle design and plenty of power.Photo courtesy of Zero Motorcycles

The Zero SR/S has a top speed 124 mph and can deliver 110 horsepower and 140 pound-feet of peak torque. The company says that it takes about 80 minutes to charge its 14.4 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery to 95 percent with the 6-kilowatt-hour Rapid Charge upgrade. It has 161 miles of range in city driving, which an be upgraded to 200 miles of range with the available Power Tank.

Zero's SR/F is a more performance-focused motorcycle than the SR/S. It offers the same power specs as the SR/S but is 20 pounds lighter (485 vs 505 in standard trims and 498 vs. 516 in premium trims). Despite being lighter, the SR/F can carry more weight (515 vs 495 pounds in standard trims and 502 vs. 484 in premium trims).

With the $1,500 credit but without other discounts and credits factored in, the Zero SR/S starts at $19,995 and the SR/F starts $500 lower at $19,495.

Zero says that each full charge of the motorcycles costs just $1.61.

The motorcycles come standard with a two-year standard motorcycle warranty and a five-year/unlimited miles power pack warranty.

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