Q50 Design: An Inheritance of Riches
• How a trio of acclaimed concepts helped shape Infiniti’s all-new sedan
Essence, Etherea, Emerg-E: three outstanding concept cars that over the past four years have helped define the seductive and individual appeal of Infiniti, the luxury performance brand.
And all cars without which the latest Infiniti, the all-new mid-size Q50 premium sedan, could not exist.
From its dynamic headlight shape to its crescent-cut C-pillar and purposeful sporting stance, the Infiniti Q50 embodies many of the most acclaimed design cues from its concept-car forebears in a spacious four-door body.
“The Q50 has Infiniti design DNA running through it,” said Alfonso Albaisa, Infiniti Executive Design Director. “A concept car to us is far more than a motor show indulgence. It is the canvas on which we paint our production car dreams. Now with the Q50 we see those dreams become real.”
Infiniti design DNA is symbolized by design that is inviting, emotional and born of inspiration from both the human and natural worlds, elements perfectly captured by the new Infiniti Q50. But it is not only the Q50’s exterior design that has been influenced by the Infiniti concept car trilogy – the interior too has benefited from designs and materials from Essence, Etherea and Emerg-E.
“Concept cars make the ideal test bed for the craftsmanship and cutting-edge technology that no Infiniti would be complete without,” added Albaisa. “The materials and designs explored in the concept cars have had a big impact on the Q50, and are a large part of the reason the interior is so special.”
Painstaking attention to detail and high quality finish are further examples of the influence the concept trilogy have wrought on the Q50. For example, the Q50’s body brings not just a flowing new elegance to the class but construction techniques so precise that panel fit is among the best available.
FROM CONCEPT TO REALITY
Six ways in which Infiniti’s famous concept car trilogy influenced the Q50
Headlights (Etherea, 2011)
The Q50’s distinctive headlights have changed little since they first previewed on Etherea. With that concept as with the Q50, the lights are very much the car’s “eyes”. Says Albaisa: “The lights allow us to define the Infiniti face more clearly than ever, providing a unique visual signature, day or night.” The light clusters incorporate daytime running lights formed out of a crescent of LEDs, a motif mirrored at the back where the lights are tautly stretched around the car in a way reminiscent of Essence.
Crescent-cut C-pillar (Essence, 2009)
One of Essence’s most distinctive design cues, the crescent-cut C-pillar is used on the Q50 in its purest and most powerful form yet, injecting dynamism into the profile and ensuring the mid-size sedan will always be instantly recognizable. Alfonso Albaisa says: “Since Essence we have known this design of the C-pillar was going to play an important role in future Infiniti production cars.”
Three-dimensional double-arch grille (Etherea, 2011)
The Infiniti double-arch grille – the top span representing the profile of a typical Japanese bridge, the lower span its reflection in the water – has long been an important part of the Infiniti “face”. For the Q50, this grille takes on a more 3-dimensional look following the lead set by the grille design of the Etherea concept with its distinctive, highly crafted steel mesh finish. The Q50’s appearance is further strengthened by the grille visually connecting to the base of the A-pillars.
Deep body section (Essence, 2009)
With its deep and steep body section the new Infiniti Q50 has some of the most complex surfaces of any car in its class. It is the result of inheriting design influences successfully advanced with Essence, whose wave-like body sections make the big luxury coupe’s styling so dramatically advanced and effective. For the Q50 the results are just as effective, with the car benefiting from particularly powerful shoulders.
Asymmetrical cabin layout (Essence, 2009, and Emerg-E, 2012)
A driver focus in the cabin is an important part of any Infiniti – as is a welcoming and relaxing front passenger compartment. Essence, and later Emerg-E, managed to achieve both in the same car with a novel Yin-Yang approach, and it is this which the Infiniti Q50 brings into the showroom in production form. The result is an asymmetrical front compartment of two distinct areas, delineated by a line that curves elegantly across the centre console.
Interior finishes (Essence, Etherea and Emerg-E)
Modern interpretations of Asia’s rich arts and crafts tradition are part of the appeal of Infiniti concept cars. They are far more to Infiniti than mere decoration, however. They are integral to who Infiniti is and what it stands for. As such many have a direct influence on the Q50, such as the aluminum inlays whose textures are based on intricate woven patterns.