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Infiniti unveiled the Q80 Inspiration concept today ahead of the Paris Motor Show, previewing the future of its sedans.

A 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged direct injection V6 creates 450 hp on its own, but comes paired with a nine-speed automatic and a hybrid system that pushes overall output to 550 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque. Infiniti says the electric portion of the powertrain is programmed to cover turbo lag for a more linear feeling of acceleration. Infiniti said today that this is an all-new aluminum-based engine that is part of a new engine family set to be introduced over the next two years. Furthermore, the company plans to double the number of engines it offers over the next five years.

The car powers its rear wheels under normal driving conditions, but it can send up to 50 percent of the torque to the front if need be. Drivers can also manually maintain the all-wheel drive mode if they prefer.

Infiniti is previewing its vision for a full-size flagship sedan. Appropriately, it’s a very big car at just over 79 inches wide and a little more than 199 inches long, which means its just a little shorter than the current Mercedes S-Class and slightly wider. The wheels are made of milled lightweight aluminum alloy and have a 22-inch diameter. In keeping with that segment, the rear seats are focused on limousine luxury and feature a silver-plated beverage flask. Cheers.

Nissan’s luxury brand already builds vehicles with especially expressive styling, but the Q80 inspiration concept goes a step further and the company says this is a preview of what it plans for future vehicles. Exactly how much of that will make it through to a production flagship or other Infinti models isn’t clear, but if Nissan’s translation from concept to production for the new Murano are any indication, quite a bit of inspiration will remain in the real thing.

Mind you, some of it will probably remain in the automotive world’s imaginary realm. The concept boasts four-person individual seating and that part will almost definitely be scrapped before the production model debuts. But Infiniti is also being suspiciously specific with its interior material choice and with any luck the generously implemented Alcantara and saddle leather will see through to showroom floors. Continuing the luxo-ranch material theme, the front row foot wells are carpeted with horse hair that – frankly – we would pass on.

Infiniti-Q80-Concept-23.jpgOne way or another, the Inspiration concept is a good window for what to expect from future Infiniti products. As is the case with other manufacturers, the Japanese luxury brand is drawing closer to offering autonomous vehicles and this car includes a peek at what they have. The Q50 currently boasts one of the auto industry’s most advanced adaptive cruise control systems and this takes it several steps further.

In fact, the company says its new system uses a head-up display and tones to communicate with the driver. For example, the car will suggest times to overtake the car ahead, but nothing will happen until the driver authorizes that move.

It’s a concept car for now, but Infiniti isn’t being shy about saying it plans to enter the full-size luxury sedan segment. The company pointed to the timeline it maintained for the Q30 where the concept car debuted a year ago in Frankfurt with production slated to start sometime next year. If that remains true, the road going Q80 should arrive in 2016.
See more photos of the Infiniti Q80 Concept at
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