Infiniti’s Eau Rouge Shakes Brand Out of Its Comfort Zone

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Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge Concept

While European luxury automakers have never been afraid of getting a little ridiculous with their vehicles, their Japanese counterparts have historically played it rather safe when it comes to adding a dose of spice to their products. BMW’s M division turns out some of the best drivers’ cars on the roads today, and Mercedes-Benz’s AMG line is right up there alongside. However, Lexus (NYSE:TM) and Infiniti (NSANY.PK) have never shared the same taste for performance, with the exception of the former’s mental LFA supercar.

But Infiniti’s recent debut of the Q50 Eau Rouge concept hints that the brand’s high-performance resistance might be changing. The Eau Rouge, revealed at the North American International Auto Show, “provides a glimpse of Infiniti’s design prowess for high-performance vehicles,” the company’s statement says.

“If we built this car I would expect it to feature over 500 [horsepower] and 600 [pound-feet] of torque. Through our various alliance partners we have access to a range of engines featuring this performance capability which, with a fair amount of engineering effort, can be developed to exhibit Infiniti character and accommodated within the Q50 engine bay,” said Johan de Nysschen, the president of Infiniti. ”The engine we are evaluating for the Q50 Eau Rouge is a big personality, V-cylinder engine with forced induction. I think our engineers have been waiting for a project like this.”

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