Infiniti Shows Off New Project Black S Concept

As major auto shows die out around the world Geneva stands alone as the last bastion of the genre. Major manufacturers still flock to Geneva to make major announcements and unveil new cars and concepts.

Nissan’s premium Infiniti brand will unveil their new Project Black S a high performance varient of the Q60 coupe.

The Project Black S features an aerodynamically-optimised new design. It also hints at how a performance hybrid powertrain – developed in collaboration with the Renault Sport Formula One Team – could significantly enhance the performance and dynamics of an INFINITI production car.

The performance hybrid powertrain being explored through Project Black S features an ‘energy recovery system’ (ERS) to harvest energy, deploying recovered electric power to boost power and torque. The result is instant, significant, lag-free acceleration. Inspired by the dual-hybrid system proven in Formula One, the technology does not yet exist in a current road car. 

The unveiling of the Project Black S concept at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show will help to gauge potential interest in high-performance derivatives of INFINITI cars.

After five years as a sponsor in Formula One with the Red Bull team, INFINITI made the move to become a technical partner in 2016. Drawing on the expertise gained developing hybrid technologies during this time, the company has supported the Renault Sport FormulanOne Team’s development of a dual-hybrid powertrain with an ‘energy recovery system’ (ERS), contributing knowledge in hybrid technology and additional engineering resources.

The F1 inspired Energy recovery system could contribute to a 25% increase in power for INFINITI’s new 3.0-litre V6 twin-turbo engine.

“INFINITI is leading the way with innovative new powertrain technology for consumers, such as the award-winning 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 engine, and VC-Turbo, the world’s first production-ready variable compression ratio engine. With Project Black S, we are looking at how a unique performance hybrid energy recovery system could be adapted from Formula One for use on the road.” Francois Bancon, Vice President, Global Product Strategy,

The energy harvested by each of the MGUs is stored in high-rate discharge lithium-ion batteries, with the recovered electric power deployed to rotate the crankshaft and turbocharger turbine blades more quickly.

Project Black S explores how MGU technology, paired with high-rate discharge batteries, could be adapted for road use. A production car with Formula One-inspired performance hybrid technology would benefit from greater power and torque, and instant, lag-free acceleration. INFINITI powertrain engineers have calculated that a performance hybrid ERS could contribute to an approximate 25% improvement in maximum power output.

INFINITI believes the Q60 sports coupe could provide the ideal platform for a performance hybrid powertrain, and the concept vehicle revealed in Geneva features a range of further modifications to realise maximum performance. These include a new high-performance titanium twin exhaust system, maximizing the efficiency of air flow through the powertrain.

Project Black S also suggests how lightweight 21-inch wheels and wider performance tyres could be deployed for greater traction, while hinting at a weight reduction program to fully offset the additional weight of the performance hybrid system. A ‘Black S’ production car could also benefit from further tuning and modifications to the chassis and suspension.

 Project Black S hints at a more aggressive, performance-enhanced offering from INFINITI. Design work has been led by INFINITI’s London studio in Paddington, under the management of the INFINITI Global Design Centre in Japan. The INFINITI Design London team has created an interpretation of the Q60 sports coupe with Formula One-inspired, performance hybrid power in mind.

The concept vehicle is finished in matt grey and black. Gloss black trim replaces the chrome found on the standard car, which surrounds the double-arch grille and lines the crescent-cut C-pillar.

Large front splitter, rear diffuser, fenders and side skirts are all constructed out of carbon fibre to minimise weight and enhance downforce, while ultra-thin aero ‘blades’ in the side sills ahead of the rear wheels channel air around the lower body of the car. A large fixed rear wing – also made of carbon fibre – stands proud of the trunk lid, increasing downforce at speed.

Deep body stamping from the Q60’s manufacturing process allows the Project Black S to retain the sports coupe’s deep creases and flowing lines. For the concept, INFINITI designers have wrought a series of changes to create a more daring – even aggressive – design execution.

Enlarged air intakes at the front of the car are more effective at channeling cooling air into the engine bay and brakes, and new hood vents help evacuate heat. At the rear, the body is shaped to allow circulating air to escape as quickly and efficiently as possible, aided by vertical aero foils and the large rear wing for maximum downforce and high-speed stability.

Forged 21-inch aluminum alloy wheels – highlighted by wheel arch extensions – are larger, wider and lighter than those on the standard Q60, adding to the performance image of the concept while also reducing unsprung mass and rotational inertia at each corner.

Project Black S suggests what a ‘Black S’ grade could offer customers, and the concept’s debut in Geneva will help INFINITI gauge potential interest in daring high-performance derivatives of its cars that benefit from genuine motorsport technology.

Which is probably code for: It’ll probably never be built.

With INFINITI Media Release.

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