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Infiniti sets sights on Porsche Panamera

Words ByJim Holder

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The Infiniti Q80 Inspiration concept points the way to a range-topping Mercedes S-class rival that will launch within the next five years, Francois Bacon, vice president of product strategy, has said.

However, the production car will not have many of the concept’s more extreme details and styling, which are designed to look further in to the future of car design. The 51.4mpg hybrid powertrain, made up of a 444bhp 3,0-litre V6 and 99bhp electric motor, is a production reality, however.

β€˜It is not just a styling exercise, but a very serious look at something that we intend to make. The concept is here to show that Infiniti is now ready to start work on a car that will compete in the most demanding segment on the planet,’ said Bacon.

β€˜It is a breakthrough car - one that sits on a new platform and that has a new powertrain; one that showcases new technology and new ways of working on connectivity and autonomous functions. We are studying all these technologies, and we think we can see ways of using them in production.’

In particular, Bacon highlighted the Q80 Inspiration’s infotainment systems as an area of study. β€˜We are adding more and more capability to cars, but in doing so making them very hard for owners to use and understand. People are lost in an ocean of technology,’ he said. β€˜There are ways round that that we are exploring, from having a system that recognises a driver and pre-configures a car to their preferences, all the way to having a car that recognises gestures and acts on them.’