PARIS -- Infiniti says a production version of its Q80 Inspiration concept will help the brand establish credibility in Europe.
Francois Goupil de Bouille, Infiniti's European boss, said a production version of the large four-door concept sedan will go on sale within three to five years.
The production car will rival models such as the Porsche Panamera.
"The Q80 Inspiration is more than a design study, it’s our new entry into the large premium segment,” de Bouille said on Wednesday at a press event to show the car to journalists.
De Bouille said the production Q80 would not be a volume model but would play a key role increasing Infiniti's sales in Europe.
“Irrespective of the volume we sell, if we want to be a challenger, we have to be credible with what we are doing, and that is what we want to demonstrate with this product,” he said.
Infiniti has struggled to make headway in Europe against German premium rivals of BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz. The brand sold 1,780 cars in the first half in the region, according to figures from JATO Dynamics.
The Q80 Inspiration is powered by a new engine for the brand, an Infiniti-designed twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 gasoline unit mated to a hybrid system. De Bouille said the engine will be fitted to an Infiniti within the next two years. Other engines will be built using the same modular construction, Infiniti said without giving details. In the Q80 concept, the engine makes 550 hp and has CO2 emissions of 129 grams per kilometer.
“We will always look to deliver the highest performance in the segment. This is one of our commitments,” de Bouille said.
The Q80 Inspiration is 5060mm long and 2010mm wide and features a redesigned grille that marks a departure from the look of the current Infiniti range.
Alfonso Albaisa, Infiniti executive design director, described the car as an “upper-premium fastback sedan.”
The concept was designed partly in London and partly in Japan. Inifiniti recently opened a new design center close to Nissan’s center in Paddington, central London.
De Bouille said no decision had been made on the platform that will underpin the production Q80. Recent comments by former Infiniti head Johan de Nysschen, however, suggested it would share Mercedes-Benz’s modular rear-wheel-drive architecture.