Infiniti’s sinister Q60 Project Black S coupe has progressed from the concept stage to a working prototype. The latest version will be presented on Tuesday at the 2018 Paris auto show to help kick off the Japanese brand’s new electrification push.
The Q60 Project Black S is a high-performance version of Infiniti’s Q60 coupe and packs a hybrid powertrain developed with technology found in Renault’s Formula 1 race cars. Renault is an alliance partner of Infiniti parent company Nissan and worked with Infiniti on the energy recovery system on its F1 car.
A concept of the Q60 Project Black S (shown below) was first shown at the 2017 Geneva auto show. In the latest prototype, Infiniti pairs the 400-horsepower 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 of the Q60 Red Sport 400 with three electric motor-generators for a combined output of 563 horses, or enough for 0-60 mph acceleration in under 4.0 seconds.
Each of the turbochargers features one motor-generator (MGU-H), with the the third motor-generator mated to the engine (MGU-K). The MGU-H units can recover energy from the exhaust regardless if the car is accelerating or braking, and with the recovered energy they can charge a battery, in this case a 4.4-kilowatt-hour unit, as well as help spin their respective turbo’s compressor wheels. Meanwhile the MGU-K recovers energy under braking and helps the engine power the wheels.
The setup is the same as in F1 though F1 cars only have a single turbo and thus a single MGU-H unit. Infiniti calls the setup a “dual-hybrid” powertrain.
The Q60 Project Black S also leverages F1 know-how when it comes to aerodynamics, particularly in the area of downforce. This expertise is no more evident than in the design of the rear wing, whose aero properties have been validated by the Renault F1 team’s aerodynamicists. We’re told the wing’s aero profile is similar to the low downforce setting used by Renault’s F1 car at high-speed circuits like Monza.
Compared to the original concept we saw in 2017, the latest prototype version of the Q60 Project Black S has been made lighter, though it’s still relatively heavy at 3,915 pounds. The prototype has also been fitted with a motorsport-inspired interior, and it is the first Infiniti to feature by-wire controls for not only the steering but also the throttle, gear shifts and even braking. In the case of the brakes, Infiniti says by-wire technology helps to deliver a consistent feel and high heat resistance even with heavy brake use.
Right now Infiniti says the Q60 Project Black S has been developed as a “test-bed” for new ideas and technologies, however a number of executives have hinted at a production version coming down the line. Infiniti also goes as far as stating that the prototype shows the potential for a new model grade above the current Red Sport level.
Further testing of the Q60 Project Black S is scheduled to continue through 2019 and the last we heard is that a production version could arrive around 2020.