Can Infiniti’s High-Riding EV Sedan Get Buyers In Showrooms?

  • Nick Jaynes has worked for more than a decade in automotive media industry. In that time, he's done it all—from public relations for Chevrolet to new-car reviews for Mashable. Nick now lives in Portland, Oregon and spends his weekends traversing off-road trails in his 100 Series Toyota Land Cruiser.

can be reached at nickjaynes@gmail.com
  • Nick Jaynes has worked for more than a decade in automotive media industry. In that time, he's done it all—from public relations for Chevrolet to new-car reviews for Mashable. Nick now lives in Portland, Oregon and spends his weekends traversing off-road trails in his 100 Series Toyota Land Cruiser.

can be reached at nickjaynes@gmail.com
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Every car brand’s future is electric, it seems. And Infiniti is no different. Although it doesn’t have any electric vehicles in its showrooms yet, that will soon change. To remind us of that, the Japanese luxury automaker revealed a new all-electric sedan in Shanghai, China this week.

Dubbed the Qs Inspiration (presumably pronounced que-ess), it is a preview of a production Infiniti to come.

Infiniti says the Qs Inspiration features an electric all-wheel drive powertrain that it’s calling ‘e-AWD,’ which will coexist with its forthcoming e-POWER powertrains as well. However, other than naming the electric drive systems, Infiniti gives no further details. Presumably, these will be a mix of all-electric and plug-in hybrid powertrains that will propel future Infiniti models.

Representing INFINITI’s desire to challenge tradition, the Qs Inspiration previews a forthcoming INFINITI production model and hints at the company’s electrified future, in which the brand will offer electric and e-POWER powertrains.

 

What it did divulge, however, is that this car is a sedan that reimagines the classic three-box design. Brand designers worked hard to ensure the driver feels connected to the road while simultaneously enjoying an elevated, commanding ride height.

In short, they want to give the car the aerodynamic and driving benefits of a low-slung sedan with the SUV seating position that customers crave. If American buyers are trending toward crossovers and SUVs, why would Infiniti produce another sedan? There are a couple reasons.

Firstly, Infiniti claims that sedans are its brand’s backbone. More importantly, lower-profile vehicles with a shorter roof are more aerodynamically efficient. A fact that is essential in making a long-range EV. So, at least from an efficiency angle, it’s advantageous for Infiniti to lean toward sedans. It’s an added benefit that sedans fit in the brand wheelhouse, too.

So what does this car preview that we might see in a production model? Mostly the overall milieu. The camera-based sideview mirrors won’t be legal in the U.S., so those have to go. I don’t see door handles. Infiniti will have to add those, I presume. Otherwise, there’s nothing wholly outlandish about the design that could keep it from going into production.

Intriguingly, this Qs Inspiration looks more like a late-model Saab than it does an Infiniti. That’s a good thing, because the last Saab 9-5 was a handsome thing indeed. Without that brand around anymore, Infiniti would be wise to try to fill the void that Saab’s exit from the global car market left. That being interesting, well designed (albeit a bit conservative), and safe cars.

Will its Saab-like design be enough to bring buyers into an Infiniti store over that of, say, Audi or BMW? We’ll have to see. Given American drivers’ obsession with crossovers, and the fact that Infiniti’s competitors are pushing hard into the EV crossover segment, it’s hard to see an electric Infiniti sedan with a tall seating position steering buyers toward the brand.

Until we see pricing, performance, and range figures, though, it’s all a guess. Maybe this thing will be far more compelling than it seems at first blush.


About the Author

  • Nick Jaynes has worked for more than a decade in automotive media industry. In that time, he's done it all—from public relations for Chevrolet to new-car reviews for Mashable. Nick now lives in Portland, Oregon and spends his weekends traversing off-road trails in his 100 Series Toyota Land Cruiser.

can be reached at nickjaynes@gmail.com
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