There’s a handful of very big fish in the luxury pond, and it seems like the past several months have been filled with one major announcement after another. BMW has shown us its spunky 2 Series and high performance M3 and M4 models. Cadillac has debuted its new Escalade, eco-premium ELR and sporty ATS Coupe. And, Mercedes has played the field with its flagship S-Class, ever-popular C-Class, and surprisingly affordable CLA– and GLA-Class pint-sized sedan and crossover.
It might not come as a surprise, then, that Infiniti hasn’t had the easiest time stepping out of the shadows of those larger brands. Yes, it launched the Q50 mid-sized sedan, including the Eau Rouge Concept that left us lusty after Detroit. Even that car, though, seems surprisingly absent from today’s highways.
However, after a conversation with our friends over at Car and Driver, Infiniti USA boss, Michael Bartsch, has us very hopeful for the next couple years’ worth of products headed our way.
Over the next two years, Infiniti plans to focus on its smaller models, since they’re parts of the faster-growing segments. We know that the Q30 Concept is headed to production as a part of Infiniti’s recent partnership with Mercedes, and it’ll be based on the same platform as the CLA-Class. With the not-so-surprising sales success that has followed the launch of the CLA, and shoppers’ burgeoning demand for crossovers in the US, we think Infiniti will likely have a winner with this one right out of the gate.
Stepping up a size in the crossover department, the old EX35/37 (now known as the QX50) will be refreshed, likely to sit on the Q50’s new chassis. The QX50 should grow in size to better compete with vehicles like the Audi Q5 and BMW X3, and there’s a chance that we may even find a hybrid model added to the lineup, too.
Plus, there’s the G37, which is still on sale as the brand’s basest model, will be renamed to the Q40. The automaker has postponed its deletion of that product, even though the Q50 was meant to replace it, as a way to offer an entry-level sedan for shoppers, without discounting the price of the new vehicle.
However, it’s the five-year plan that gets us most excited, even if there are fewer details available at this point in the game. Bartsch hinted that there will be a full-size flagship sedan headed to market, as well a flagship sports car. While these vehicles are slated closer to 2016/2017, they’ll likely be the cars that really put Infiniti on the map as legitimate competitors for Lexus, BMW, and the rest of the luxury regime.
The sedan will probably debut as a competitor for cars like the Lexus LS and BMW 7-Series, though we’re told that Infiniti will likely choose high-output V6 engines (potentially with hybrid components) in lieu of the more traditional V8s seen in other vehicles. The brand also plans to launch its Eau Rouge performance division, which should target some of our other favorite sub-brands, including M, AMG, F, and RS.
There’s almost no information available about the performance coupe, but we’ve seen Infiniti’s Emerg-E and Essence concepts in the past, and we’ll happily welcome those to the roads without hesitation. We do know, however, that the Q60 sports coupe should arrive in the next 2-3 years.