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Infiniti’s Q50 Eau Rouge Concept may not be all F1, but it’s enough to get your heart racing

At first glance, we thought the Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge was just the brand’s carbon fiber-clad attempt at attracting F-Sport fans away from the Lexus booth. And, while there’s a possibility that it’ll just be a racy-looking Q50, there’s also a chance that it could be much, much more than that, if the car makes it to production.

Infiniti revealed the Q50 Eau Rouge to pay homage to its success in Formula One with its Red Bull Racing team. That team is currently ranked No. 1 in the F1 circuit, thanks to some outstanding driving by Sebastian Vettel. So, we think Infiniti may see Eau Rouge more as an opportunity to celebrate their victories, and they’re doing it up the right way. We may finally see an Infiniti that can compete side-by-side with BMW M5 and Mercedes E63 AMG.

Looking at the exterior, the Q50 Eau Rouge is a wider, beefier version of the already-attractive Q50 sedan. The body work, rear spoiler and rear fog-lamp take their inspiration from the Red Bull RB9 race car, and the Eau Rouge is painted a shade of, well, rouge, that’s bespoke to the concept. Inside, the wheel has a little more girth for better grip, and the paddle shifters seem to take their inspiration from Formula One as well.

 It’s the little hint that Infiniti President Johan de Nysschen gave us about the drivetrain that really gets, us though. He claims that, if the car goes into production, it will produce “over 500 horsepower and 600-lb/ft of torque,” and that his “engineers have been waiting for a project like this.”

If Infiniti does choose to pursue the Eau Rouge project, we’re speculating that the car might receive the GT-R’s engine transmission, which would give Infiniti its very first supercar…

…and one the whole family can enjoy.

What do you think of the Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge Concept? Let us know in the comments below.

Looking for more Detroit news? Check out the rest of our coverage from the 2014 North American International Auto Show.

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Davis Adams
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Whether you're talking about gadgets or cars, Davis always seems to prefer "next year's models." He's a neophile to the core…
Toyota’s stunning FT-1 concept takes the Detroit Auto Show by storm
Toyota FT 1 front angle

The 2014 Detroit Auto Show is underway and Toyota is taking it by storm. Today it released the FT-1 concept car, and all I can say is "wow." This is a car that makes me have inappropriate thoughts.
Developed the Toyota’s Calty design studio and pitched to head honcho Akio Toyoda himself, the FT-1 represents the future of Toyota design. Akio Toyoda wants to build cars that make people say “I want this … I HAVE to drive this!”
In fact FT-1 stands for “Future Toyota One”. Okay, so the name isn’t great, but if this is the future of Toyota sign me up. 
According to head designer Alex Shen, “Function Sculpting” was at the heart of the design. The words might just be so much design clap-trap, but the result is that this car looks like it is ready to drive off the plinth and do a blistering track time. 
The proportions are absolutely classic sports car. I love that the hood is two-thirds of the length, and that the driver is almost sitting on top of the rear wheels. This thing just looks mean … and fast. In fact, from the side, the FT-1 reminds me of an SRT Viper and - trust me - that’s a good thing.

The front looks like it gets its inspiration from a Formula One car, with its aggressive protuberant nose. But its not all race car futurism, the headlights and the sweep back up the hood to a glass engine cover, are all classic sports car lines. It’s a stunning combination of aggression and sensuous style. And on this car the promise of speed doesn't look to be an idle boast.
On the interior, the cockpit is surprisingly down to earth and focused for a concept, reinforcing the feeling that this is no mere show car. You get fancy touches like a heads up display and a steering wheel that has been hosed down with buttons, but mostly you get a racing driving position with excellent fields of vision.
Sitting here writing, I can’t tell you how much I want to drive this thing. I am willing this car to be the next Toyota Supra so hard my eyes are about to start bleeding. And there is hope that my mental anguish might not be for naught, because we know that Toyota and BMW are planning on building a joint sports car. Can it please look like this?
To get a taste of what the FT-1 is like, we don’t even have to wait that long because starting to tomorrow the car will be available for download in Gran Turismo 6. In fact the final part of the pitch by the design team to Mr. Toyoda was getting him to drive the FT-1 on his PS4, once he beat his real life time in a Lexus LFA he was sold.
Its all because this car is the epitome of Toyota’s new design philosophy: Waku Doki. Literally translated it means a palpable heart-pounding sense of excitement. After seeing the FT-1, I prefer to use a slightly more American spin: YEEEE-HAH!
First-look video

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Volkswagen teases its own Baja Bug, the Beetle Dune Concept
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We have all seen them: beat up old VW bugs with off-road tires, brush bars, and an ominous looking engine protruding from the ferrous oily cavity at the back. These Baja Bugs look like one of the most exciting, rewarding ways to become a paraplegic. Now VW wants to get in on the action with its Beetle Dune concept, debuting at the Detroit Auto Show next week.
Of course, these are Germans we are talking about, so the Dune concept is all together more refined and sensible. VW's engineers took the regular Beetle, lifted it by two inches, added some side skirts, and bolted some skis to the roof. This may not be nearly extreme as some of the dune conquering monsters of the '70s, but it's likely to be much easier on the ol' spine.
Fortunately, you are compensated for this extreme Teutonic practicality with a bit of engineering magic. The Dune's running gear comes from the R-Line Beetle, and that's great. The Dune gets an awesome 210 horsepower turbocharged TSI four cylinder. This engine makes the R-Line shockingly fun to drive, with almost go-kart like driving mechanics.
The Dune should get basically the same suspension set-up as the R-Line and that is also good news. With a two-inch lift, the Dune is likely to be a bit less sporty and a bit more lean-y in the corners. But that's the unrelenting laws of physics for you.
VW hasn't decided whether it will produce the Beetle Dune or not. But my guess is that it is at least a possibility. Producing the Dune shouldn't be too difficult. After all, it uses primarily existing components. So, really, it is just a question of interest. And, for what has always been a bit of a lifestyle vehicle, why not get it with some extra ground clearance and a ski rack? 

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Infiniti gives first glimpse at the Q50 Eau Rouge concept performance sedan. Surprise, it’s red

Early last month, Infiniti teased the concept car it’ll be bringing to the 2014 Detroit Auto Show. It’s called the Q50 Eau Rouge. And, despite its stupid name, it is shaping up to be a pretty impressive car.
What you see above is the first full image of the thing that we’ve seen yet. Although it resembles the Q50 sedan on which it’s based, the body has been re-sculpted for aerodynamics and formed entirely out of carbon fiber. In total, it’s lower and wider than the standard Q50, not to mention lighter.
The Eau Rouge was designed in collaboration with Infiniti’s Red Bull Racing Formula 1 team and features 21-inch forged alloy wheels and a dual-exit exhaust sports system that juts out beneath the large integrated rear spoiler.

Infiniti is quick to point out that that rear aerodynamic tweaks draw inspiration from the RB9 F1 car. And I am sure it does, just like how the Epcot Center draws inspiration from European countries.
So will Infiniti build the Eau Rouge? If it wants to compete with the all-new BMW M3 it will. Right now, though, the Germans have the keys to the performance sedan castle.
If you’re keen to know more about the Q50 Eau Rouge, you’ll need to check back when the North American Auto Show kicks into full gear in a week and a half. We’ll be on the show floor so be sure to check back for more.

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