A vision from the future
Photography | Kimio Ng
DoP | Jeffrey Lam
Words | Richard Kelley
Design | Franco Au-Yeung
Translation | Sobe Chow

In a limiting age where we’ve forgotten how to dream of the future, Infiniti presents us with an opportunity to once again imagine vehicles derived from inspired technology, with the arrival of the Q80 “Inspiration” at the newly unveiled Infiniti LAB HK space. 

Organically derived, elegantly sculptured, an yet decisively muscular, this 550hp luxury sedan materialises like a vision from the future we were promised. It is the epitome of provocation, a car that breaks the mould of traditional premium sedan dimension, body form and passenger usability.

Outside, the Inspiration offers clean-sheet-of-paper thinking on aerodynamics, safety and efficiency. Inside, the driver is empowered with a choice of connected or autonomous driver environments, each boosted by an interconnected network of systems that processes vital information 10,000 times faster than the human brain. 

Long and sleek, fastback in silhouette, with feminine elegance and muscular menace in well-matched measure, the Q80 Inspiration represents both the definitive design language for all future Infiniti vehicles and more importantly, an attainable vision that encourages us to dream once again of what the future holds for us. 

The Q80 Inspiration concept was envisioned as a pre-cursor to re-defining and simplifying how a near-future car would interact with people. Rather than follow the path of adding complexity as you add features and technology, the Q80 Inspiration employs key features which are premium, smart and engaging, based instead on simplicity and predictive need.

Key to the Inspiration’s new “predictive need” initiative is creating a human-centric driving experience, where sophisticated interconnected quidance, and suspension systems operate behind the scene, only displaying essential information. Drivers are free from bafflingly complex details they don’t need and interfaces they don’t understand.

Infiniti considers that autonomous driving will be an integral part of a premium car of tomorrow. Yet, rather than decree an owner face an either/or decision, the Q80 Inspiration empowers drivers by having both systems remain at hand, and always on-demand. The driver can choose the time and the place, via an ongoing dialogue with the autonomous driving technology system. With its cameras, lasers, sensors, and SatNav link, the system is ready should the driver choose to utilise the driving assistance at his/her own discretion through a button on the left-hand side of the steering wheel. The final decision on any deployment will always rests with the driver.

The Inspiration’s body design is an active form-follows-function concept. Framing the Infiniti emblem is a full-scale, chrome-edged front grille that innovatively blends dramatic style, cooling and aerodynamics. Organic and three-dimensional, like the pulsing gills of a cruising whale, at town speeds the gills part to flow air into the engine, sealing again as road speeds increase, to direct air over the wide, curving hood.

Once rolling across the hood, the cool air ‘drags’ hot engine bay air out of slender, finely meshed, full length hood vents. The eye may observe these vents as attractive style lines, but they are there to cool each turbocharger. Once the air flows past the hood, it is directed, via the body’s broad, sculpted “shoulders”, to flow into the C-pillar vents, thus cooling the hybrid batteries.

After dark, powerful LED headlamps offer independently controlled bulbs for brightness, and in some cases direction, to illuminate the way ahead in the most efficient and elegant manner.

Linked to the car’s satellite navigation system, these headlights already understand what road contours await and automatically concentrate and adjust brightness for best effect – showing consistent, white light to those onboard; greatly reducing travel fatigue.

Inside, passengers are surrounded by quilted bespoke leather seats and floor trim, with the sleek Alcantara, leather and metal finishes all bathed in light from the sculptural panoramic glass roof.

Once seated, guests access their off board/open source information from mail and messaging to games or any internet provided services, via their smartphone. The two individual rear seats also allow each passenger to customise their interactive experience, from a custom-built touch screen mounted in the back of the front seat headrest. Their choices include TV and DVDs options.

Power is delivered through an all-new, downsized twin turbocharged 3.0-liter V6, coupled to an innovative hybrid drivetrain. The “smart” drivetrain reinforces the sporty appeal with the ability to switch from rear wheel drive to all wheel drive on demand, or as conditions dictate.

Infiniti is clear that naming the Q80 Inspiration isn’t merely marketing ; rather the Q80 design language will inspire their entire portfolio and be the basis all of Infiniti’s future products.

For us, tomorrow can’t arrive fast enough.

Infiniti LAB HK
2/F, Hopewell Centre
183 Queen’s Road East
Wan Chai, Hong Kong