Infiniti QX Inspiration: The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face
“I thought the sun rose in your eyes, and the moon and the stars were the gifts you gave … to the dark … and the endless skies, my love,” sang Roberta Flack in the heady and decadent early ’70s. Suffice it to say this writer didn’t feel the earth move in his hand upon gazing at the Infiniti QX Inspiration, not did his heart tremble like a captive bird.
The QX Inspiration, like the Q Inspiration concept of 2018, heralds Infiniti’s electric — or at least electrified — future, and it’s a future without a face.
On Friday, Infiniti dropped the towel on its concept crossover ahead of a debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. While the concept’s sedan counterpart made do with a slightly more conventional (but still clearly electric) front fascia, the QX Inspiration goes the creepy route taken by some of Volkswagen’s concepts. Much plastic acreage, but little in the way of grille. No grille at all, really. Just some black mesh along the lower fascia, a hood gap, and two vents leading to the air curtain fenders.
Premium automakers like Audi and Mercedes-Benz kept things pretty traditional while crafting their first electric crossovers for fear of scaring off loyal customers. Meanwhile, the always-electric Tesla gave up mimicking air-sucking internal combustion cars and dropped the fake grille on its Model S after the debut of the Model 3. Hyundai and Kia’s EVs also reside in the “less face” camp.
Still, tall vehicle have a lot of space to fill, and, as tall vehicles are what buyers want, today’s trend of absolutely gigantic grilles fits the consumer shift just fine.
Getting back to the QX Inspiration — while Infiniti plans a number of electric and electrified models in the coming decade, there’s no word yet on how this concept generates its power. There is, however, a clue.
In a release, the automaker said the QX Inspiration “represents Infiniti’s plans for high-performance electrified vehicles, offering complete range confidence while signaling a new era for Infiniti design enabled by new technology.”
Complete range confidence, eh? Seems to this writer that Infiniti’s signalling the domestic debut of parent company Nissan’s novel e-Power setup, which we learned last year the company was having difficulty adapting to heavier vehicles. With e-Power, already offered in the Japanese-market Nissan Note, a small gasoline engine running at a fixed speed generates electricity on the fly, which is then routed to a low-capacity battery to power an AC motor. The end result is instantaneous EV torque, low fuel consumption, and the ability to keep driving after actual EVs would have to charge up. It’s also relatively cheap.
As for Infiniti’s timeline for this and other vehicles, we’ll have to wait until the QX Inspiration’s January 14th debut.