Why the 2014 Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge matters: Nissan's luxury brand is making a strong pitch for credibility—and sales—in the premium sectors of the market, and its new 2014 Infiniti Q50 is supposed to be setting the pace. It's the new entry point to the Infiniti brand, helping to introduce a revamped naming scheme that, in theory, also heralds a revamped lineup. And while the car has had some modest success, leading Infiniti in sales in December and earning a handful of year-end awards for its cutting-edge drive-by-wire system, a high-performance range-topper certainly wouldn't hurt its prospects any.
Which is where the 2014 Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge could come into play. Launched recently at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the concept vehicle features a restyled, highly aerodynamic appearance inspired by the world of Formula 1 racing, where the brand backs four-time driving champion Sebastian Vettel and the Infiniti Red Bull Racing team. In fact, the name of the vehicle comes from a particularly challenging stretch of Belgium's Spa-Francorchamps racetrack.
"The Eau Rouge corner complex is one of the most challenging and satisfying parts of any circuit in the F1 calendar," explained Vettel, who also happens to be director of Performance for the Infiniti brand. "The speed through it, the initial compression, extreme lateral G-forces and blind apex, give you a big rush. Get it right and it's incredibly rewarding. But it can also catch you out."
Now, the brand has yet to confirm that the 2014 Infiniti Q50 will go into production, but Johan de Nysschen, president of Infiniti Motor Company Limited, did say that: "Q50 Eau Rouge hints at a design language that we could extend to potential future performance models."