Hybrid sports coupe is still just a concept… Build it, guys!
Infiniti has announced full details about its Project Black S, unveiled at the Paris motor show overnight.
Based on the Q60 Red Sport 400 coupe, the Project Black S is designed to show what Infiniti can do when electrification and petrol power combine. The car’s dual-hybrid powertrain blends a 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 engine with a trio of electric motor generator units (MGU).
One recovers energy through a form of regenerative braking, two are hooked up to the turbochargers to generate energy from the hot exhaust gases driving the turbines. They feed a 4.4kWh battery pack, at which point it’s deployed in a number of different ways.
For one, it can be used as an electrically-assisted anti-lag system, spooling the turbochargers more quickly. Secondly, it can feed an extra 122kW to the wheels through an electric motor, bumping the V6 engine’s power output from 298kW to 420kW.
As a result, it’ll hit 100km/h in less than four seconds. Along with the extra grunt, the hybrid system allows for a more aggressive launch control, which also contributes to that impressive acceleration time.
There are three different drive modes: Road, Race and Quali. Road recharges the battery on the move, and is designed to offer a power boost when required, and an efficiency boost under regular conditions.
Race makes the regenerative braking more aggressive, and leans more heavily on the electric motor on the way out of corners, but aims to balance performance with the energy efficiency required to last a full race. Quali is a one-lap hero mode, aimed purely at extracting the best-possible lap time with no regard for conserving energy.
There’s more to the Project Black S than the hybrid powertrain. On the outside, it’s like a Q60 took a bunch of steroids. The front splitter is lower and wider than before, with gaping air intakes feeding the a new intercooler for the twin-turbo V6, while the bonnet has gained a pair of nostrils.
Down back, the diffuser is bigger and the twin exhaust meaner than before, while the rear wing is running the same angle of attack as the RenaultSport F1 car at Monza.
Although the hybrid system adds 200kg to the car’s weight, Infiniti says lightweight panels like a carbon bonnet, fenders and roof, help claw the majority of those extra kilograms back. Also helping with the weight-shedding is a set of forged 21-inch aluminium wheels, behind which hide a set of carbon-ceramic brakes.
The interior has been given a racy makeover, with a new combination black-and-yellow colour scheme dominating proceedings. The centre console is trimmed in carbon, and houses a trio of controllers for the ABS, traction control and hybrid system. Essentially everything can be customised, because essentially everything is controlled by wire.
In fact, the steering, throttle and brakes are all fully electric. The Q60/Q50 have come in for some hefty criticism over their by-wire steering systems, but it appears Infiniti is doubling down on the idea of a fully by-wire control system.
“Infiniti has reached another milestone on its road to electrification. Building on the strength and success of the electric vehicle expertise of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance, Infiniti is showing the Project Black S, a high-performance prototype with F1 technology resulting from collaboration within the Alliance,” said Roland Krueger, Infiniti president.
“Project Black S utilises high power and smart energy management from advanced powertrains, a thrilling dynamic capability on road and track, and a performance-oriented aesthetic.”
At the moment, the Project Black S is just a concept. That was also the case when the first iteration of this car, also called the Project Black S, was revealed at the 2017 Geneva motor show. Sure, we’ve got more power this time around, but it’s not the production car we’d hoped for.
With that said, the official Infiniti release says the concept previews “a potential sports grade” for the brand. Additionally, the local arm has previously voiced keen interest on a flagship performance model to take on the best from BMW and Mercedes-AMG. Fingers crossed.
MORE: Infiniti Q60 news, reviews, comparisons and video
MORE: Infiniti news, reviews, comparisons and videos