Infiniti and Renault Sport Formula 1 Team Create Q60 Project Black S

Infiniti has been all about showing us its true colors lately. Following the debut—and eventual quiet demise—of the Q50 Eau Rouge concept (that’s literally French for “red water” but named after the famous corner on the Spa-Francorchamps racing circuit, itself named for a nearby stream), the automaker put the somewhat less exciting Q50 Red Sport 400 on sale. Now, for the 2017 Geneva auto show, Infiniti has cooked up the Project Black S concept using the Q50’s coupe sibling, the Q60.

As the more serious-sounding name suggests, the Black S is an entirely cooler take on the Q60 than the Red Sport 400 is on the Q50. Infiniti is leveraging its “technical partnership” with the Renault Sport Formula 1 team for this road car, borrowing inspiration from the racing outfit’s hybrid powertrain tech.

Specifically, the racy-looking coupe benefits from Renault Sport’s energy recovery system (ERS), which harvests electrical energy using a pair of motor/generators, one connected to the driveline and another on the engine’s electrically-powered turbocharger. In Formula 1, the system fills a lithium-ion battery with energy when the car decelerates through a hybrid-car-like regenerative braking setup, as well as a system that converts hot exhaust gas into electricity via a motor/generator on the turbocharger turbine. The fruits of these recovery efforts are then shoved back through the two motor/generators under acceleration. The same motor/generator that harvests braking energy delivers torque directly to the engine’s crankshaft, boosting output, while the rest is used to electrically spin the turbocharger, also boosting the engine’s output while minimizing turbocharger lag.

Infiniti hints that the same basic setup has been applied to its twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6—the same one used in the Q50 Red Sport 400 sedan—and then fitted to the Project Black S, resulting in a claimed 25 percent bump in output. By our math, that’d increase the V-6’s peak horsepower from the 400-hp Red Sport 400 to an even 500 horsepower in the Black S.

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Infiniti is short on specifics about how the Formula 1 setup was adapted to the road car, but you can be sure we’re eager to try it out—particularly given how striking the Q60 Black S looks with its aerodynamic doodads, snarling intakes, and 21-inch wheels. In back, we see what looks like a seriously functional diffuser as well as two exhaust pipes that could double as sewer mains. Per Infiniti, the Black S label—as well as its F1-derived power boosters—could be rolled into a new performance brand that, ostensibly, would sit above the seemingly one-and-done Red Sport 400 treatment. We say bring it on, but Infiniti should act quickly. For now, it claims no other automaker has taken Formula 1–style ERS tech and distilled it into an automobile for the road. Our guess is that it isn’t the only company looking at doing so.

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