Nissan’s premium brand Infiniti is getting ready to embrace a new era by switching to a different platform with electrification in mind and standard all-wheel drive. However, it will take a while before that will happen as the company’s product strategy vice-president, Francois Bancon, told GoAuto that new-gen models will not arrive before 2021. Why? Because the architecture won’t be ready until then.
Speaking at the Australian launch of the refreshed QX80 a few days ago in Victoria, Bancon made the promise to electrify all Infiniti models that will be launched beginning with 2021 when the company will also launch a pure EV. The first order of business as far as the lineup is concerned is to refresh the existing nameplates before adding new members. All future models are going to be electrified and the oldest ones will be updated first.
Bancon said he would have wanted to update the lineup quicker, but the switch from the current rear-wheel-drive platform to an AWD arrangement represents a “radical shift” for the company, hence why it’s a time-consuming process. He went on to mention the FM architecture underpinning the Q50, Q60, and Q70 models will be retired to make room for an electrified platform, which will “change everything” as it will require different packaging commanded by the electric motor and batteries. Bancon argues there’s no need for a RWD layout anymore when you have a combustion engine up front working together with an electric motor mounted at the back.
Chances are the Q70 will be the first to make the transition to the new hardware and it will have standard AWD with a rear-biased power distribution. Infiniti expects China to be the model’s main market by a significant margin, with up to 70 percent of the total volume going to the People’s Republic. The Q50 sedan and the Q60 coupe should follow shortly.
Meanwhile, the hot Q60-based Project Black S concept is expected to morph into a production model in the following years with roughly 500 horsepower from a racing-derived hybrid powertrain.