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F1-inspired, 563-horsepower Infiniti Q60 Project Black S details finally revealed

2 Octobre 2018 - Autoblog

F1-inspired, 563-horsepower Infiniti Q60 Project Black S details finally revealed

Real-world track testing is next for the hybrid coupe

Despite being first revealed at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, Infiniti has been quite coy concerning the details of its F1-inspired hybrid super coupe, the Q60 Black S. That ends at this year's Paris Motor Show, where the company has finally spilled specific information about the car. It's technologically fascinating, even if the on-paper performance doesn't sound all that shocking.

Total power output of the concept, now called Q60 Project Black S, is 563 horsepower, with final torque figures yet to be announced. That power comes from a combination of the twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 found in the Q60 Red Sport 400, along with a trio of motor-generator units that have similar functionality as those found in the Renault Sport F1 car's KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System). One large one is connected to the rear axle and generates electricity under deceleration like most hybrids, and it can deliver 160 horsepower under acceleration. The other two motor-generators are coupled to the turbochargers. They generate power under acceleration as the turbines spin. They also act as an electrical anti-lag system, spinning up the turbines when hitting the throttle again after it has been closed in order to provide maximum boost immediately. Power for and from these motor-generators is stored in a 4.4-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. All the powertrain's power goes through a seven-speed automatic transmission to the rear wheels via a mechanical limited-slip differential. The company claims it can hit 62 mph in under 4 seconds.

One of the advantages of this powertrain is that electricity is generated both on acceleration and deceleration, which helps maintain battery charge so the motor assistance can be used more of the time. How aggressive the car is with the electrical boost is determined by which mode the vehicle is in, Road, Quali (for qualifying), or Race. Road is the most conservative, whereas Quali is the most aggressive. The reason for this is that if you're qualifying, you have to go the fastest you can in a short amount of time. A digital simulation of the car running a lap in Quali mode at Circuit de Catalunya estimated it would use 15 percent of the battery charge. That means it could do a little over six laps in that mode and maintain full use of its electrical assists. Race mode conserves battery life more, since you'll want that power over the course of the race.

A downside to the Project Black S hybrid system is that it's really heavy. Infiniti says this powertrain is 441 pounds heavier than the normal Red Sport 400 powertrain. To counteract this, the company gave the Project Black S a carbon fiber hood, roof, and fenders. The rear seats were removed, and the battery sits back there, carbon fiber front seats were fitted, and lightweight forged aluminum wheels and carbon ceramic brakes were added, among other small weight-saving changes. In all, Infiniti managed to make the Project Black S just 53 pounds heavier overall than the Red Sport 400. It also has nearly a 50/50 front/rear weight balance compared with 58/42 for the Red Sport.

Aerodynamically, the Project Black S has a number of mechanical tweaks compared with the regular Red Sport 400. The grilles have been enlarged and heat extractors added to the hood for improved cooling. The rear wing adds more downforce, and it was modeled after the wing design used on the Renault Sport F1 car for the Monza circuit. Infiniti says it has gone through a few wing designs, though, so it may change yet again.

Another high-tech aspect of the car is its control scheme. Everything is done electronically. It has throttle-by-wire, steering-by-wire and braking-by-wire. Infiniti notes that a particular advantage of brake-by-wire is that it can provide a consistent brake feel while blending regenerative and mechanical braking. The Acura NSX uses this type of braking system, too, and it works pretty well, and most cars now have throttle-by-wire. We're still not convinced by Infiniti's steer-by-wire system, though.

As for whether the Project Black S will ever be offered to the public, we'll have to wait and see. Infiniti says it's exploring the possibility of a Q60 positioned above the Red Sport 400 in performance. It would also complement the company's plans for offering electrified versions of all its models starting in 2021. It is of course a highly complex vehicle, but that didn't stop Infiniti from bringing its variable-compression engine to market. Regardless, there's still development left to do with the car. Infiniti says it will begin track-testing of the Project Black S in 2019.

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