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    Detroit Auto Show: 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Packs Supercharged Power


    • The 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Can Make You Forget About The ZR1


    Take everything that love about the Corvette Z06 and ZR1, mash them up, and put it into the C7. What do you end up with? Most likely the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 which premiered at the Detroit Auto Show today.

    The 2015 Z06 is much more aggressive than the model it replaces. Compared to the standard Corvette Stingray, the Z06 2.2-inches wider up front and 3.15-inches wider in the back to make room for bigger tires and brakes. Chevrolet moved such items such as hood vents and rear taillights to keep the Z06 proportioned nicely. There are also flared out fenders, larger vents, and a new inlet design on the rear fenders to get cool air to the transmission and differential coolers.

    The Z06 will be available with three different downforce packages.

    • Standard will be a front splitter, spats around the front wheel openings, carbon-fiber hood with larger vents, and a rear spoiler.
    • Optional is a carbon-fiber aero package that adds a front splitter with aviation-style winglets, rocker panels, and a larger rear spoiler with a fixed wickerbill (a small, vertical tab on the spoiler to increase downforce)
    • Finally, there is the Z07 package that adds larger winglets to the front splitter and a adjustable, see-through center section on the rear spoiler for track use

    Under the hood of the 2015 Z06 is a variation of the LT1 called the LT4. The LT4 is a supercharged 6.2L V8 engine that produces "at least" 625 horsepower and 635 pound-feet of torque. This is thanks to a new 1.7-liter Eaton supercharger and intercooler that can spin at up to 20,000 rpm. The LT4 is also fitted with Chevrolet's Active Fuel Management, as well as direct injection and variable valve timing to keep fuel economy in check.

    Two transmissions on offer for the Z06. First is a seven-speed manual fitted with a new dual-mass flywheel and dual-disc clutch. The other is a new eight-speed automatic which Chevrolet claims "wide-open-throttle upshifts executed up to eight-hundredths of a second quicker than the dual-clutch in the Porsche 911." Paddle-shift for the automatic will be standard.

    Other mechanical bits on the Z06 include six-pot Brembo brakes, a revised suspension with Magnetic Ride Control, and electronic limited-slip differential. If you opt for the Z07 package, the standard brakes morph into larger Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes and a set of Pilot Sport Cup tires.

    Inside, the Z06 gets such niceties as a flat-bottom steering wheel, a choice of GT and Competition Sport seats, and Napa leather, aluminum, carbon fiber and micro-suede lining the interior. The Z06 will also feature a removable roof panel for the first time. This is thanks to a new aluminum frame that is 60 percent stiffer than the ZR1 when the panel is on and 20 percent stiffer when its off.

    The 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 goes on sale early next year.

    Source: Chevrolet

    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.comor you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

    Press Release is on Page 2


    2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 is Most Capable, Ever

    • Enters supercar territory with race-proven design, advanced technologies and world-class performance
    • With the track-focused Z07 performance package, the 2015 Corvette Z06 delivers faster lap times than the 2014 Corvette ZR1
    • The first Corvette Z06 to offer a supercharged engine, a removable roof panel, and an available paddle-shift automatic transmission

    DETROIT – Chevrolet today introduced the most track-capable Corvette in the brand's history – the 2015 Corvette Z06. It elevates the performance envelope for Corvette with unprecedented levels of aerodynamic downforce, at least 625 horsepower from an all-new supercharged engine, and an all-new, high-performance eight-speed automatic transmission – all building on the advanced driver technologies introduced on the Corvette Stingray.

    "The new Z06 delivers levels of performance, technology and design that rival the most exotic supercars in the world," said Mark Reuss, president, General Motors North America. "And the Z06 leverages the engineering expertise of GM, offering the choice of two world-class transmissions, supercar performance without supercar fuel consumption, and technologies that make it easier to fully enjoy the incredible experience of driving it."

    The 2015 model is the first Corvette Z06 to offer a supercharged engine, an automatic transmission and, thanks to a stronger aluminum frame, a removable roof panel. The new, supercharged 6.2L engine is expected to deliver at least 625 horsepower (466 kW), and can be matched with either a seven-speed manual or an all-new, high-performance eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters for manual control. The aluminum frame carries over from the Corvette Stingray and will also be used essentially unchanged for the Corvette Racing C7.R.

    A track-focused Z07 Performance Package adds unique components for true aerodynamic downforce, Michelin Pilot Super Sport Cup tires for enhanced grip, and Brembo carbon ceramic-matrix brake rotors that improve braking performance and contribute to greater handling through reduced unsprung weight. Although development testing is ongoing, the Z07 package has already recorded some of the fastest lap times ever for a Corvette, surpassing even the ZR1.

    "The Corvette Z06 is a great example of the technology transfer between racing and production Corvettes," said Tadge Juechter, Corvette chief engineer. "First, we took what we learned on the Corvette Racing C6.R and applied that to the all-new Corvette Stingray. Then, using the Stingray as a foundation, the Z06 and C7.R were developed to push the envelope of performance on the street and the track."

    Supercharged, efficient performance

    The heart of the 2015 Corvette Z06 is the all-new LT4 6.2L supercharged V-8 engine, expected to deliver an estimated 625 horsepower (466 kW) and 635 lb.-ft. of torque (861 Nm). To balance performance and efficiency, the LT4 leverages the same trio of advanced technologies introduced on the Corvette Stingray: Direct injection, Active Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation) and continuously variable valve timing.

    These technologies – combined with the fuel-efficient multi-speed transmissions, aerodynamic design and lightweight construction – help make the new Z06 surprisingly fuel-efficient.

    "The supercharged LT4 engine delivers the greatest balance of performance and efficiency ever in the Corvette," said John Rydzewski, assistant chief engineer for Small-Block engines. "It is one of the world's only supercharged engines to incorporate cylinder deactivation technology, enabling it to cruise efficiently on the highway with reduced fuel consumption, but offer more than 600 horsepower whenever the driver calls up its tremendous power reserve."

    To maintain the Z06's mass and performance targets, the LT4 engine was designed with a more-efficient, more-compact next-generation supercharger. Even with its integrated supercharger/intercooler assembly mounted in the valley between the cylinder heads, the engine is only about 1 inch (25 mm) taller than the Corvette Stingray's LT1 engine – while delivering nearly 37 percent more horsepower and 40 percent more torque.

    The new 1.7L Eaton R1740 TVS supercharger spins at up to 20,000 rpm – 5,000 rpm more than the supercharger on the Corvette ZR1's LS9. The rotors are shorter in length, too, which contributes to their higher-rpm capability – and enables them to get up to speed quicker, producing power-enhancing boost earlier in the rpm band. That boost is achieved more efficiently, thanks to a new, more direct discharge port that creates less turbulence, reducing heat and speeding airflow into the engine.

    The LT4 engine also has several unique features designed to support its higher output and the greater cylinder pressures created by forced induction, including:

    • Rotocast A356T6 aluminum cylinder heads that are stronger and handle heat better than conventional heads
    • Lightweight titanium intake valves and machined connecting rods for reduced reciprocating mass
    • High 10.0:1 compression ratio – for a forced-induction engine – enhances performance and efficiency; enabled by direct injection
    • Forged aluminum pistons with unique, stronger structure to ensure strength under high cylinder pressures
    • Stainless steel exhaust headers and aluminum balancer that are lighter than their LT1 counterparts
    • Standard dry-sump oiling system with larger cooler capacity than Z51; used with dual-pressure-control oil pump.

    The LT4 will be built in Tonawanda, N.Y., and Bowling Green, Ky., at the new Performance Build Center.

    Eight speeds, no waiting

    The supercharged LT4 is offered with a standard seven-speed manual transmission with Active Rev Match, or an all-new 8L90 eight-speed paddle-shift automatic transmission designed to enhance both performance and efficiency.

    "Unlike most ultra-performance cars, the Corvette Z06 offers customers the choice between two transmissions to suit their driving styles," said Juechter. "The seven-speed gives the driver the control of a true three-pedal manual transmission with perfect shifts enabled by Active Rev Matching. The new eight-speed automatic offers drivers the comfort and drivability of a true automatic transmission, as well as lightning-fast shifts and manual control for track driving."

    The seven-speed manual incorporates rev-matching technology for upshifts and downshifts. This driver-selectable feature can be easily engaged or disengaged via paddles on the steering wheel. The seven-speed is used with a new dual-mass flywheel and dual-disc clutch, which deliver greater shift quality and feel through lower inertia.

    The eight-speed automatic is tuned for world-class shift-response times, and smaller steps between gears keep the LT4 within the sweet spot of the rpm band, optimizing the output of the supercharged engine for exhilarating performance and greater efficiency.

    For performance driving, the transmission offers full manual control via steering wheel paddles, and unique algorithms to deliver shift performance that rivals the dual-clutch/semi-automatic transmissions found in many supercars – but with the smoothness and refinement that comes with a conventional automatic fitted with a torque converter.

    In fact, the 8L90's controller analyzes and executes commands 160 times per second, and wide-open-throttle upshifts are executed up to eight-hundredths of a second quicker than those of the dual-clutch transmission offered in the Porsche 911.

    "There's no trade-off in drivability with the new 8L90 eight-speed automatic transmission – it was designed to deliver performance on par with dual-clutch designs, but without sacrificing refinement," said Bill Goodrich, assistant chief engineer for eight-speed automatic transmissions. "It is also the highest-capacity automatic transmission ever offered in a Chevrolet car."

    Featuring four gearsets and five clutches, creative packaging enables the GM-developed eight speed automatic to fit the same space as the six-speed automatic used in the Corvette Stingray. Extensive use of aluminum and even magnesium make it more than eight pounds (4 kg) lighter than the six-speed, as well. Along with design features that reduce friction, the 8L90 is expected to contribute up to five-percent greater efficiency, when compared with a six-speed automatic.

    The eight-speed automatic will be built at GM's Toledo, Ohio, transmission facility.

    Designed for downforce

    The performance targets of the Z06 also posed a challenge for the design team, who had to create a striking design that also contributed to increased capabilities.

    "Virtually every exterior change served a functional purpose, as this beast needed more of everything," said Tom Peters, Corvette design director, "The flared fenders accommodate larger, wider wheels and tires for more grip. The larger vents provide more cooling air to the engine, brakes, transmission and differential for increased track capability. The more aggressive aerodynamic package generates true downforce for more cornering grip and high-speed stability."

    Indeed, the design changes began not with the exterior panels, but the tires.

    To deliver the levels of grip needed for the Z06's performance targets, the Z06 was fitted with larger Michelin tires (Pilot Sport tires for the Z06; Sport Cup tires with the Z07 package). The P285/30ZR19 front tires are 1.5 inches wider than the tires on the Stingray, while the 335/25ZR20 rear tires are two inches wider.

    To cover the wider tire tread, the fenders of the Z06 were extended by 2.2 inches (56 mm) at the front, and 3.15 inches (80 mm) at the rear. These extensions give the Corvette Z06 a wider, lower appearance that is further emphasized by a unique rear fascia. It incorporates the same taillamp assemblies as the Stingray, but on the Z06 the taillamps are pushed approximately three inches farther apart, toward to edges of the body.

    The tires are mounted on lightweight, spin-cast aluminum wheels that are also wider than the Stingray (19 x 10 inches in front and 20 x 12 inches in the rear). Their open, ultralight design showcases the massive Brembo brakes, which are part of the design aesthetic:

    • The Z06 features two-piece steel rotors, measuring 14.6 x 1.3-inch (371 x 33 mm) front and 14.4 x 1-inch (365 x 25 mm) rear, with aluminum six-piston and four-piston fixed calipers, respectively
    • The Z07 package adds larger, 15.5 x 1.4-inch (394 x 36 mm) front and 15.3 x 1.3-inch (388 x 33 mm) carbon ceramic-matrix brake rotors for consistent performance lap after lap, and collectively save 23 pounds over the standard Z06 rotors.

    To harness the cornering and braking grip afforded by the larger tires and brakes, the exterior of the Corvette Z06 has also been tailored to produce aerodynamic downforce that presses the tires to the ground at high speeds.

    The Z06 will offer three, increasing levels of aerodynamic downforce:

    • The standard Z06 features a front splitter, spats around the front wheel openings, a unique carbon-fiber hood with a larger vent, and the rear spoiler from the Corvette Stingray's Z51 Performance Package
    • An available carbon-fiber aero package (in either black or a visible carbon-fiber finish) adds a carbon fiber front splitter with aviation-style winglets, carbon fiber rocker panels, and a larger rear spoiler with a fixed wickerbill – a small, vertical tab at the edge of the spoiler that significantly increases downforce
    • The available Z07 package adds a larger winglets to the front splitter, along with an adjustable, see-through center section on the rear spoiler for track use; with this package, the Corvette Z06 delivers the most amount of aerodynamic downforce of any production car that GM has tested.

    The exterior design also reflects the increased cooling required for the new Corvette Z06. For example, the mesh pattern on the front fascia was painstakingly designed to deliver the most possible airflow to the supercharger's intercooler heat exchanger. In fact, the mesh grill directs more air into the engine bay than with the grille completely removed.

    The unique grille also features dedicated brake-cooling intakes and wider grille outlets on the bottom serve as air diffusers. The grille is complemented with a larger hood vent, which not only vents hot air from the engine compartment, but contributes to downforce by allowing air driven through the grille to exit through the hood rather than being forced under the car, which could create lift.

    Additional cooling elements include larger front fender vents and unique air blades over the inlets on the rear fenders, which force about 50 percent more air into the cooling ducts for the transmission and differential coolers than those on the Stingray. To cope with the additional airflow, the Z06 has also has larger rear-fascia openings than the Stingray.

    Standard front and rear brake-cooling ducts, including Z06-signature rear ducts integrated in front of the rear fender openings, are also part of the functional design changes.

    Inside, the Corvette Z06 is distinguished from the Corvette Stingray by unique color schemes that emphasize the driver-focused cockpit, and a unique, flat-bottomed steering wheel.

    Like the Stingray, the Z06 will be offered with two seating choices: a GT seat, for all-around comfort, and a Competition Sport seat with more aggressive side bolstering, which provides greater support on the track. The frame structure for both seats is made of magnesium, for greater strength and less weight than comparable steel frames. They're also more rigid, contributing to the enhanced feeling of support during performance driving.

    The Z06 also benefits from interior details designed for high-performance driving, first introduced on the Stingray, including a steel-reinforced grab bar on the center console for the passenger and soft-touch materials on the edge of the console, where the driver naturally braces during high-load cornering.

    The performance-supporting elements inside the new Corvette Z06 are complemented by unprecedented attention to detail and build quality. All models feature a fully-wrapped interior, where every surface is covered with premium, soft-touch materials. Available materials, depending on the trim level, include Napa leather, aluminum, carbon fiber and micro-suede.

    Track-proven technologies

    The 2015 Corvette Z06 leverages the technologies introduced on the Corvette Stingray, including the strategic use of lightweight materials and advanced driver technologies, with unique features and calibrations tailored for its capabilities.

    "Our mission with the seventh-generation Corvette was to make the performance levels more accessible, enabling drivers exploit every pound-foot of torque, every "g" of grip and every pound of downforce," said Juechter. "It's a philosophy we introduced with the 460-horsepower Corvette Stingray – and one that's even more relevant with an estimated 625 horsepower at your beck and call."

    For the first time ever, the Corvette Z06's aluminum frame will be produced in-house at the Bowling Green, Ky., assembly plant. It's the same robust, lightweight frame used on the Corvette Stingray and it will also be used essentially unchanged for the C7.R racecars.

    The stiffer design of the aluminum frame allows the Corvette Z06 to be offered with a removable roof panel for the first time. In fact, with the lightweight, carbon fiber roof panel removed, the new Corvette Z06 offers 20 percent more structural rigidity than the previous model's fixed-roof design – and a 60-percent increase in stiffness with the roof panel installed.

    The new Z06 retains the SLA-type front and rear suspension design of the Corvette Stingray, including, but uniquely calibrated for the higher performance threshold. The third-generation Magnetic Selective Ride Control dampers are standard on Z06, and can be adjusted for touring comfort or maximum track performance via the standard Driver Mode Selector.

    Like on the Stingray, the Driver Mode Selector tailors up to a dozen features of the Z06 to suit the driver's environment, including:

    • Launch control: Available in Track mode for manual and automatic transmissions, providing maximum off-the-line acceleration
    • Active handling (StabiliTrak stability control): A "competitive" setting is available in Track mode and is more suited for on-track conditions. It can also be disabled, giving the driver complete control
    • Traction control: Weather mode tailors traction control and engine torque for driving in inclement conditions
    • Performance Traction Management: Available in Track mode and offers five settings of torque reduction and brake intervention for track driving
    • Electronic Limited Slip Differential: Adjusts the rate at which the limited slip engages, to balance between steering response and stability in different driving conditions; more aggressive performance in Sport and Track modes.

    The smart electronic limited-slip differential (eLSD) is standard on the Z06, to make the most of the torque split between the rear wheels. The system features a hydraulically actuated clutch that can infinitely vary clutch engagement and can respond from open to full engagement in tenths of a second. It shifts torque-based on a unique algorithm that factors in vehicle speed, steering input and throttle position to improve steering feel, handling balance and traction.

    The eLSD is fully integrated with Electronic Stability Control and Performance Traction Management systems. Its calibrations vary among three modes, based on the Drive Mode Selector setting:

    • Mode 1 is the default setting for normal driving and emphasizes vehicle stability
    • Mode 2 is engaged when electronic stability control is turned off in the Sport or Track modes. This calibration enables more nimble turn-in and traction while accelerating out of a corner
    • Mode 3 is automatically selected when Performance Traction Management is engaged. This calibration has the same function as Mode 2, but is fine-tuned to work with Performance Traction Management.

    The new Corvette Z06 will be available in early 2015. Performance data and pricing will be announced closer to the start of production.

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    So the one on the stand at NAIAS is one with the Z07 package (transparent thingy on the rear spoiler)... Aggressive, very aggressive... I am wondering if there will be a C7 ZR1, though I could see this engine generating some 20hp-to-30hp more (or whatever hp increase would offset the higher weight) for a fully loaded, equipment-wise, ZR1 to top out the Corvette range :yes:

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    So both camps of oracles -- those predicting that it'll be called a Z06 and those predicting that it'll be called a Z07 -- are correct. Greater than 625 bhp and greater than 635 lb-ft are certainly adequate. One thing that is VERY impressive is that the LT4 makes essentially the same output as the LS9, using a 1.7L blower. For reference, the LS9 is a 2.3L and the detned LSA is a 1.9L. That's a 26% reduction in positive displacement which means that it either runs with 2~3 psi less boost or it runs the blower at a higher speed. The latter is highly unlikely since the LS9 is already at 10.5 psi and external compression blowers like the Eaton TVS gets dramatically inefficient if you ramp it beyond that. The former means that the 6.2 LT4 is getting the same output with less mass flow, less supercharger drag and probably more compression. More practically, it's probably a little of both. The LT4 probably runs at 7~8 psi but with the twisted rotors spinning at speeds close to the LS9 spins it's TVS R2300. If so look for a 1~3 mpg improvement over the LS9. I predict at least15/23 mpg and perhaps as much as 16/25 mpg -- which will be very good for a 600+ hp car.

    $75~80K isn't bad either if the assertion than the those with a budget for a C6 Z06 can also afford the 7th Gen model. Regardless, the more interesting car from a revenue as well as brand creds standpoint will actually be the Caddy which presumably will feature the same motor. Definitely looking forward to the LT4 powered CTS-V.

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    Another interesting note... this marks the first application for the Hydramatic 8L90 automatic transmission. GM's first 8-speed auto.

    To beat the clock, the 14' CTS vSport uses an Aisin sourced 8-speed auto. It remains to be seen if they will switch the CTS line over to the Hydramatic. If they do, it'll probably not be the 8L90; an 8L50 would been more appropriate and more efficient.

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    It sounds like it will be expensive, and essentially replace the ZR1. If GM charges $75k for a Camaro with 500 hp, Brembos and some carbon fiber, I wouldn't be surprised to see this car priced near $100k before options. But a 911 or GT-R is basically $100k so it would be right in there.

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    It sounds like it will be expensive, and essentially replace the ZR1. If GM charges $75k for a Camaro with 500 hp, Brembos and some carbon fiber, I wouldn't be surprised to see this car priced near $100k before options. But a 911 or GT-R is basically $100k so it would be right in there.

    As Tadge Juechter himself put it—in between explaining the aerodynamic value added by the tiny spats ahead of each front wheel and detailing how the C7.R’s three-percent fuel-efficiency bump (thanks to direct injection) will save one pit stop over a 24-hour race—“if you could afford the old Z06, you’ll be able to afford the new Z06.”

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    I hadn't completely fallen for this car until I saw it in the gray metallic color with the silver painted wheels and red calipers... Once I did, oh man, it was like love at first sight. So sharp, so evocative, so.... "move over or I'm going to eat you alive!" It is truly a different car in that color combination. Absolutely divine.

    1484018_10152538270953047_458617193_o.jp

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      On the spectrum of concept vehicles, we have models that are wildly out there and have no chance of going into production. Then we have models that are thinly disguised production vehicles. The Infiniti QX50 Concept falls into the latter. 
      An evolution of the QX Inspiration concept, the QX50 doesn't really differ a lot in terms of exterior design. The front end is similar to the Q60 Coupe with a large grille and chiseled bumper. The side profile shows a bit of sculpting and a creasing running underneath the window. The interior looks mostly production ready with high-quality leather, wood trim, and what looks to be a new infotainment system. 
      The QX50 Concept also features Infiniti's upcoming variable-compression 2.0L turbo-four. Bear with us as we try our best to describe how this engine work. Instead of having the pistons connected to a crankshaft, they are hooked up to a pivot arm. The arm is also connected to a second lower shaft, which is controlled by an actuator arm. The action of the variable-compression engine is the same as a gas engine - pistons move up and down when crankshaft or pivot arm turns. The trick comes with the actuator arm which can alter the angle of the pivot arm up and down. This is turn changes the engine compression. When the arm is up, you get a higher compression ratio. Move the arm down and the engine has a lower compression ratio. Infiniti says this engine offers more power and better fuel efficiency. 
      Back to the turbo 2.0L at hand. The engine is rated at 268 horsepower and 288 pound-feet.
      Like most concepts these days, the QX50 features a suite of autonomous technologies. A system comprised of lidar, radar, and cameras would monitor the road and the latest software would allow the vehicle to travel down the highway with no driver involvement.
      Source: Infiniti 
      Press Release is on Page 2
      QX50 Concept: INFINITI's vision for a next-generation mid-size premium crossover
      New QX50 Concept represents an evolution of the 2016 QX Sport Inspiration, with an original yet practical new crossover form QX50 Concept's cabin challenges conventional thinking on interior car design with elevated levels of modern craftsmanship INFINITI's latest concept lights a path to the future integration of the brand's autonomous drive support technologies Demonstrates a potential application for INFINITI's production-ready VC-Turbo variable compression ratio engine DETROIT – Making its global premiere at the 2017 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the QX50 Concept showcases INFINITI's vision for a next-generation mid-size premium crossover.
      Demonstrating how the design of the 2016 QX Sport Inspiration, its conceptual forebear, could be adapted for a future production model, the QX50 Concept confidently articulates INFINITI's 'Powerful Elegance' design language. A 'cabin-forward' silhouette combines with muscular lines and flowing surfaces to telegraph its purpose as a dynamic and practical crossover.
      The organic forms of the 'driver-centric, passenger-minded' cabin were designed in harmony with the exterior shape. Blending progressive design with modern craftsmanship, the QX50 Concept's interior reflects INFINITI's desire to challenge conventional approaches to premium interior design.
      INFINITI's latest concept is the next step toward the company's future autonomous drive support technologies. Central to the strategy for the development of all future INFINITI autonomous drive support systems, they ensure the driver retains ultimate control over their vehicle – in keeping with INFINITI's focus on driver engagement.
      Furthermore, the QX50 Concept illustrates a potential application for INFINITI's advanced Variable Compression Turbo (VC-Turbo) engine, offering drivers a powertrain that adapts to offer both power and efficiency.
      An evolution of INFINITI's 2016 QX Sport Inspiration mid-size crossover
      The QX50 Concept shows how INFINITI could develop its future presence in the world's fastest-growing vehicle segment INFINITI seeks to explore a more emotional execution of crossover design than existing models in the class "With the unveiling of the QX Sport Inspiration at the 2016 Beijing Auto Show, we showed the future of INFINITI QX models. The new QX50 Concept evolves this concept further and shows how INFINITI could develop its future presence in what is the fastest-growing vehicle segment globally." Roland Krueger, President of INFINITI
      With the QX50 Concept, INFINITI seeks to explore a more emotional execution of crossover design, bringing a degree of elegance and artistry to a segment typified by an uninspiring, clinical aesthetic. Marrying human artistry with utility, the QX50 Concept fulfills the expectation of practicality with a spacious cabin and cargo area. Furthermore, with a design adapted for the greatest possible packaging efficiency, the QX50 Concept previews how INFINITI could adapt future vehicle designs to accommodate a compact powertrain, such as the company's VC-Turbo engine.
                     
      The QX50 Concept marks the next stage in INFINITI's continued renewal of its product range. INFINITI designs concepts with production intent, such as true-to-concept production versions of the Q30, QX30 and Q60 concepts. The creation of each of these has previewed the design and layout of the brand's next-generation models. The QX50 Concept previews the evolving signature INFINITI design elements, demonstrating how they could be adapted for a mid-sized premium crossover.
      With its ground breaking proportions, the 2003 INFINITI FX45 set the template for future crossovers to follow throughout the last decade. The world's first mid-size multi-purpose sports vehicle, the INFINITI FX is still considered a crossover design icon today. Last year's QX Sport Inspiration sought to rekindle that excitement – and in an increasingly crowded and popular market segment, the new QX50 Concept now illustrates how these design themes could be translated into a production reality.
      Exterior: an artistic execution of functional crossover design
      QX50 Concept represents the latest interpretation of INFINITI's 'Powerful Elegance' design language Its design combines taut and muscular lines with heavily profiled surfaces QX50 Concept demonstrates how the design of the 2016 QX Sport Inspiration could be adapted for future production models Influenced by the design of the INFINITI QX Sport Inspiration, the QX50 Concept expresses its crossover purpose through proportional clarity, clearly telegraphing its power and dynamic capabilities. The QX50 Concept eschews many of the familiar, 'me too' design forms and themes shared by established models in the mid-size premium crossover segment. The result is a highly original yet practical new crossover form, demonstrating how the design of INFINITI's earlier concept could be adapted for future production models.
      The QX50 Concept is the latest embodiment of INFINITI's 'Powerful Elegance' design language and is both aesthetic and functional. The exterior of the concept combines taut and muscular lines with flowing, heavily profiled surfaces. A sharp, straight character line runs from the clamshell hood and along the length of its shoulders, giving the QX50 Concept a commanding presence and extending the vehicle's visual length. A wide, muscular stance accentuates its versatile capability.
      INFINITI's signature design elements are evident on the QX50 Concept, each subtly evolved for their new application. At the front, INFINITI's double-arch grille conveys an immediate sense of power and purpose and provides a focal point for every line on the concept's body. A taller, wider and more practical vehicle than the QX Sport Inspiration, the QX50 Concept's grille adds a greater sense of presence to the front of the car. At the rear of the vehicle, the leading edge of the crescent-cut D-pillar is higher than on any current INFINITI production car, further extending the visual length of the roofline.
      The interplay of the exterior lines and surfaces is accentuated by a newly-created Forged Bronze paint finish, with three times the amount of metal flake compared with standard production paint finishes.
      In profile, the hood is shaped like the rise of a snake's head, with a pair of sharp creases extending upwards from the base of the A-pillar, then plunging down the hood, leading into the edges of the expansive 'double-arch' grille. These lines disguise the hood's relatively short length, suggesting how the appearance of a production car could be adapted for a more compact engine, such as INFINITI's VC-Turbo, applying power to the road through an intelligent all-wheel drive powertrain.
      Functionality is a necessity in the mid-sized crossover segment and is central to the QX50 Concept's design. More practical than its QX Sport Inspiration progenitor, the QX50 Concept has a 'cabin-forward' silhouette and a slightly more vertical rear hatch, both reference points for a versatile and accommodating interior. The new shape of the crescent-cut D-pillar provides clearer over-the-shoulder visibility for the driver and a better view out for rear passengers.
      Interior: Challenging conventional thinking on premium cabin design
      Concept cabin demonstrates new direction of thinking with premium materials and craftsmanship Authentic materials and artistic design execution is at the heart of the concept's carefully curated cabin Driver-centric, yet passenger-minded, the cabin places similar importance on both form and function Blending progressive design with elevated levels of modern craftsmanship, the cabin of the QX50 Concept demonstrates INFINITI's desire to challenge and reinterpret conventional thinking on premium crossover interior design and material usage.
      In the place of high-gloss woods and soft-touch plastics, the interior of the QX50 Concept features a more modern application of wood, leather and stitching. Each material is treated and applied in a way to establish new trends in the design of premium crossover interiors.
      Deliberately articulating a sense of advanced human artistry, the QX50 Concept's cabin espouses a handmade feel and is the result of two Japanese approaches to craftsmanship – 'mitate' (pronounced "mee-ta-teh") and 'shitate' ("shee-ta-teh"). 'Mitate' relates to the practice of curating and bringing together the best possible selection of materials. 'Shitate' is the desire to tailor the chosen combination of materials, bringing out the best. With fine attention to detail and finish, such an approach creates an appearance and ambience throughout the cabin greater than the sum of its parts.
      The combination of materials and the way in which they have been applied has allowed INFINITI designers to demonstrate some of the highest levels of craftsmanship ever seen in a crossover in this segment.
      The QX50 Concept is wrapped in a variety of different leathers – genuine, semi-aniline, and synthetic nubuck – for a rich variety of textures and visual depth. The eyes naturally follow each different surface as it flows around the cabin. The QX50 Concept's cabin hints at a widening range of interior finishes for INFINITI customers to choose from, including a carefully selected three-tone color scheme.
      Adopting different leathers for the interior allows INFINITI to imagine how this three-tone cabin could look. Rich, brown leather lines the upper layer of the cabin, contrasted with white leather for the lower dashboard, door trim and seats. Between the two runs a line of navy blue synthetic nubuck, which also finishes the front center console. A line of close twin stitching runs along the top of the dashboard and doors, and around the seats.
      INFINITI has applied for a patent for a new 'dot quilting' method for the leather that lines the doors and seats. Inspired by classic buttoned leather sofas, dot quilting is sewn into place at individual points. The physical characteristics of the leather produce a more informal interpretation of the diamond lozenge shape that gives classic Chesterfield lounge chairs their distinctive appearance.
      Where many expect premium vehicle interiors use high-gloss wood surfaces to create the perception of quality, the QX50 Concept is trimmed in real, open-pore ash. The wood is treated to retain its natural, and sometimes irregular, characteristics in texture and appearance. Running a hand over it, the grain of the ash is still present, providing an authentic, modern appearance and enhanced tactility.
      The natural, flowing shapes of the cabin harmonize with those of the QX50 Concept's exterior, contrasting with the technical, linear – even austere – designs of other vehicles in the segment. A blend of positive and negative surfaces adds a level of visual depth to the cabin, with a complex interplay of light and shade. The organic lines of the cabin follow a similar form to the interior of the QX Sport Inspiration, referencing how they could be progressed from the original concept to a production car.
      Both 'driver-centric' and 'passenger-minded,' the layout of the QX50 Concept's cabin is divided into distinct zones for the driver and passengers. Consistent with its conceptual predecessor, the dashboard is focused on the driver, using its form and appearance to engender a true sense of confidence at the wheel.
      The horizontal forms of the dashboard wrap around the driver and passenger, with twisting, uninterrupted character lines flowing from the center console, along the dashboard and out to the rear of the cabin. The seats feature an ergonomic hexagon motif, for a wide and welcoming appearance, and maximum back and shoulder support for occupants.
      The QX50 Concept places form on the same level as function, with utility at the heart of its remit.
      In moving the base of the A-pillar further forward than on the QX Sport Inspiration, and shortening the hood to accommodate a more compact engine, the QX50 Concept's cabin-forward design creates a longer, more spacious passenger compartment. The upright stance of the rear hatch – more vertical than its forebear – is designed to give the QX50 Concept exceptional cargo space. The Concept's cargo bay is, for instance, long enough to store a stroller, suggesting how such a vehicle could suit a young family.
      The QX50 Concept's Graphic User Interface shows how new technologies could be incorporated into future INFINITI vehicle cabins.
      The center of the dashboard features a wide touchscreen HMI (human-machine interface). As well as displaying navigation and infotainment features, the QX50 Concept's touchscreen could display to occupants the current status of other technologies in the vehicle. The dashboard could display to all occupants the status of the vehicle's various driver assist technologies, as well as how the VC-Turbo variable compression ratio engine adapts as it shifts seamlessly between offering greater fuel efficiency and performance.
      INFINITI engineers continue to develop autonomous driving support technologies
      INFINITI's future autonomous drive support technologies will allow the driver to  retain ultimate control over their vehicle Future package of technologies will take a proactive approach to driver assistance and delegate elements of driving to the car The INFINITI QX50 Concept's driver assist system is part of the company's development of autonomous driving support technologies.
      The development strategy for all future INFINITI autonomous drive support systems is that they should ensure the driver retains control over their vehicle – in keeping with INFINITI's focus on driver engagement.
      In the future, INFINITI autonomous drive support technologies will continue to make driving less stressful – such as navigating stop-start traffic on the highway or keeping track of the positions of surrounding vehicles.
      Since its inception in 1989, INFINITI has brought pioneering driver-assistive technologies to the customer. The company has been responsible for a series of world-first technologies, including Predictive Forward Collision Warning, drive-by-wire Direct Adaptive Steering® and Active Lane Control.
      The QX50 Concept's INFINITI driver assistance technologies preview the first production-ready incarnation of this package.
      With a proactive approach to safety, the QX50 Concept assists the driver in identifying and responding to other road users and potential hazards. Future technologies will draw on inputs from a network of laser scanners, radar and cameras to read the road ahead and monitor the vehicle's surroundings, allowing the car to react accordingly.
      This framework of sensors will be developed in future production models with a series of new functionalities.
      VC-Turbo – the world's first production-ready variable compression ratio engine
      QX50 Concept suggests a potential application for INFINITI's VC-Turbo engine Packaging benefits for a mid-size crossover, powered by a compact engine with high specific power and efficiency INFINITI engineers target a 27-percent improvement in fuel efficiency compared to V6 gasoline engines The INFINITI QX50 Concept demonstrates a potential production application for INFINITI's advanced new VC-Turbo engine. INFINITI has yet to confirm which of its future vehicles could benefit from its variable compression ratio engine, though a mid-sized crossover could be one of the ideal applications for the 2.0-liter VC-Turbo power unit revealed by the company in 2016.
      The QX50 Concept's packaging efficiency and spacious cabin are due in part to a compact, space-efficient engine bay design. With its proportionately shorter hood, the QX50 Concept suggests how the 2.0-liter gasoline engine could power a front-biased intelligent all-wheel drive system.
      INFINITI's production-ready 2.0-liter VC-Turbo engine represents a compelling alternative to diesel powertrains, particularly in the mid-sized premium crossover segment. The VC-Turbo engine is able to adapt its compression ratio according to driving conditions to deliver optimal levels of performance and efficiency. It challenges the notion that hybrid technology and diesel are the only powertrains capable of offering high efficiency and torque. For its application in the QX50 Concept, the human-machine interface (HMI) demonstrates to the driver and passengers how the VC-Turbo is adapting according to driving conditions. The HMI displays the engine's current status as it intelligently chooses appropriate levels of performance and high efficiency.
      With a downsized capacity and high power and torque, the 2.0-liter VC-Turbo engine boasts an impressive specific power output – higher than many competing four-cylinder turbocharged gasoline engines, and close to the performance of some V6 gasoline powertrains. In time for the engine's production debut in 2018, INFINITI engineers are targeting a 27-percent improvement in fuel efficiency over V6 gasoline engines of similar power output.

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