NEW-to-the-UK Infiniti is planning a performance saloon based on the GT-R supercar from parent firm Nissan. And it looks set to be named the R50.
The model has been championed by enthusiasts at Infiniti’s new European division, who had hoped that the GT-R would wear the luxury badge.
A source told us, “Launching new cars these days is all about recouping investment costs. Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn wouldn’t have approved the GT-R if its hi-tech chassis and transmission were not going to be used in some way in other models – including products from Infiniti and [sister firm] Renault. It’s the only way of making it pay. So building a performance Infi-niti saloon is perfect business sense.”
Our spies have revealed that the newcomer will be underpinned by a stretched version of the GT-R platform. Engineers currently have a choice of two powerplants. Most obvious is the GT-R’s 473bhp twin-turbo 3.8-litre V6 – although they may be forced to use the 5.0-litre V8 unit recently unveiled in Infiniti’s all-new FX50 SUV. That’s because Nissan produces the GT-R’s engine by hand – output is only 50 a day, which would be nowhere near enough to supply Infiniti, too.
Plans for new models don’t stop there, however. Another source says Nissan hopes to build a US-market, GT-R-based SUV – a car even bigger and bolder than the 385bhp FX50. It will be aimed squarely at the Range Rover’s replacement, due in 2010.