The Nissan Skyline has long been associated with the tuning legend that is the GTR – from the Hakosuka up to the R32, R33, R34, and currently – the R35. But the Skyline name has also served as the nameplate for the standard, luxury-focused Nissan coupe & sedan by which the JDM legend is based on.
Which is why it’s a shame that one of Nissan’s more unique concept cars, the Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge, was never fully realized. It largely served as a way to reignite the Infiniti brand for the new decade, right after their headquarters had moved to Hong Kong.
Named after one of the most difficult corners on the Spa GP circuit. the Eau Rouge was powered by the same twin-turbocharged V6 engine from the R35 GTR ‘Godzilla’, paired with the seven-speed automatic transmission and AWD powertrain from its larger sibling, the Q70. Nissan/Infiniti had wanted to explore installing the same ATTESA-ETS AWD system and dual-clutch transmission from the R35, but the Q50’s standard chassis could not accommodate them.
Initial feedback to the concept was mixed – the power from the twin-turbocharged GTR unit was praised, though the Q70s-derived AWD system (tuned to split the power 50:50 between the front/rear) and torque-converter automatic gearbox limited the car’s true potential; a quicker dual-clutch transmission could fully utilize the powerplant and not make it feel as sluggish on the top end. The electro-magnetic steering was also praised for its feedback and confidence to push all of the car’s weight through corners at high speed.
Yet despite Infiniti confident they could bring a Japanese fast saloon on par with the Lexus IS-F and GS-F, as well as potentially establishing a turning division under the Infiniti brand (separate from Nismo), Infiniti vice-president Francois Goupil de Bouille confirmed in 2015 that the Eau Rouge project would be ultimately shelved, and they would not be pursuing it further.
A follow up by Joshuga Nightshade of Axle Addict revealed more reasons as to why Infiniti killed off the four-door GTR – using the same powerplant as the R35 GTR would have been an engineering feat, but at the cost of hurting overall GTR sales. Putting all the various tech-laden features on the Eau Rouge into production – even by limited numbers also proved to be difficult to deliver in mass numbers. In addition, with 560 hp – this would cause the Eau Rouge to be a direct competitor of more luxurious sport saloons like the BMW M5, yet the Q50 was meant to compete against more entry level executive sedans like the BMW 3 Series.