After a coy teaser earlier in the week, Infiniti’s retro prototype has just been revealed in full and is called the Project 9. It is reported that he will be an electric vehicle, and that’s all for now.
But first, there’s one major problem.
Alfonso Albaisa, Infiniti’s design guru, said the sleek open-wheeled electric prototype “celebrates the tradition of ingenuity, craftsmanship and passion of our forebears at Nissan, on whose shoulders we stand today”.
There are plenty of prestige automakers with long and illustrious histories leading to iconic motorsports and design triumphs along the way, but what if you’re a new luxury brand, like Infiniti – what can you do to sway customers that resonate with the far-reaching historical achievements of European brands?
The design philosophy behind the Prototype 9 was inspired by a question – namely: “what if we [Infiniti] found a auto, down at the southern tip of Japan, buried deep in a barn, hidden from all eyes for 70 years?” Then again, the publication added that Infiniti also referred to its present-day “Powerful Elegance” design language, giving the Prototype 9 a contemporary touch subtly visible amid the old-school design cues.
While the motor may be as as modern as they come, Infiniti has kept things more traditional in the handling department with a leading arm solid front axle and De Dion rear axle riding on transverse leaf springs.
In fact, the Infiniti seems to come with an electric powertrain from the new LEAF, promising around 150bhp, a 0-62mph in about 5.5 seconds and only enough juice for a 20 minute track blat. It might not sound like much, but it’s enough to propel the 1,962 lb racer from 0-60 in a respectable 5.5-seconds and on to a limited top speed of 105 miles per hour. And while Jalopnik was critical of Infiniti’s attempt to “manufacture” its own history as a company that was launched as Nissan’s luxury brand in 1989, the publication had kind words to day about the Prototype 9’s design, calling it “beautiful and modern with a vintage twist”.
If you were anxious that those figures sound a little weak fear not, as a lithe kerb-weight allows the Project 9 to hit 62mph in just 5.5 seconds and hit a top speed of 106mph.