Car news

14 August 2017

Check out Infiniti's all-electric retro racecar

Prototype 9 is a vintage racer with futuristic power. Infiniti's oddest car yet?

Stephen Dobie
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Bet you didn’t see this coming. It’s Infiniti’s latest concept car, and it’s not an SUV with needlessly slashed styling elements.

So what exactly is it, then? We’re a bit flummoxed, but perhaps that’s the point. All the best concepts prioritise styling impact over having an actual point.

It started as an after-hours project among Infiniti employees, but was deemed worthy of becoming a fully fledged concept. It’s called Prototype 9, and it apparently shows us what Infiniti’s 1940s Grand Prix car would have looked like.

But rather than being powered by something that’s fallen out of a nearby aeroplane – like most old racers seemingly were – it uses electric power. Its electric setup comes straight from Nissan’s Advanced Powertrain Department, and produces 148bhp and 320Nm.

Not much more than a diesel Qashqai, you might ponder, but Prototype 9 weighs just 890kg so is still good for 0-100kph in 5.5secs. Its top speed is a bit less impressive, at 170kph. But its minimal body and lack of roof or proper windows may mean you’d be thankful for that.

The body is made of beaten steel panels, and while it largely nods to glorious racecars of the past, Infiniti has made sure some of its modern design elements – the grille, in particular – has been squeezed in. How successfully is up to you.

In fact, the success of Prototype 9 as a whole is something we’d love your opinions on, below. Does putting a futuristic powerplant in such a retro car make sense? Does a single-seat racecar from a maker of SUVs and hybrid saloons make a modicum of sense?

If you wish to make your mind up in person, it’ll be at the Pebble Beach concours event in California later this week.

Tags: concept, f1, infiniti, race car, concept car, grand prix

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