Meet the Infiniti Q30 Concept: a Robocop-coloured hatchback that previews a proper production car, honed by none other than triple (and soon-to-be-quadruple-barring-an-act-of-God) F1 world champion Sebastian Vettel.
Infiniti reveals Q30 hatchback concept
BMW 1 Series and Audi A3 contender honed by Seb Vettel will be Made In Britain…
It's Infiniti's Very Serious take on the BMW 1 Series/Audi A3 formula of the luxury ‘compact segment' (read: posh hatches), and will arrive on your dealer doorsteps at some point in 2015. And it'll be Made In Britain, in Nissan's Sunderland plant.
It will sit on Mercedes' ‘MFA' platform that currently hides underneath the A-Class, and will be the very first Infiniti model with input from Seb himself, but we'll come to that in a second. Firstly, take a gander through the pics above - it's certainly a striking design, no?
Alfonso Albaisa, Infiniti's executive design director, was the man responsible for the look, which incorporates F1-inspired elements in the front grille, a masculine, contoured side with a rather sharp crease running along the side, through to that radical C-pillar (that's the one on the boot). "At Infiniti we don't want to follow, we want some artistry," Albaisa told TG.com. Inspiration for this comes from "Italian coachwork and Japanese brushstroke".
Fighty little thing, isn't it? We're promised the final production version retains around 90 per cent of this car's styling, though we'd like to see what one will look like on smaller wheels (the show car wears 21 inchers), and if that side crease makes it into production, expect to spend a large proportion of your time bandaging your fingers back together.
Inside, there's sculpted ceramic in the seatbacks, metal surfaces in the centre console, door panels, controls and seats, lots of beige leather, and carbon fibre inspired by Vettel's RB9 company car.
Ah yes, Vettel. Following Infiniti's proper ‘two-way' partnership with world champions Red Bull, the German with a knack for vanquishing his opponents was recently announced as their ‘Director of Performance', a role that Infiniti president Johan de Nysschen "looks forward to, even if he is our most highly paid employee".
Indeed, Infiniti's global director for F1 Andreas Sigl admitted to us that "a lot of people thought Vettel's appointment was just marketing bullsh*t, but make no mistake, he gave our engineers proper feedback." Seb tested out the competition from BMW and Audi in order to benchmark what was required from the upcoming Q30. We're promised good things. Pointy, dynamic things.
And it's an important car, this Q30, setting up Infiniti's growth in Europe and China; indeed, de Nysschen told us Infiniti plans to build half a million vehicles by the end of 2020 globally, while still retaining the company's core value of, erm, not everyone buying it. "We relish our role as the challenger and brand that restores the definition of exclusivity," he said, "we don't want an Infiniti on every single driveway."
So, TopGear.commers, do you want this Infiniti on your driveway? Let us know below.