Infiniti does a throwback with Prototype 9
It would be hard to choose a car that perfectly encapsulates each era of what we know as the automobile. Think about it. Name a car that captures the emotion of, say, a Maserati Birdcage, while making use of at least 25% of the technology that we have on some supercars these days. Thanks to Infiniti we don’t need to scratch our heads at this thought anymore after they revealed the Prototype 9 concept car this week.
Guests at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance were treated to the debut of the breath-taking 1940’s Formula 1 inspired concept, which is powered by an all-electric powertrain.
The ‘Prototype 9’ was built by a small team as a side project, designed solely to depict what a 1940’s Infiniti Grand Prix car would have looked like, albeit Infiniti only launching in 1989. The electric concept can be thought of as a homage to the heritage that Infiniti was not able to create back then.
A next-generation Electric Vehicle powertrain, courtesy of Nissan’s Advanced Powertrain Department, can be found under the expertly bent and folded bodywork of the Prototype 9. The electric motor feeds off juice supplied by a 30kWh high-voltage battery, developing 110kW of power and 320Nm of torque.
The rear wheels will convert the power into movement quite rapidly. Standstill to 100km/h happens in 5,5-seconds before the needle reaches the end of the dial at 170km/h. The concept accelerates to 100km/h faster than a Porsche! Well, a 2013 Panamera V6 that is…
Infiniti claims that the battery should be good for about 20-minutes of heavy track use before it needs a recharge. This should be impressive if true, considering the bad rep given to hybrid and electric vehicles on the track.
The entire cabin is handcrafted, while the single driver’s seat features red stitching and a unique Japanese flag etched into the headrest. The steering wheel rotates around a fixed centre hub, which includes all the instrument binnacles.
The designers of the Prototype 9 drew inspiration for their design from the Japanese Motorsport and Aeronautical design scene. The exposed cockpit could be mistaken for a fighter jet if you close one eye, and the exposed 19” wire-spoke wheels will have you thinking you’re racing in the early 90’s. Once you step out of it, the modern Infiniti design language will bring you back to 2017, and you’ll be able to appreciate how far the automobile has come.