In­finiti goes retro at Pebble

Speed­ster con­cept is blast from its very brief past

Top Gear (UK) - - THE TEN -

In­finiti isn’t like its com­peti­tors. It doesn’t have much of a his­tory. No leg­endary, decades-old mod­els on which to base spe­cial edi­tions of its diesel crossovers, or use as in­spi­ra­tion for con­cept cars it has no in­ten­tion of build­ing.

Con­cepts like the Pro­to­type 10, which its maker says is an at­tempt to “re­cap­ture the spirit of early speed­sters”. And pre­sum­ably dupe the elab­o­rately trousered, ex­pen­sively loafered peo­ple of Pebble Beach into think­ing a brand founded in the late Eight­ies has ‘her­itage’.

While we’re 110 per cent sure In­finiti isn’t go­ing to start build­ing sin­gle-seater speed­sters all of a sud­den, el­e­ments of the P10’s de­sign will trickle down into its road cars.

Not the sin­gle-seat lay­out, though, which is sup­posed to be in­dica­tive of the brand’s “driver-fo­cused ap­proach”. De­sign di­rec­tor Karim Habib calls it “look­ing back to go for­ward”. He says the P10 draws on “some of the most iconic and evoca­tive de­signs of all time” to show how ex­cited In­finiti is about the up­com­ing era of elec­tri­fi­ca­tion, and what traits pun­ters will come to as­so­ciate with the EVs, range-ex­ten­ders and hy­brids it’s set to start sell­ing in 2021.

The P10’s flat up­ward-fac­ing sur­faces echo the “un­in­ter­rupted na­ture of elec­tric power de­liv­ery” the com­pany says, while the geo­met­ric lines that punc­tu­ate the body­work are sup­posed to ref­er­ence the “shock of sud­den ac­cel­er­a­tion” im­bued by an EV pow­er­train. There’s not much to the cabin: one seat, ob­vi­ously, mounted low on the flat floor, a four-point har­ness and brake/ac­cel­er­a­tor ped­als. It’s far out, sure, but with no back cat­a­logue, top marks for imag­i­na­tion.

The P10: in­spi­ra­tion from old cars made be­fore In­finiti ex­isted This con­cept fol­lows the Pro­to­type 9 from a year ago – an even more am­bi­tiously retro EV in the style of a pre-war grand prix car

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