Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge at Eau Rouge

Sebastian Vettel drives the Eau Rouge at the Spa Francochamps circuit

Published: August 24, 2014, 11:00 PM
Updated: April 29, 2018, 2:32 PM

Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge at Eau Rouge with Sebastian Vettel

When Infiniti applied the Eau Rouge name to a modified Q50 sedan introduced at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit last January, it seemed a tad presumptious, to say the least.

At that point, beyond Infiniti's title sponsorship of the Infiniti Red Bull Formula 1 team, there was nothing about the Q50 that could remotely link it with the infamous Eau Rouge kink at the Spa-Francorchamps race circuit in Belgium.

The Q50 was a pleasant mid-size luxury conveyance but hardly a sports or performance sedan. So first impressions labeled the Eau Rouge concept as just another poseur.

That perception changed in April when Infiniti revealed that the concept had been developed into a real car, backing up the claim with video of four-time World Driving Champion, Sebastian Vettel testing it at Millbrook in England. Vettel is Infiniti's nominal Director of Performance.

This week, with Vettel at Spa in advance of today's Belgian Grand Prix, he finally had the chance to test the car's mettle through the corner for which it was named. (See video)

But the realization of the inevitable confrontation proved to be anti-climactic as Spa's reputation for rain was validated by a downpour that doused the track throughout Vettel's test run.

"Even though it was difficult to get a proper feel for the car's performance due to the wet track, the engineering team have made definite improvements to the car in the areas of steering and suspension since I first drove it earlier in the year," he said.

"There is definitely no shortage of power from the Q50 Eau Rouge. All in all it was an interesting day and we had fun. It was a privilege to be given the task of driving the Q50 Eau Rouge on one of the most demanding corners in the world."

The engine in the Q50 Eau Rouge is a twin-turbo, 3.8-litre V-6 with specific engine mapping, air intake and exhaust, producing up to an 560 horsepower.

Infiniti characterizes the Q50 Eau Rouge as a dynamic development vehicle (without mentioning that it’s a potent publicity machine) but acknowledges that a decision to take it into production is currently under evaluation.