Infiniti to ditch rear-wheel drive?

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Infiniti Q Inspiration concept

Infiniti Q Inspiration concept

Most Infinitis are likely to be all-wheel drive in the future as the automaker looks to phase out its rear-wheel-drive platform found in the Q50, Q60, Q70 and QX70 models.

In an interview with GoAuto published Tuesday, Infiniti product chief Francois Bancon said the existing RWD platform, code-named FM and introduced in 2001, isn't compatible with the new electrification strategy the automaker plans to implement.

“We are going to have to change, this [FM] platform is a V-6 platform, it is rear-wheel drive,” Bancon said. “We are going to have to shift because this platform is not an electrified platform; you need a battery, you need an electric motor, it’s a different package.”

Bancon went on to explain that future Infinitis would probably be AWD, with an internal combustion engine and electric motor combo driving the front wheels and another electric motor at the rear.

2018 Infiniti Q70

2018 Infiniti Q70

“Since you shift electric you have a motor in the front and in the back, so RWD does not make sense anymore,” he said. “So with the new generation electrified platform…it’s a bit like Audi with its 4x4.”

Bancon said the introduction of the new platform will take some years, with the first model not due before 2021. Infiniti's older models will be prioritized, meaning the first model on the new platform is likely to be a redesigned Q70 hopefully styled like the Q Inspiration concept unveiled earlier this year. Recall, the current Q70 arrived in 2010 as a 2011 model.

The wait for the new platform may also explain why Nissan is yet to redesign its own models based on the FM platform, like the 370Z and GT-R (Godzilla rides on a unique version of the FM platform code-named PM). Bancon didn't confirm whether other brands from the Renault Nissan Mitsubishi Alliance will use the new platform.

Infiniti has already started the transition away from RWD models with the 2019 QX50, which rides on a unique front-wheel-drive platform with available AWD. The previous QX50 was based on the FM platform.

 
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