Infiniti Prototype 10 revealed in Pebble Beach

Infiniti's latest concept is an electric speedster called the Prototype 10

Infiniti has unveiled its latest performance car concept at the 2018 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Called Prototype 10, the concept takes the form of an electric-powered performance car that, like the Prototype 9 revealed at last year’s Concours, takes inspiration from an earlier time in the history of the motor car.

Overseen by Infiniti’s Japanese design centre, penned in the UK and reproduced in physical form in San Diego, Prototype 10 takes its visual cues not from golden-age 1930s racers but ‘early Californian speedster’ sports cars - and naturally, offers a few indications as to the way Infiniti’s future products may look as a bonus.

Subscribe to evo magazine

Experience the thrill of driving with evo magazine. Subscribe now and get your first 5 issues for £5 or buy the latest issue in all good newsagents!

> Click here for our look at the other concepts from Pebble Beach

The form of Prototype 10 is more angular than speedsters of old, but the inspiration is clear to see, with the simple open cockpit followed by asymmetric bodywork - a single fin behind the driver’s place echoing the similar treatment of cars like the Porsche 718 RS60 and Jaguar D-Type.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

Geometric lines slice across an otherwise smooth body - a cue Infiniti says is designed to reference ‘the shock of sudden acceleration’ from the car’s electric powertrain. Headlights are ultra slim, while the chin spoiler below the angular front end is coloured black rather than body colour to offer a contrast to the silver paintwork.

Much of the car’s design is focused on an overhead aspect, including the asymmetric cockpit layout, the fly screen ahead of the driver, and the use of large cooling ducts for the electric motor. The cockpit itself is simple - there’s a ‘race-inspired’ steering wheel mounted on carbonfibre struts, a low-mounted black leather driver’s seat and a four-point harness, and of course just a pair of pedals. Less palatable is the use of Infiniti’s steer-by-wire technology, though given Infiniti shows no sign of dropping the tech we can at least expect it to improve in future.

We’ll certainly see more electric and hybrid technology from Infiniti in the future (the company’s plan means all new Infinitis from 2021 will feature some kind of electrification), so in that respect the Prototype 10’s electric drivetrain makes perfect sense. 

The concept uses a flat floor as a result of battery packaging, something that has allowed designers to situate the driver so low in the chassis. Infiniti’s press materials are heavy with terms like ‘the simple love of driving’ and ‘exploring an electrified future’ but slim on detail on the powertrain itself, but given Prototype 9 effectively used the setup from a Nissan Leaf, perhaps that information has been withheld deliberately.

Taken as more a hint as to the future rather than a vision of it, Infiniti reiterates that its future cars will offer a choice of pure battery electric drivetrains, parallel hybrids, and “e-Power” range-extended models, while high performance will be a priority for all.

Design director Karim Habib also suggests that the Prototype 10 is evidence that Infiniti is considering how to implement EV technology into lighter, leaner and sportier vehicles too, which in itself is a worthwhile pursuit when so many other manufacturers are leaning towards electrifying SUVs rather than low-slung, lightweight sports cars. Modular technology should help in this respect - potentially allowing both those SUVs and sports cars to sit on very similar platforms, without significant compromises for either genre.

Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/toyota/yaris/201932/toyota-yaris-gr-4-hot-hatchback-teased-successor-to-the-grmn-and-a-true-wrc
Toyota Yaris

Toyota Yaris GR-4 hot hatchback teased – successor to the GRMN and a true WRC homologation special

6 Nov 2019
Visit/audi/r8/201931/entry-level-audi-r8-v10-rwd-added-to-the-range
Audi R8

Entry-level Audi R8 V10 RWD added to the range

6 Nov 2019
Visit/bmw/m2/201929/track-only-bmw-m2-cs-racing-unveiled
BMW M2

Track-only BMW M2 CS Racing unveiled 

6 Nov 2019
Visit/volvo/v90
Volvo V90 estate

2019 Volvo V90 T6 R-design review - the great estate?

5 Nov 2019
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/alfa-romeo/21322/alfa-romeo-to-launch-new-700bhp-8c-and-600bhp-gtv-coupe
Alfa Romeo

Alfa Romeo culls sports car programme in wake of FCA merger

Italian’s future performance models killed off in favour of more profitable SUVs
11 Nov 2019
Visit/caterham/201924/caterham-620r-v-ariel-atom-35-v-elemental-rp1
Caterham

Caterham 620R v Ariel Atom 3.5 v Elemental Rp1

Flight Club - lightweight track day toys with heavyweight powertrains, Steve Sutcliffe compares them on track at Anglesey circuit in Wales
5 Nov 2019
Visit/toyota/yaris/201932/toyota-yaris-gr-4-hot-hatchback-teased-successor-to-the-grmn-and-a-true-wrc
Toyota Yaris

Toyota Yaris GR-4 hot hatchback teased – successor to the GRMN and a true WRC homologation special

Gazoo Racing to follow up its 2019 WRC championship with an all-new car based on the GR-4 hot hatch
6 Nov 2019
Visit/features/22907/hyundai-i30-fastback-n-versus-the-col-de-turini
Hyundai i30 N hatchback

Hyundai i30 Fastback N versus the Col de Turini

We take the Hyundai i30 Fastback N up the Col de Turini, a 31km stage of the Monte Carlo World Rally Championship
19 Jul 2019