Auto blogFri, 14 Nov 2014 10:58:00 EST
The theme of this year's LA Design Challenge is "Sensing the future" and asks, "How will cars interact with us in 2029?" Infiniti has kicked off entries in the LA Auto Show's yearly visionary party with its low, wide and versatile Synaptiq concept. Less a car and more of a set of interlocking pieces, the Synaptiq is termed a "universal fuselage pod," a teardrop-shaped capsule with a liquid-crystal canopy that can be fitted to different propulsion devices: a Formula One-like chassis, a desert buggy rig and a jet airframe.
Yet it answers the challenge not by being able to fly through deserts and air, but with its human-machine interface. The driver/pilot wears a Synaptic S.U.I.T. (Symbiotic User Interface Technology) fitted with biometric sensors and synthetic muscles, and through a "spinal lock attachment," he or she is made one with the car.
You gaze upon its gewgaws in the gallery above, and read more about it and other concepts from Acura, CALTY, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Peterbilt, Qoros, Subaru and Volkswagen that will vie for the King of the Future title at next week's LA Auto Show.
As many as 391,000 vehicles from Infiniti and Honda may eventually need to be recalled as a result of two, separately announced Preliminary Evaluations from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to ascertain the scope of the potential safety hazards.
The larger investigation has NHTSA looking into the 2013 Honda Accord because of 24 reports from drivers alleging total loss of power steering or a sudden increase in necessary effort to turn the vehicle. In four cases, the problem is reportedly linked to crashes, with all of them occurring at less than 30 miles per hour. According to the claims, 13 people also reported seeing a warning message during the failure. Turning off the car and restarting it would fix the issue in some cases. If a recall is necessary, it could affect an estimated 374,000 Accords.
The second investigation is much smaller in scope. The safety agency is investigating the 2008 Infiniti EX35 after two complaints of the steering wheel shaft separating, and the vehicle losing the ability to steer. Both reports allege that the steering became loose when driving and then completely failed once the vehicle was stopped. A recall for the problem would affect an estimated 17,000 vehicles. Scroll down to read NHTSA's reports on both Preliminary Evaluations.
The Infiniti Q30 Concept signaled the Japanese brand's clear intentions to join the growing global compact premium segment. Now, as evidenced by these images, we can see development of the brand's first compact hatchback is proceeding apace.
Our spies point to the similarity between this camouflaged tester and the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class as further evidence to the cars' shared platform, although we'll admit, we don't necessarily see the similarities. The Q30's overall look, to our eyes, is like a scaled-down, lower-riding QX50, the model previously known as EX. Infiniti design elements, like its squat greenhouse, long hood and double-arch grille are all visible.
The Mercedes-Benz connection should be clearer under the hood, though, as the Q30 is expected to be powered by the same 2.0-liter, turbocharged Mercedes four-pot that's been leading the charge throughout the brand's entry-level models, namely the CLA-, GLA- and C-Class.
Infiniti is issuing three separate recalls for its Q50 Hybrid and Q70 Hybrid and M35 Hybrid covering roughly 13,794 vehicles in North America.
The larger campaign listed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration covers 5,831 examples of its 2014 Q50 Hybrid (shown above) and 2014 Q70 Hybrid in North America, with 5,412 of those in the US and its territories. According to NHTSA, "due to a software error, the electric motor may stop working while the vehicle is being driven using the electric motor only," creating a "stall-like condition." To fix the fault, the company is reprogramming the motor inverter software, and owners should be contacted in mid-November.
The second recall covers just 890 2014 Q50 Hybrid and 2014 Q70 Hybrid models in North America, with 817 of those residing in the US. It's possible that their transmission housings were damaged during manufacturing, and on affected models, the housing could have a crack that might fracture while driving. Dealers will inspect the transmission and faulty examples will be replaced.
Automotive parts maker Takata is having a rough year with millions of vehicles equipped with its airbag inflators being recalled. However, it looks like there might still be problems with the company's quality control, if a new recall by Infiniti is any indication.
The Japanese luxury brand is recalling 1,912 total units of the 2013 Infiniti QX56 and 2014 QX80 in North America because of a manufacturing flaw with their Takata-supplied inflators for the driver's side front airbag. Of those, 1,848 are in the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Specifically, the outer baffle could be the wrong component and cause too much pressure to build up inside. According to documents submitted to NHTSA, it's possible in a crash for the part to rupture spraying metal shrapnel at occupants. At this time, Infiniti has not had any reports of this actually happening to drivers.
While this problem sounds nearly identical to the issue affecting millions of earlier vehicles, it must be noted that this is a different fault. According to the notice being sent to dealers on NHTSA's website: "This particular Voluntary Safety Recall Campaign is unrelated to two earlier campaigns that involved Takata passenger front air bag inflators on some older model Infiniti vehicles. This issue involves a much newer inflator and is a different, more isolated, Takata quality control issue."
Infiniti doesn't have much in the way of motorsports heritage. Sure, its logo is currently plastered all over the open-wheelers of the Red Bull Racing Formula One team, but that's little more than a series of stickers - the turbocharged V6 hybrid still comes from corporate cousin Renault.
Perhaps realizing that, the company is dipping its toe into the motorsports pool in a much bigger way (albeit in a far smaller series). The Nissan-owned luxury brand will campaign its Q50 sedan in the notoriously rowdy British Touring Car Championship with a new factory team, called Infiniti Support Our Paras Racing.
The team works with British veterans' charity Support Our Paras, and actually will employ a number of injured vets as part of the team, according to the report on Motor Authority.
A hot compress felt wonderful on my sore back. The methodical kneading of my shoulder blades loosened the knots that formed over several hours of driving. The Swedish-style pulses firing into my lumbar region released more tension.
I wasn't getting a much-needed massage following a recent road trip. I was getting it during the road trip.
I grew up riding in the back seat of a 1976 Chevy Nova. But once you use these lux features, it's easy to go soft.
Infiniti is among the best of the non-exotic brands when it comes to crafting concepts, with designers who just seem to know how to show a truly wild vehicle with subtle hints at a future model. Just take a look at its latest Q80 Inspiration at the 2014 Paris Motor Show to see what we mean.
Infiniti claims that the Q80 imagines how it would build a future, fullsize luxury sedan to take on the stalwart Mercedes-Benz S-Class. However, in the current form it seems like a flight of fancy. It's packed with fabulously weird styling tricks, including birdwing-shaped headlights. There's also the roof and windshield that look at first glance to be a single piece of teardrop-shaped glass terminating at a boat-tail rear. In addition, the Inspiration has every concept designer's favorite gimmick - suicide doors.
Under the hood sits a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 and electric motor hybrid with a claimed 550 horsepower. The company asserts that the powertrain is actually on the way in the next two years and could do 43 miles per gallon (5.5 liters per 100 kilometers), though it's not specified on what driving cycle that's calculated on.
As Infiniti continues its attempts at making inroads in the European market, it's showing off a sharper-looking version of its QX70 crossover. Much as it does in the US market, the CUV, formerly known as the FX, is adding an S Design trim.
The new trim pack adds plenty of dark chrome to the exterior of the fashion-forward QX70, with the stuff finding its way onto the grille, foglight surrounds and side grilles. While not dark chrome, the 21-inch alloys, mirror caps and roof rails are now painted black, while the headlights are smoked. Black lacquer trim, black leather and purple stitching stand out in the S Design's cabin.
Hop up top for our full gallery of live photos of Europe's new, dark-chrome-adorned QX70, and then head below for the original press release, issued by Infiniti earlier this month.
Well, this certainly looks like a concept, doesn't it? From the wide, portal-esque door opeings to the boattail rear window design, there's just so much about the Infiniti Q80 Inspiration that looks like it would never actually reach production that we're impressed the automaker had the gumption to put the machine together and show it off at the 2014 Paris Motor Show.
This marks the first time that Infiniti has shown any sort of real intent to enter into the rarefied air of the fullsize luxury sedan segment, populated as it is by the likes of the Audi A8, BMW 7 Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Those are extremely heavy hitters to market against, and Infiniti sounds anxious to throw its hat in the ring.
"We aim to do this with elegance, style, and emotion," says Francois Bancon, Infiniti Vice President, Product Strategy. "This car is making a statement. Q80 Inspiration is a precursor of a production model in this segment and, as such, integral to our future."