Acura TSX Forum banner

1 - 6 of 6 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,436 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Front-wheel drive cars, no matter how well-engineered, are always a compromise when it comes to being fast. They do enjoy some advantages in terms of packaging and efficiency, but sending power through the wheels doing the steering has obvious shortcomings.

Despite the drawbacks, Infiniti believes there is a market for front-wheel drive luxury vehicles and is considering launching several models based on a platform where the front wheels do the driving.

While popular models like the G and M sedans will remain rear-wheel drive, Nissan’s U.S. chief for product planning, Larry Dominique, has revealed that a new entry-level, front-wheel drive Infiniti, or even a family of vehicles, are under consideration.

Speaking at the recent 2010 Detroit Auto Show, Dominique explained that many buyers in this segment are either unaware or do not care whether a car is front-, rear- or even all-wheel drive, citing buyers of cars like the front-wheel drive TSX and all-wheel drive TL from Acura as an example.

"Those buyers are OK with it," he said.

With Lexus preparing a new small car based on its recent LF-Ch concept and Mercedes-Benz successfully selling its A- and B-Class models overseas, there's a very strong chance Infiniti might launch something along the same lines.

It wouldn't be the first time Infiniti has sold a front-wheel drive vehicle. The I35 sedan was the last front-wheel drive model Infiniti sold before the brand switched its policy to offering only rear-wheel drive models in an effort to raise its status against rivals like BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
 

·
*Metalhead*
Joined
·
2,657 Posts
Interesting.
 

·
TSX Sold! Hello STi!
Joined
·
595 Posts
Hmmm...well, if anything, competition breeds innovation. Acura will have to up their game. Audi still offers FWD cars, although I'd be hardpressed to tell you that I've ever seen one in my neck of the woods --- everyone's got a Quattro. I think Infiniti could be very successful at marketing a FWD line, and depending on their pricing strategy, it could get very interesting.

With that said, there's a reason why Acura is starting to spread the SH-AWD love throughout its lineup...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,810 Posts
Hmmm...well, if anything, competition breeds innovation. Acura will have to up their game. Audi still offers FWD cars, although I'd be hardpressed to tell you that I've ever seen one in my neck of the woods --- everyone's got a Quattro. I think Infiniti could be very successful at marketing a FWD line, and depending on their pricing strategy, it could get very interesting.

With that said, there's a reason why Acura is starting to spread the SH-AWD love throughout its lineup...
guess they have no love for the tsx:donno:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,436 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Update


Infiniti is 1 of the few manufacturers who still maintain the reputation for producing rear-wheel driven automobiles. Now, the Infiniti Division has just said that they’ll be swaying away from a RWD-only lineup.

The last Infiniti to ever use front-wheel drive was the I35 from 2000, which stopped production in 2004 to make way for the G35. But according to Nissan’s vice president of product planning for Nissan North America, we could expect to see a new wave of front-wheel driven Infinitis, starting with the new JX, which comes in April.

“Customers really don’t care that much about the platform beneath their car,”
said Larry Dominque, Nissan North America’s VP of product planning. “They care about the car. There are limitations with rear-wheel drive that we’d like to work around–like packaging. We can create more interior space if we get away from the technical requirements of rear-wheel. We don’t have to have the big rear axle and the big transmission.”

Dominque also added that FWD platforms would help fuel economy.

“There is a performance perception with rear-wheel,”
he continued. “But we’re comfortable that we don’t need rear-wheel to deliver the performance we need. And some of our vehicles, like the G and the M cars, will remain rear-wheel.”

Now, what really grinds my gears about this statement is: how can Dominque possibly say “customers really don’t care about the platform beneath their car” when customers do care about the platform in 1 way or another by caring whether their cars are front-, all-, or rear-wheel driven?

“If you look at where we were several years ago, Infiniti’s design language was a little too similar to Nissan,” said Nissan Motor Company’s global design chief, Shiro Nakamura. “That was bad for a luxury brand, and we needed to move Infiniti far away. We needed rear-wheel drive to help us differentiate between the brands. But I think we’ve been very successful in achieving that,” he added. “Look at all of Infiniti’s vehicles. They look nothing like Nissan’s.”

Considering that Infiniti has more or less been called Japan’s BMW, Infiniti’s offering of rear-wheel driven cars is very important to the brand’s identity because it defines how their cars drive and simply because Infiniti aims directly at BMW as their direct competitor. However, knowing the significant handling differences between front-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive, having a flagship sedan, SUV or crossover with front-wheel drive is not at all performance-oriented, which their direct competitors are. How can Infiniti say that they “don’t need to worry about rear-wheel or front-wheel drive now” when they also want to “focus on styling and performance?”

Where the power goes in a car very much has to do with a car’s performance so Nissan’s statements sound very counterintuitive…even to the point where I get the impression that these t2 o buffoons don’t even know what they’re talking about. Not to mention, Nakamura said that Infiniti moved to rear-wheel drive to better differentiate them from Nissan, who primarily made front-wheel driven cars. And they’ve achieved that and insist Infiniti cars remain different from their lesser counterparts…but for Nakamura to say that they want Infiniti to shift towards front-wheel drive, doesn’t that sound like they’re moving backwards?

Because Nissan cars are front-wheel driven, front-wheel driven Infinitis wouldn’t exactly make them much different because as aforementioned, the handling characteristics between front-wheel drive and rear-wheel are significantly different. And part of the ways that Infiniti has established their differences from their parent company is through the way their cars drive. Sure, it may make sense to the company from a financial standpoint to keep up with the times…but how would Infiniti moving to front-wheel drive maintain the brand’s uniqueness and identity for maintaining rear-wheel driven performance-oriented lineups?

Could these words of future plans for the Infiniti brand mean that they could be writing their own death wish? Let’s hope not. Stay with rear-wheel drive Infiniti!

- By: Chris Chin​
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
604 Posts
As mileage standards continue to rise, just as historically in the cycle these things go in, they will go fwd/awd when needed. Most people have no idea/nor care. Hell, most people don't change their air filter, think they care about what wheel moves them along??

Then in a few years the last real gasp they will go rwd/awd again, with the rear wheels being electric. After which the ICE will be totally replaced by an all electric drive train. ala leaf etc.

Inevitable. Plus electric motors put out so much more torque than gasoline engines throughout the rpm band. Electric is just a stop gap, it is unfortunate that hydrogen is so far off from being an effective replacement for the ICE...
 
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
Top