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Auto Sleuth: Infiniti Eau Rouge coming

The Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge.

The Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge.

Eau Rouge production plans are proceeding quickly
When Nissan's Infiniti division displayed the Eau Rouge concept at the 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Mich., The Sleuth was informed on the QT that the Q50-based sedan would be headed for production. That certainly appears to be true now that the Eau Rouge (named after a particularly tricky turn at the Spa-Francorchamps Formula One race circuit in Belgium) was recently spotted in prototype form at Nissan's test facility in England. The car's slippery bodywork contains a twin-turbocharged V6 that comes straight out of the Nissan GT-R super coupe and will, The Spymaster hears, produce somewhere in the region of 560 horsepower and propel the all-wheel-drive Eau Rouge to 60 mph in four seconds. Expect to see one in the flesh by late 2015.

Will Toyota's teaming with BMW leave Subaru out in the cold?
Breakups aren't pleasant and the impending split between Toyota and Subaru could be especially sad for Subaru fans. Your Spy Guy hears that Toyota's strategy is to market a trio of two-seaters, including the Scion-branded FR-S (Subaru sells the related BRZ), a yet-unnamed budget-based sports car and an upper-end model patterned after the FT-1 concept (but will likely be named the Supra) that has been traveling the auto-show circuit. The FT-1/Supra platform is being jointly developed with BMW and will form part of the next-generation BMW Z4 roadster, too. That should mean the Supra would also be available as a hardtop and convertible. At this point it seems possible that the next-generation Scion FR-S that's due in another two-three years could also be a BMW collaboration, which would leave Subaru out in the cold with no dance partner.

Nissan and Mercedes-Benz perform the Tennessee two-step:
Collaboration amongst automakers is becoming increasingly commonplace. The partners in of the latest such joint venture to catch The Sleuth's attention are Nissan and Mercedes-Benz. Their newly opened $319 million factory in Decherd, Tenn., near Nashville will be used to build a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine for Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Nissan's Infiniti Q50 sedans. The proprietors state that the powerplants will initially be built strictly for the European market, but The Sneakster suspects that, because of the factory's location, the turbo will wind up between the fenders of North American Infiniti and M-B models some point. It just so happens that Current C-Class cars are assembled not in Tuscaloosa, Ala., which isn't all that far away from Nashville, y'all.

Audi's latest Q-ship nears completion
The Sleuth's normally reliable sources are reporting that Volkswagen's up-level division is readying an all new luxury Q7 tall wagon to launch later this year. And "all new" in this case isn't just some empty marketing slogan. Not only will the Q7 have a different look, but its lighter platform will also be shared with other VW-based full-size models, including the upcoming Bentley and Lamborghini luxo-utes. That plus greater use of aluminum and carbon fiber throughout the rest of the vehicle will translate into to a significant 650-pound reduction from the Q7's current 5,300-pound weight. Powerplant choices are expected to consist of 3.0-liter supercharged V6 gasoline engine as well as a turbo-diesel and a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 in a Q7 "S" model. Also in the works are gasoline-electric and diesel-electric hybrids, however only the former will be sold here.

The hole is just as interesting as the cars
It was indeed a sad day last February when the part of the bottom literally fell out of the National Corvette Museum that's located near where the cars are built in Bowling Green, Ky. A large sinkhole opened up inside the museum's Sky Dome area and swallowed eight rare Corvettes, heavily damaging or destroying many of these rolling artifacts. Now The Sleuth hears the museums directors plan to keep at least part of the sinkhole plus the damaged cars just as it is. The reason is simple: Museum attendance has increased nearly 70 percent since the event occurred and revenues from ticket sales, souvenirs and food concessions have risen 65 percent. Lets face it, opines The Super Sneak, people who aren't die-hard 'Vette Heads might never have known there was a museum in the first place. Now they do.

Market indicators

Up: Jeep Wrangler's fuel economy: Chrysler is on record as stating that the next-generation Jeep Wrangler (that's not expected until 2017 at the earliest) must reduce its fuel consumption. The kicker is that it can't lose any off-roady-ness in the process. Some of the possible fuel-saving strategies include reducing body and chassis weight by switching to aluminum from steel, offering an eight-speed transmission and introducing a diesel engine option.

Down: Street cred of the Ford Mustang GT500 and Chevrolet Camaro ZL1: The announcement that the 2015 Dodge Challenger Hellcat makes 707 horsepower has turned a lot of heads. In a single stroke, the car has trumped the ZL1's supercharged 6.2-liter V8 with its 580 horsepower, not to mention the 2014 Ford Mustang GT500's  662-horsepower supercharged 5.8-liter V8. Chrysler has posted video of the Hellcat running the quarter mile in just 10.85 seconds. Not only does that supposedly beat the Mustang and the Camaro by a not-too-small margin, but the car is street legal and, amazingly, emissions legal.

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