In what’s the automaker dubs the “luxury boat project,” Infiniti partnered with the automotive technical training programs at Tennessee Technical Center-Nashville and the Nashville State Community College to pack modern powertrain into a vintage motorboat. Few details (other than an artistic rendering) on the boat itself have been released, but the engine in question is the VK56DE — the 400-horsepower, 5.6-liter V-8 found in the QX56 sport utility.
“The genesis for the QX-powered boat project came about when a group of us were talking about our full-size SUVs standing as the perfect luxury tow vehicle,” Ben Poore, Infiniti Americas vice president said in a prepared statement. “[They're] capable of carrying tons of weight, lots of people, and their cargo, in style. So what better object to tow than a boat custom-outfitted to QX-inspired standards, starting with its engine and continuing with semi-aniline leather on the seats, XM satellite radio, and signature Infiniti analog clock.”
The boat has yet to be completed, but the first step — extracting the V-8 from the QX and readying it for marine duty — is apparently complete. Students worked to remove systems deemed unnecessary for a watercraft (i.e. power steering pumps, A/C compressors, etc.) and fit the powertrain package into the hull. Lest you think an entire QX56 was sacrificed for a single project, fret not: we’re told the remainder of the vehicle will serve as a teaching aid for Tennessee Tech’s automotive program.
“It’s great to involve students from the local community in this project, especially since QX engines are manufactured in nearby Decherd,” Poore said. “It’s our hope that someday students in these programs, who will learn from the QX we donated, will go on to work at our company or Infiniti retailers’ service departments.”
We hope they’ll have a chance to have a day on the water, first. Infiniti says the boat should be finished and floating by “next boating season.” Until then, updates on the project’s status — along with the ever-popular teaser photos — will be posted on Infiniti’s official Twitter and Facebook pages in the weeks to come.