Founded in 1986, Inframotive began as a small specialist British company designing and producing luxurious, heavy, solidly-built cars for aristocracy and wealthy drug dealers.
However, with the 90s and then the 2000s rolling round alarmingly quickly, the company’s profits began to dwindle and costs shot up, as rivals began to catch up on technology and refinement, leading to Inframotive needing to drastically expand their line-up, from 3 models in 1992 to (not decided) in 2006, all of which adopted modern manufacturing techniques and more approachable trim levels - those the moderate level drug dealer could afford.
Of course, by the beginning of the 2010s the purists were upset, leading to Inframotive again needing to make some significant changes to its model line - this time at the top end. The B9 got a significant facelift (and a new model shortly after) while the B10 was released - a luxurious coupe that the B9 would always be playing second fiddle to in terms of design and technology.
The most significant shift of all came in the form of the new model that was placed even above the B9 and B10 - the B11 Ultra. Based loosely on the L3 -Generation B9, the B11 Ultra took it to the Ultra-Luxury giants…and ultimately failed miserably. Putting that aside, it did redeem Inframotive’s brand image and rekindled the passion for the brand enthusiasts had long since lost.
What is Inframotive doing now? You’ll see soon enough…
Denotations and Classifications:
Lx chassis’ reference the B9/10 chassis models (and B11 Ultra, which was known as the L30).
Kx chassis’ reference the B7/8 chassis models.
Jx chassis’ reference the B5/6 chassis models.
Nx chassis’ reference the G9 chassis models.
Mx chassis’ reference the G7 chassis models.
Rx chassis’ reference the sports models.
Sx chassis’ reference the super models.
B11-Models are the Ultra-Luxury flagships, I.e a Maybach 57 equivalent. L30 platform only
B9-Models are the Luxury flagships, I.e a Mercedes-Benz S-Class equivalent. Usually on Lx platforms
B7-Models are the second tier luxury cars, I.e a Mercedes-Benz E-Class equivalent. Usually on Kx platforms
B5-Models are the third tier luxury cars, I.e a Mercedes-Benz C-Class equivalent. Usually on Jx platforms
G9-Models are the Luxury Flagships, I.e a Range Rover Vogue equivalent. Usually on Nx platforms
G7-Models are the second tier Luxury cars, I.e a Range Rover Sport equivalent. Usually on Mx platforms
S-Models are the Sports Flagships, I.e a Porsche 911. Usually on Sx platforms
C-Models are the Junior Sports, I.e a Porsche Boxster/Cayman. Usually on Rx platforms
The 1986 B9 (L1-Chassis)
Cast your mind back to 1986. The money was rolling, pollutants were being pumped into the atmosphere, Miami Vice was on television sets and the wealthy drug dealers and aristocrats of the world wanted a piece of that lifestyle - not the mosquito bites, the cars.
Luckily for them, a British man by the name of Charles Scott had just piled around £50 million into a new, relatively unknown British start-up who were just readying their first car for production - and it was to be a game-changer. The car was rumoured to have airmatic, 3-zone climate control and even a V16 model.
Of course, many of the rumours ended up being untrue - especially the one about hover technology, not sure where the motoring press got that one from. However, the three above were indeed true, and in certain models these were even fitted as standard.
There were a range of models, ranging from a 2.2-litre diesel with a 5-speed manual (available from £34,750) to the aforementioned S-Werks tuned 60Si, available at a whopping £63,950.
Luckily for Inframotive and the lunatic who invested half of his fortune into the company, the model was a success, selling twice the number projected in 1986 alone. This led to scarcely-believable profits, with which the newly-enriched board of directors went on holidays to Barbados, bought Primus’ (@Happyhungryhippo) and bought villas in St Moritz. However, no matter how successful this model was, it would not be a money printer forever, hence development started on their next model…
Key Rivals (Real World): Mercedes-Benz W126/W140, Bentley Mulsanne, BMW E32
Key Rivals (Automation): ?
The most impressive thing about this car was the options list. Depending on the trim level, the car could be equipped in an almost infinite number of guises. This includes colour, trims, engines, gearboxes (on the diesel), technology packs, infotainment options, leather types and more. This leads to a truly individualistic experience, which shows in the statistics, with estimates suggesting that only 2 cars roll off the production line with identical specs per year. Not bad!
Spec Lists are available below:
Options List-Exterior (1986 B9).docx
Options List-Interior (1986 B9).docx
The 1988 B7 (K1-Chassis)
The B7 - at least the first iteration of the first generation - seemed to confuse reviewers. In some ways, it even outclassed its bigger brother (primarily in technology), in some ways it met expectations but nothing more, and in others it crashed and burned. This did work out to be a net gain for the company as the car overall was fairly competent in the majority of areas.
The exterior was an incredible piece, arguably a more aesthetic package than even its larger sibling, the B9. With a purposeful, muscular front end to an elegant yet brutal rear, it seemed to be a significant refinement of existing body language.
The interior - less so. This was the main area reviewers were confused by, with controls being unintuitive, window switches being scattered all over the place and a very basic digital screen that seemed to cause more problems than it solved - oh and then there was the matter of the ABS button being next to the CD changer eject (a new feature for the B7). Sadly, this first-generation CD changer proved too complex with its whopping 7-disc capacity proving just a little too much for the available technology. This resulted in a recall in 1990 which replaced it with the more basic but more reliable 5-disc unit soon to be found in the G9.
Another area this car confused reviewers was the engine options - which will be detailed in the options list to be released shortly. There was a 4 cylinder diesel and a 4 cylinder petrol - fair enough, but for some reason Inframotive decided to release two 5 cylinder diesels (the 25d & 27d) on top of two 6 cylinder petrols (28i & 32i) and a singular V8 model (the 43i). Of course, an S-Werks 50Si did follow, but not until 1989.
Prices started at £24,950 for a 22i, with the range-topping 43i starting at £32,650.
The conclusion on this car from Inframotive? Weird. Successful, but very weird.
Key Rivals (Real World): Mercedes-Benz W124, BMW E34, Audi 100, Volvo 940, Lexus LS400
Key Rivals (Automation): Primus Imperator (Late Run)
Definitely one of the raddest cars of its time. Enough said.
The 1990 B5 (J1-Chassis) - The Baby B
The 1990 B5 was a slight change of pace, primarily due to the fact this car was built to a price point, not a design specification. This did lead to a more affordable and accessible car to all, with the previous engine selection from the B7 also being available here (with the exception of the 43i which was later released with the facelift model). Additionally, this car was the first B-series car to come with a staggered dashboard - a feature that was to become synonymous with the brand into the later 90s.
Naturally, due to the badge and the fact it was built like and felt like a proper B-series car, it was another sales success, with the 20i/20d being available from £19,750 and the range-topping 32i being available from £23,950. The B5-40Si was this time confined to a limited run (priced at £29,995), later being replaced with the B5-50Si in 1992.
All models offered upon initial release were 4, 5 or 6-cylinder options and all were equipped with the all-new ML5-Tronic Machine Learning automatic gearbox. Of course, this technology was primitive and got very confused when someone other than the owner drove the car, but it was the beginning of one of Inframotive’s other dominant businesses - the gearbox business.
The interior was comparatively basic, with the bare essentials being present and nothing more. Leather was used sparingly, with ABS plastic instead being the new favourite material in use here. This provided the same soft-touch quality as their previous texturised plastic and leather while also keeping costs to a minimum. The Lux-UI system and 7-disc CD changer were also ditched due to reliability reasons, instead being replaced by much simpler radio and CD changer units respectively. This all led to a car which was still supremely comfortable and refined but at a much more attainable price point.
These photos are slightly out-of-date, I got very sick of trying to make this and have made changes since which I will update this with soon.
Key Rivals (Real-World): Mercedes-Benz W201, Audi 80, BMW E30/E36, Volvo 240/850.
Key Rivals (Automation): Primus Imperator
Misc 1988-1994 Notes
1992 - The B5-50Si was launched
1994 - The facelift model was released. This included the discontinuation of the 40Si and the introduction of a new V8 petrol, the 36i, and an I6 diesel, the 28d. The majority of ostensible changes were on the inside, however.
1990 - The B7 Coupe, or the CE was launched, available in 43CE, 32CE and 28CE guise
1992 - B7 Facelift (TBC)
1989 - The B9 CE line was introduced and the B9 was facelifted (TBC)