Upcoming Infiniti compact hatchback will use the Mercedes-Benz B-Class FWD platform

Article by Christian Andrei, on November 25, 2011

Infiniti’s debut of the Etherea Concept means that it is prepared to take on rivals such as the Audi A3 and BMW 1-Series with a new compact hatchback that is currently in development. This car’s underpinnings will be borrowed from the Mercedes-Benz parts bin. The technology partnership between Nissan/Renault and Daimler involves use of the front-wheel-drive platform built for Benz’s A- and B-Class family.

It’s believed that this Infiniti hatch will be built on its own version of the platform. The design used by Infiniti’s compact will be unusual for a five-door hatchback.

It has less of a two-box shape like that of the Audi A3. It’s likely that this may mean that Infiniti will be offering a small, low crossover. But what’s more probable is that this will be regular car that has a fastback profile. Its basic powertrains will be gasoline while in Europe, diesel will be offered. However, it’s possible that Infiniti will offer a version that’s either a hybrid or fully electric version.

What’s odd about this development is why Nissan and Renault, which have extensive experience in producing front-wheel-drive platforms, would go to Mercedes-Benz, which is known for its bigger, pricier, rear-wheel-drive luxury vehicles.

Nissan’s Executive Vice President Andy Palmer addressed this issue and said that what the company is trying to achieve is to create a product that has excellent torsional rigidity and NVH that’s much better than that of a mass brand. However, this product would also have to be priced closer to a mass brand. [source: Caranddriver]

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