Infiniti announces Inspired Performance concept for the 2011 Geneva Motor Show

Article by Christian Andrei, on February 7, 2011

Infiniti announced that at this year’s Geneva International Motor Show it will unveil its next Inspired Performance, a new concept car that will take the Japanese performance brand down a new road, to a new future. Infiniti is currently examining concepts in order to produce a luxury performance car that will fit below the current G Line.

4WheelsNews readers already received some information regarding the new Infiniti baby model here, where we told you that the new car will be powered by a turbocharged Mercedes-Benz four-cylinder engine.

Sources confirmed the fact that the new car will be a turbocharged Mercedes-Benz four-cylinder motor, similar to the Mercedes-Benz CLC but following the same design lines seen on the Essence Concept.

According to the Japanese manufacturer, the new Infiniti promises to be completely different to anything currently offered by our rivals, at least according to Andy Palmer, Senior Vice President for Infiniti.

Even heard of vehicle that is as elegant as a coupé, as roomy as a sedan, as practical as a hatchback, and as tall as a crossover? Introducing the Infiniti Etherea Concept, which is also as easy to handle and drive as a sports car. The Etherea concept car is planned to feature a powerful yet highly efficient hybrid drivetrain derived from an Infiniti platform. Interestingly, it will feature the one electric motor/twin clutch system first seen in the Infiniti M35h as well as a supercharged 2.5-liter 4-cylinder petrol engine that provides 245 PS.

With these as its core, the Infiniti Etherea Concept offers quick response and strong acceleration, with the electric motor providing the immediate boost when needed. Furthermore, this motor allows for quiet emission-free driving at low speeds.

Sending power to the front wheel of the concept is a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Its hybrid powertrain has been designed – just like the M35h – to use electric power more frequently, for longer periods and at higher speeds than the typical hybrid. This means that the Infiniti Etherea Concept could consume less fuel and emit less carbon dioxide for longer periods without compromising its dynamic performance.

Providing the much needed support are an independent suspension, regenerative braking and advanced drive-by-wire electric/hydraulic steering. As designed under the direction of Shiro Nakamura, the Etherea concept is inspired more by a coupé than a hatchback, thanks to the elements first seen on the Infiniti Essence concept supercar. While the Infiniti Etherea Concept features a superbly elegant profile, it is also as practical.

For instance, the design of Etherea may betray the fact that it features a large lift-up tailgate. This concept is underpinned by an in-house platform featuring a long wheelbase and minimal overhangs, thereby giving the Etherea the characteristic Infiniti visual poise and sporty appeal.

While its bonnet is not as long as that of rear-drive Infiniti vehicles, its proportions are well-balanced. Moreover, the concept features the distinct crescent C-pillar for a dynamic Infiniti signature. As luxurious as it is, the Etherea concept offers accommodation for four passengers, who would greatly appreciate the ease of access and egress as boosted by an H-point higher than that of a typical compact luxury car.

Also helping boost access and egress are four wide opening doors that are rear-hinged at the back. There’s also the distinct absence of a B-pillar. Additionally, the concept car features an evolution of the Infiniti design language. For instance, the headlights now define the Infiniti "face" in a more obvious manner. Moreover, the curving headlamps now come with LED daytime running lights in crescent form.

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