Sources in Japan said that the upcoming baby model from Infiniti will be powered by a turbocharged Mercedes-Benz four-cylinder motor. Set to debut at the Geneva auto show, the new car is said to be a small, premium, coupé-like three-door hatchback. It has a concept similar to the Mercedes CLC but its styling cues are from the earlier Essence concept.
According to sources, the production model is expected to be based on a new Renault-Nissan small platform that will support the next Mégane as well. However, there are reports that Infiniti struggled to find a small, efficient powerplant for the car that can still lead to a performance that matches the brand’s ‘keen driving’ values.
The focus is now on Mercedes’ 1.8-litre CGI turbocharged unit (designation DE18LA), a motor that became available due to the recent tech-sharing deal between Daimler and Renault-Nissan, says Autocar.
This unit, which is the final version of the M271 family, delivers 201bhp in its highest state of tune but its CO2 emissions level is at 178g/km in a C-class.
Under the deal, Mercedes is able to access Renault-Nissan’s electric systems and global infrastructure, as well as its small-capacity petrol engines.
The interests of the French-Japanese firm are in larger motors and diesel and hybrid technology. Cleaner Mercedes motors are believed to be the solution to fast-racking compliance with Europe’s increasingly stricter CO2 emissions regulations.
But then, the Merc influence to Infiniti is expected to extend beyond the small car. According to rumors, the firm may also be able to access the next-gen S-class platform for a larger model, fitting it with Nissan’s V6 petrol-hybrid powertrain.