Infiniti says new model will allow it to compete in the 'heart of the premium segment'

Infiniti has begun testing its Etherea concept model with Sebastian Vettel in France.

The new car, described as being entry-level, will open up a new market sector for Infiniti. The Etherea concept  was first seen at the Geneva motor show with Infiniti saying the Etherea would introduce a new type of luxury for younger car buyers. The Etherea will be based on the Mercedes A-class and will be built at Nissan's Sunderland plant.

Infiniti says testing currently being done by Sebastian Vettel in his role as director of performance for the brand will directly influence future models, including the Etherea.

Testing is currently being done at Circuit Paul Ricard in France. The current Formula One World Champion said: “As new Infiniti cars are created, it is really important for us to develop them with their own consistent driving style, so it has been really useful to be able to drive so many cars hard and back-to-back on the same track.

“Similar to Formula One cars, it’s interesting to feel how different cars are configured for steering response and braking, as well as driver-assistance features like ESP and Traction Control. Getting these things right is what makes a good car great.”

Vettel has increased his partnership with the Infiniti brand, having started in 2011, to help develop several vehicles including its latest model, the Q50 and the Infiniti FX Vettel Edition.

Our Verdict

Infiniti Q50
The Q50 is the first all-new model to use the 'Q' badge

Is this less individualist Infiniti saloon more of a threat to German rivals?

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28 May 2013

Looks like a modern Vel Satis.

Coincidence, given the Renault-Nissan Alliance?....

28 May 2013

I have only ever seen one Infinity close up. The owner was pleased enough with his vehicle but not wildly enthusiastic. Will this be enough for the brand?

28 May 2013

Based on the A-Class?! Oh dear, not exactly the greatest car to off start off with and probably the most disappointing new car last year, unless Infiniti can make a better fist of things in the handling, ride and refinement department.

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