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?

Join the debate

Comments
3

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.

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • 2016 Hyundai I30 1.4 Turbo prototype
    First Drive
    30 August 2016
    We get early access to the third-generation Hyundai i30 1.4 Turbo. Does this prototype show promise?
  • Citroën C4 Grand Picasso
    First Drive
    26 August 2016
    The Citroën Grand C4 Picasso gets tweaked styling, improved tech and new personalisation options to keep it ahead of rivals
  • Car review
    26 August 2016
    Wolfsburg celebrates the GTI’s 40th with its most extreme version yet
  • Kia Optima Sportwagon
    First Drive
    25 August 2016
    New Kia estate looks the part, has good space and handles tidily, but its engine's flexibility and refinement let it down
  •  Kia Optima PHEV
    First Drive
    25 August 2016
    Plug-in hybrid Optima is a practical, tax-efficient PHEV that undercuts rivals and fulfils its main remit well, but keen drivers need not apply