Small coupé and premium electric car lead new push to crack European market

Infiniti will launch a small front-wheel-drive coupé as it aims to expand its range and break into Europe’s lucrative premium car market, according to highly placed sources. The new coupé will borrow much of its styling from Infiniti’s radical Essence concept from last year’s Geneva motor show.

Although the new small Infiniti will have a coupé profile, it will offer similar practicality to a three-door hatchback. The Mercedes CLC will be a close competitor.

See the Infiniti Essence and the coupe design sketch

The body format promises to be a hatchback “but not as you know it ”, according to one highly placed source.

The new car, primarily aimed at the European market, will also aim to live up to Infiniti’s ‘inspired performance’ tagline, even though it will be the only front-drive model in Infiniti’s range.

“A car can be front-wheel drive and still deliver driving pleasure,” said an Infiniti source. “BMW has shown this with the Mini.”

Design features of the Essence tipped to carry over to the coupé include the show car’s tiered C-pillars.

Infiniti will also launch a premium electric car based on the Nissan Leaf in the near term. The first teaser silhouette of the electric Infiniti, initially confirmed by company boss Carlos Ghosn at last year’s Tokyo motor show, was revealed during a presentation at the Leaf’s launch last week, alongside two other future electric Nissans: the Land Glider concept and the e-LCV van.

Although the new Infiniti will use the same basic platform and underfloor battery packs, it will be markedly different from the Leaf, featuring a more powerful electric motor for improved performance.

The exterior and interior styling will be unique to Infiniti, also taking inspiration from the Essence.

Also revealed during the presentation was the clearest hint yet that Nissan will put its radical two-seat Land Glider concept into production. An image revealing a more production-ready version of the electric urban commuter ‘four-wheeled bike’ was flashed up, and it was described as being a firm part of Nissan’s future 
electric plans.

Hilton Holloway / Peter Lyon

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Comments
8

5 July 2010

I like Infiniti and I certainly am not a badge snob as many are on here (Its a British class thing and you poms can't help yourselves!). But front drive is a compromise, it is driven by package, production simplicity and cost reduction....not driving pleasure. Sure front drivers are impressive these days but you don't start out to make a drivers car with the front wheels doing all the work. Be careful Infiniti, you have a unique set of competitive premium saloons and SUV's at present but even these will struggle to make inroads to those with cash to spend on a luxury car, a front driver will do you no favours.

As for the Mini comparison, Mini's are not really sold on their "abilities", able though they are - they look pretty, they sell. In the UK, Mini as a brand is gold whereas Infiniti at present is dust. Do NOTHING to jeopardise your image.

5 July 2010

I notice ol' Nasty Nick's been quiet recently. This should smoke him out.

5 July 2010

Have to say that is a stunning looking concept.

5 July 2010

i thought merc were planning to get of the CLC for all new model soon think it is going to be called the C class coupe or somthing based on the new C class ?

5 July 2010

[quote tannedbaldhead]I notice ol' Nasty Nick's been quiet recently. This should smoke him out.[/quote]


Maybe someone has removed him from the forums...oh no, I must be living in a fairyland, he will be here shortly I am sure.

To live is to drive

5 July 2010

[quote scoch]

Have to say that is a stunning looking concept.

[/quote]

It is rather....

5 July 2010

If this car can make it to production intact it will sell whether front,rear or four wheel drive!!stunning!!

5 July 2010

FWD?

What an idea...

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