Currently reading: Geneva motor show 2011: Infiniti Etherea
New concept previews an Infiniti rival for the BMW 1-series and Audi A3

Infiniti’s Etherea is an example of an increasingly rare breed - the purely conceptual concept car.

It will be 2014 “at the earliest” before Infiniti launches into the European market dominated by the Audi A3 and BMW 1-series, but the Geneva study is an exceptionally thorough and carefully considered stab at building a distinctly Japanese compact premium car.

Under the conceptual skin is today’s Renault-Nissan Megane family platform, but the real, 4.4m-long, car is expected to be based on an upmarket version of the next-generation version of this architecture. In theory, this concept is built around a petrol-electric hybrid drivetrain, which uses a 2.5-litre, four cylinder engine, a CVT transmission and a lithium-ion battery pack.

Infiniti’s designers have attempted to create a package that is unlike anything else on the market. Brand design chief Giichi Endo describes the five door Etherea as a “four-door coupé” but one that tries to mimic the proportions of a long-bonneted, rear-drive car.

The driving position is an unusual mix of a higher than normal seating position (the driver’s hip-point is 30-50mm higher than in a similar car because the car’s floor has been subtly raised), but one that is also sporty and laid-back.

Mark Tisshaw

Title: Editor

Mark is a journalist with more than a decade of top-level experience in the automotive industry. He first joined Autocar in 2009, having previously worked in local newspapers. He has held several roles at Autocar, including news editor, deputy editor, digital editor and his current position of editor, one he has held since 2017.

From this position he oversees all of Autocar’s content across the print magazine, website, social media, video, and podcast channels, as well as our recent launch, Autocar Business. Mark regularly interviews the very top global executives in the automotive industry, telling their stories and holding them to account, meeting them at shows and events around the world.

Mark is a Car of the Year juror, a prestigious annual award that Autocar is one of the main sponsors of. He has made media appearances on the likes of the BBC, and contributed to titles including What Car?Move Electric and Pistonheads, and has written a column for The Sun.

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