Infiniti’s new Etherea concept at the Geneva show previews a stylish new front-drive coupé-hatchback that will go into production in 2014.
It borrows styling cues from the firm’s previous Essence concept – including its crescent C-pillars – while its new front and rear-light clusters preview Infiniti’s new design language that is set to appear on its next range of G-series models
Infiniti says the car introduces a new type of luxury for younger buyers. “It is not just a smaller version of a typically conservative and traditional luxury car,” said Infiniti’s global business unit chief Toru Saito.
The highly stylised concept is 4.4m long and Infiniti says it blends qualities of coupé, saloon, hatchback and crossover – thanks to its raised ride height and large carbonfibre-trimmed alloys - in “one highly sculptural, near-mono volume form”. The hi-tech Etherea will feature quality Japanese materials and finishes in its interior.
The badge on the side of the car reveals it to be a hybrid, which Autocar has previously learned from sources in Japan will be a four-cylinder petrol-electric drivetrain with hybrid technology, borrowed from the firm’s new M35h. The production version is likely to be offered with turbocharged four-cylinder engines from Mercedes.
The production Etherea is likely to be based on the Renault-Nissan’s new C-platform that will underpin around 1.5 million cars per year across the Alliance, including the next Mégane.
Infiniti says the “practical” concept features “a new mechanical layout”. It also says there are “innovative access arrangements”, which suggests the doors could be rear hinged with access only from the inside.
An insider says the Etherea is not destined for production until 2014 at the earliest, a year after Infiniti launches its own luxury electric car based on the Nissan Leaf.Mark Tisshaw