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.
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.