Infiniti Gives a Glimpse of Future Design Language
The Essence Concept is the vehicle on which all new Infiniti models will be based
Last week, we got an up-close and personal look at the $2.4 million Infiniti Essence Concept here in New York City at the trendy Cooper Square Hotel on the Lower East Side. First revealed to the world at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show, the Essence was the only bright spot on an otherwise dark and dreary evening, as the rain poured down on the journalists in attendance.
The slick-looking turbocharged gas-electric hybrid is part of a design and powertrain study to give the world a glimpse into the future of Infiniti automobiles, both in terms of what they will look like and how they will be powered.
“You will see design elements of this car in all of our future vehicles,” said Ben Poore, vice president of Infiniti’s business unit. “It’s a signpost for where we want to go as a company.”
As you can see from our on-the-scene shot, above, the Essence is low-slung, big-wheeled and flashy, just like a good concept should be. The vehicle’s gas-electric powertrain allows the car to run on only battery power at low speeds, which makes it carbon-dioxide-free at the tailpipe. But it can also run both the gas engine and electric motor in tandem, with the latter providing a handy performance boost for the 3.7-liter engine, which itself has 434 horsepower.
Unfortunately, you will never see the Essence in showrooms. It is a concept in the true sense of the term. However, as Poore suggests, you will be able to see bits and pieces of it: “Just take a look at our new M from the front and side. The similarities are subtle, but they are there. I was just in Japan looking at the latest designs coming out of our design studio, and the similarities will be much more pronounced on future products.”
Though the automaker didn’t have any announcements to make about future hybrid models or plug-in electric vehicles, Poore says this is definitely the direction in which they are heading. “It’s too early to talk about anything,” he says. “We first have to build our first hybrid engine for our M before moving on to plug-ins. But they aren’t out of the realm of possibility.”
The Essence is part of a nationwide tour by Infiniti to keep in touch with customers, since many have decided to stay away from the auto-show circuit this year. (You can see where the tour stops next at Infiniti's Web site.)
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