The Essence of smooth
Nissan plans a coupe with the arrival of Infiniti, writes Peter Lyon in Japan
THE arrival of the Infiniti brand in Australia could be led by a smooth new coupe. Nissan recently confirmed solid plans to bring Infiniti Down Under — after a failed first attempt in the late 1980s, just as Toyota launched Lexus — and its Essence concept car could be the headliner.
The Essence was displayed at the Geneva Motor Show last year and Japanese sources now say the car is headed for production.
It could become the new Nissan Skyline, but is equally likely to wear an Infiniti badge as the brand is expanded and sharpened for a global focus. Infiniti is already being driven hard into Europe off the back of trendy SUVs and a diesel engine program now under way.
A source close to Nissan says the Infiniti G37 coupe for 2012 will pick up a large amount of inspiration from the Essence. That means the general shape, including the gaping nose and rearward cabin, of the striking silver concept coupe.
The Essence concept car is ‘‘real world’’ with a length of 4.7m and a wheelbase of 2.2m.
But there could be some surprises on the power train front.
Nissan, which is pushing its green credentials with the launch of the Leaf plug-in electric car, is almost sure to fit a hybrid drive on the Infiniti.
That’s a contrast to the twin-turbo 3.7-litre V8 fitted to the concept car with a claimed output of 450kW.
The cars Guide source suggests it is likely to inherit the 3.5-litre hybrid power train from the current Infiniti M35 coupe, but a new tie-up with Daimler in Europe could lead to a diesel hybrid drive with even better economy and emissions.
On the way: the Infiniti Essence concept car is believed to be headed for production and sale in Australia.