The Essence of smooth

Nis­san plans a coupe with the ar­rival of In­finiti, writes Peter Lyon in Ja­pan

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige -

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.

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