Infiniti’s etherial Etherea concept

9 Mar 2011 | 2,292 views | No Comment
By Don Hammonds We all know that Infiniti designs some way cool cars. But there are times when the company outdoes even itself.  We think this may be one of those times. Take a look at the Infiniti Etherea, a special concept vehicle  bowing at this year's Geneva Motor Show. It's designed to preview how a future Infiniti entry-level compact performance luxury sedan could look.  Here at Automobile Journal, we think this could be a model to slot right under the G-Series, or it could be an entry level luxury hybrid sedan. Or, Infiniti could go entirely in another direction and use the Etherea to strongly influence the next FX generation. In fact, when we first saw a picture of it, we thought that's what this was--the successor to the current FX. Whatever it is--or will be--it's gorgeous, that's for sure. “Etherea  is about a new type of luxury for younger buyers,” said Toru Saito, Corporate Vice President and leader of the Global Infiniti Business Unit. “It is not just a smaller version of a typically conservative and traditional luxury car.” Designed under the direction of Senior Vice President of Design Shiro Nakamura, Etherea blends elements of coupe, sedan, hatchback and even crossover designs in one highly sculptural, near-mono volume form, a company statement says.     The Etherea has a number of interesting details, including a  new mechanical layout and new high-tech interpretations of traditional Japanese materials and finishes.  Infiniti officials say that the concept has several design cues set to make their mark on future production models, including a  crescent-shaped C-pillar first seen on the Infiniti Essence concept.      A news release said, "Etherea's segment-busting appeal is based on the coming together of several vehicles styles. It is part elegant coupe, part spacious sedan, part practical hatchback and even part tall crossover. And being an Infiniti, there is also a large helping of sports car in the way it drives." The release adds," The front-wheel drive Etherea  concept has been designed for a potent yet highly efficient hybrid drivetrain based around the innovative one electric motor/twin clutch system used in the new Infiniti M Hybrid." A supercharged 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine, developing 245 horsepower, provides quick response and strong acceleration throughout the performance range, company officials say. " Boosting power when more is needed, and providing silent, emission-free driving at low speeds, is an electric motor. The transmission is a continuously variable (CVT) type. An independent suspension, regenerative braking and advanced drive-by-wire electric/hydraulic steering further enhance performance." The spacious four-seat ETHEREA cabin offers all the luxury that Infiniti owners expect, plus unrivalled ease of access and egress boosted by an H-point, which is higher than that of the average compact luxury car. The Etherea has four wide-opening doors, rear-hinged at the back, and an absence of B-pillar, both of which " offer an unprecedented feeling of openness," company officials say. We will keep an eye on ths story and see how things go with this intriguing model.

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