Sunday, May 8, 2011
Infiniti Etherea Big Ideas for Compact Cars
Years ago, there used to be general expectations for luxury cars with big and expensive garnering the most attention in high-society. However, in this new age of motoring, premium vehicles are judged with a much broader, more complicated scope where size no longer (in fact rarely) justifies a car's claim to fame. Seeing concept as well as production examples of small car luxury supplied by Lexus, Cadillac and Lincoln, the Infiniti Etherea design study debuting at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show furnishes other enlightening presentation to luxury vehicles.
Formulated through a simple brush profile which Infiniti released ahead of the vehicle's unveiling, the Etherea is indeed created with a small but enchantingly shape. Only about 168 inches long, the Etherea take a car form but echoes styling cues found on the Infiniti FX crossover platform. Given a tall roof line that helps maximizes cabin comfort, Infiniti clearly states that the Etherea is not a crossover vehicle. As a matter of fact, the Etherea is created as “four-door coupe with five-door practicality” according to the project leader and exterior designer Giichi Endo.
Thanks to wide positioning of the wheels, interior space of this Infiniti concept vehicle is spacious. Absence of a B-pillar means the Etherea is yet another concept vehicle which brilliantly presents the cabin through front and rear passenger doors opening in opposite directions. Seating for four adults, the Infiniti Etherea airy interior gives the driver a particular reward to the styling endeavour. Using a instrument display inspired by the Japanese word 'Hamon', the front passengers are served by twin screen in the center of the curvy dash panel. A third touchscreen is installed lower on the front center panel controlling functions including climate control and media.
Exhibiting a hybrid gasoline/electric powertrain configured in a similar fashion as the Infiniti M35h, the Infiniti Etherea main power is based on a supercharged 2.5 liter four-cylinder engine. Serving the front-wheel drive concept with 245 horsepower, electric assistance is on tap when the Infiniti Etherea is running at low speed or when the vehicle would need a power boost. A continuously variable transmission is used to facilitate the effort of movement.
Having previewed the direction for the company's mid-sized cars with the Ellure concept late last year, the Etherea is hinted to be an expedition into the production direction an entry-level Infiniti. Planting luxury into a more convenient package, a road-going version of the Infiniti Etherea Concept would be squarely aimed at the new Lexus CT200h and indirectly to the B-segment Lincoln promised by Ford. Separating their concept from the competitors is words of General Manager of Exploratory and Advanced Product Francois Bancon saying “ETHEREA is not a stereotype. It is a little bit borderline. It is an expression of identity and personality. It adds new values, as well as conveying existing ones.”
Information and photo source: Nissan Motor Corporation USA