|Infiniti Essence Concept|
The essence of the Infiniti brand distilled into one car and then taken to the extremes to satisfy the world's most demanding car enthusiasts ... this is the Infiniti Essence.
Presented as a concept at the 79th International Motor Show of Geneva, Essence is a celebration of Infiniti and its 20 years history as a creator of performance cars. But equally it is an inspiring exploration into the brand's future.
The dramatic design, technology and performance statement is a 600PS, petrol/electric hybrid coupe with rear-wheel drive. What Essence is not is merely an indulgent birthday present from Infiniti to itself.
This concept embodies Infiniti's core values as an inspiration for the future as much as a celebration of the past. Essence showcases many of the technologies, including hybrid, and design cues that will distinguish Infiniti production cars of the coming years. And by steering Infiniti's guiding principle of "Inspired Performance" into the luxury super-coupe market for the first time, it reaffirms Infiniti's place among the world's most exclusive and vibrant car brands.
With breathtaking good looks and perfect proportions, Essence exerts a powerful pull on all those who love cars. It looks like a driver's car, one that would be right at home spearing down the world's grandest motoring routes.
But Essence is no aggressive sports car. Infiniti's "Dynamic Adeyaka" attitude ensures Essence is single-minded, but also inviting, sophisticated and born of inspiration from both the human and natural worlds. To further boost its emotional appeal, it features details that bring a very modern take to some very old Japanese traditions.
The designers' aim was to merge all existing Infiniti design cues with fresh design language in a shape that the 20-year-old marque has never before attempted. The result is highly sculptural yet also very delicate. Essence speaks of power but not intimidation.
For a driver's car, the perfect driver's cabin. Essence's interior is minimalist, ergonomic and totally focused on the job in hand: to give the person behind the wheel a feeling of absolute control. And yet all this driver focus goes hand in hand with a passenger area dominated by comfort, calm and elegance to offer the kind of hospitality that is so important to the Japanese people, and also to Essence.
The asymmetrical cabin is divided into two areas separated by a large curving console between the seats that sweeps around to merge with the centre of the dashboard. The result is two very distinct cocoons. The driver's side is themed black, the passenger's "cocoon" an earthy red.
A flat-bottomed steering wheel and chronometer-style dials announce to the driver this is a serious performance machine. There are no gimmicks or sci-fi solutions here, just single-minded dedication to driving. Witness the technical nature of the displays, the short, alloy-topped gear selector and, just in front of it another finger-flick away, the bright red engine start button.
The car wraps itself around the driver who can quickly relax with the Infiniti trademarks of supportive seat and perfect driving position. There are more Infiniti cues such as the big gearchange paddle shifters behind the wheel and the analogue clock in the centre of the dash.
Essence's drivetrain is designed to meet the highest expectations of owners by delivering the one thing everyone expects of an Infiniti - sheer driving pleasure. In Essence that pleasure is taken to new heights, at the same time as previewing an innovative green hybrid engine.
Essence is unusual even in the rarefied atmosphere of the world's fastest road cars by being able to call on a mighty 600PS (592bhp). The power guarantees high performance responses on any road, in any situation. Essence is not, however, an intimidating sports racer. Like the design, the performance is designed to be sophisticated and unobtrusive - performance with a human touch.
The hybrid system is a logical extension of Infiniti parent group's groundbreaking green commitments. It offers power with efficiency, and high performance with zero-emissions running, by combining a petrol engine with an electric motor. These can work independently or together as a "parallel" hybrid system.
In congested urban areas, the electric motor alone is all that is needed for Essence to glide silently between stoplights, with no tailpipe emissions.
When the traffic clears, Essence responds with a highway performance that few cars could match. In "power assist" mode the full 600PS is unleashed with both petrol and electric power working together.
A key difference over some other hybrid systems is that both the V6 and the electric motor feed their power only to the rear wheels. Performance is more linear, response is crisper - and driving pleasure further enhanced - as a result.
Infiniti's familiar 3.7-litre V6 gasoline engine is fitted with twin Turbochargers, boosting power to 440PS (434bhp). A new direct-injection fuel system ensures the engine works more efficiently than ever in Essence.
Company press release, last updated on March 10, 2009
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