Infiniti are about to launch in Europe (not the best of times to be launching a range-topping bunch of cars, we must say) so to grab a few headlines they have brought their Essence Concept to Geneva.
The Infiniti Essence Concept is a show-pleaser, designed to grab a few headlines and give Nissan (makers of the Infiniti – which is Nissan’s equivalent of Toyota’s Lexus) some coverage of the brand ahead of the launch of its cars in Europe. And we’ve got to admit, a classy-looking, swoopy-coupe with a few eco-credentials is not a bad way to go.
The Essence is actually pretty imposing in the flesh. Much bigger than you would expect for a Japanese coupe (it’s over 15 feet long), it sports a 3.7 litre V6 turbo, coupled to an electric motor, the combination of which yields an impressive 590bhp.
Despite its size, and the fact that it is much more American in scale than Japanese, the cabin accommodates just two, and is much more Japanese in feel than the outside. The drivers area is ‘snug’ feeling, almost womb-like, and features wood trim that mimics Japanese Laquerware. The steering wheel is flat-bottomed and the upholstery has asymmetrical stitching. A set of bespoke Louis Vuitton Luggage takes pride of place in the power-loading boot and, despite the slightly incongruous mix of styles, the whole car is remarkably cohesive.
Of course, this is a concept car, and designers’ flights of fancy are accommodated in a way that wouldn’t happen in a production car. Still, it’s an impressive car, and a fine curtain-raiser for Infiniti’s launch in to Europe.