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Infiniti models, news & reviews
By Tim Pollard
19 May 2009 13:01
Infiniti showed its epic Essence concept car at the 2009 Geneva motor show, causing one of the few surprises of the day: a large GT hybrid supercar emerged from under a dustsheet, mixing Modenese style with very contemporary Japanese petrol-electric battery technology. It was my personal show-stopper, a perfect celebration to mark Infiniti's 20th anniversary. Once the Palexpo show doors shut up shop for the final time, the Essence was smuggled away from the public gaze and hasn't been seen since. Until now.CAR Magazine spent a day with the Essence concept car a few weeks ago to shoot our six-page feature in the new July issue. And we managed to persuade the car's handlers to take us for a spin in this priceless (well, it's insured for €2 million) one-off. So here are our first riding impressions from the passenger seat of the new Essence.Infiniti Essence: a Maserati from JapanWe walk into a dark old warehouse location in Germany, where the Infiniti is waiting for me and CAR's snapper John Wycherley. The Essence looks as good as I remembered it the day it span dizzily on its motor show stand. Bereft of glamorous girls and searing arc lights, the Infiniti coupé looks slinky of stance and pure of purpose. It's achingly beautiful and I love the unlacquered silver paint, with its technical feel. You'll want to stroke it, believe me.Approach the Essence and it's hard not to see some of the Maserati Granturismo in that long bonnet and shark-nose grille. There are shades of Aston Martin in the side profile – but there is plenty that is original too. The S-shaped C-pillar provides some athletic interest in the window line, and it's a motif we expect to transfer to Infiniti's road cars soon.Look closely, too, at the rump of the Essence concept car. Design director Shiro Nakamura tells us the rear lights, badge and gentle convex bulge are all bound for production cars. Shame there are no plans to build a top-end coupé at this stage, though.Inside the Infiniti EssenceThe doors pop open and I'm allowed to clamber inside. Shoes duly removed and don't touch the paintwork. That droolworthy bodywork is exposed to fingerpirints and you have to wear white gloves like a Tokyo taximan before you're allowed to touch the Essence.I sink into the low-set driver's seat. The cabin wraps around you and it feels simple, snug, right. Nakamura-san's design team has given the Essence an asymmetric cabin, the driver's side trimmed in grippy charcoal suedes and the centre console swoops into the transmission tunnel, angled heavily towards the pilot with the minimum of buttons to confuse and clutter. The passenger space is lined with a more luxurious burgundy leather.The switchgear itself deserves special mention. Most buttons are replaced by 16 tiny oval slugs of metalwork, peeping through the leather that swathes the dashboard. A tiny joystick of a gearlever protrudes from the tunnel and just one switch gives the game away that this is a supercar fit for the 21st century: a stop-start button that you won't find in any current Ferrari or Aston Martin.Click 'Next' to read how the Infiniti Essence drives on the road.>> See CAR's exclusive photoshoot of the new Infiniti Essence in the new July 2009issue of CAR Magazine, out 20 May
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Infiniti Essence (2009) concept car first ride and video
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RE: Infiniti Essence concept car first ride and video
Very nice fluid (liquid) lines on the outside. Just terribly cruddy interior with very fussy dials, someone lost the plot in here! If Infiniti makes it expect sales over here to be precisely 5. Sexing up your Nissans would be time better spent
20 May 2009 07:32
Looks to me like we've found Fiskers finaciers, this could be a coupé from the same family. I hope the make it or something like it, but soon.
19 May 2009 21:44
It is rather good-looking, if rather derivative. Agree it should be a Nissan, not a ninfinity (whatever that is).
19 May 2009 16:32
I think Infiniti/Nissan are missing a trick if they don't build this car. Lexus is coming out with their LSF or whatever and this would be a perfect riposte. The Japanese may have won the hearts of the masses with their bland but reliable transport but vehicles like these would win the hearts of enthusiasts and that is worth a lot in automotive good will if nothing else.
19 May 2009 16:11
a t o m i c
It's a great looking car. They should call it a Nissan, though. The GTR proves that it's the quality of engineering rather than the badge on the grille that people are interested in, and a few of these driving around will change perceptions of the Nissan badge in pretty short order.
19 May 2009 15:26
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