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Infiniti Essence Concept Revealed

Embodies Core Infiniti Values for the Future

L'eau d'Infiniti. A brand personification; Infiniti's 'Essence' in concept form. Presented this week at the Geneva Motor Show, the Essence showcases Infiniti's core values for the future and a compact celebration of the brand's past. Heralding a future of Infiniti's 'Inspired Performance' into the luxury super-coupe market for the first time, the Essence aims at re-establishing Infiniti at the heart of the world's most vibrant brands and positioning it towards the most exclusive.

With a first for Infiniti, the Essence provides the company's first motor show preview of their petrol/electric hybrid powertrain. Dubbed appropriately as 'responsibly powerful', the combination of 3.7-litre twin-turbo V6 engine and the firm's new 3D electric motor feed a mighty 600 PS to a rear-wheel-drive setup. An equally mighty 160 PS being chanelled from the electric motor, the technology works on optimisations to the layout of the electromagnetic coils and permanent magnets - decreasing the lithium-ion battery's size and increasing output.

But the concept's essence requires further investigation. Turning to the design, the Essence is not about showing signs of wealth or success, says Shiro Nakamura, Senior Vice President of Design. It's a 'driver's car', but not an 'aggressive sports car'. Infiniti's "Dynamic Adeyaka" is said to inspire design from both the human and natural worlds, bringing a new classical and dynamic shape to the brand not experimented with in Infiniti's 20-year history.

The Essence is as much a driver's car in the cabin - while the cabin is as much a passenger's car. Two seperate 'cocoons' - the driver's side themed black and the passenger's side themed 'earthy red' - dominate the interior's design. But designers claim the real magic is the 'hidden tech' - allowing minimalism in place of controls and information overload. An exclusive range of luggage specifically designed for the concept car by Louis Vuitton harks back to the partnerships first made with coachbuilders in 1908.

Coinciding not only with the brand's 20-year anniversary as a platform for the three pillars of Infiniti (driving pleasure, hospitality and peace of mind), the Essence takes Infiniti forward with their current challenge: introduction into the European market.

Source: Infiniti

INFINITI ESSENCE: THE MAGNIFICATION OF "INSPIRED PERFORMANCE"

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.

ESSENCE: AN OVERVIEW

* A front-engined, two-seat, 600PS luxury coupe concept, 4.7m long
* First motor show preview of Infiniti's petrol/electric hybrid drivetrain
* Capable of vast speeds where conditions allow, zero emissions where they don't
* Rear-wheel drive for maximum driver involvement
* Fresh design language to influence future production models
* Previews new safety technology including Back-up Collision Prevention
* Minimalist and intensely driver-focused interior
* "New luxury" meets traditional Japanese craftsmanship
* Bespoke Louis Vuitton fitted luggage to maximise trans-continental capability

ESSENCE: THE CONCEPT

"An Essence owner is characterised by his or her fearless self confidence; he or she is an intellectual hero rather than just a successful money maker."
Francois Bancon, General Manager Advanced Product Planning

Essence began life not in the design studio but in Infiniti's product planning department. Francois Bancon, General Manager Advanced Product Planning, and his team might not, at the start of the project, have known how Essence would look, but they did know what it had to be, why it had to exist - and who it would appeal to.

"Essence is a brand icon," Francois Bancon said. "It is driven more by a conceptual approach than by any design execution. It is not just an object. It isn't a teaser for a new model. It is solely dedicated to Infiniti brand promotion, to demonstrate and advocate the Infiniti unique values."

The concept called for a very clear understanding of who the super-luxury coupe's potential customers would be. Painstakingly, Bancon and his team of advanced product planners built up a picture of a typical Essence owner. It was a profile that showed an uncompromising, risk-taking 42-year-old passionate about the best things in life, but equally passionate about not flaunting them. "These consumers don‘t need to demonstrate to others," said Bancon. "They are already at the next step of achievement that leads to rewarding themselves first."

Francois Bancon went on: "We wanted a new way of mixing various ingredients to get a car that was reserved but with a big presence, something trendy but also indicating the next trend. We wanted a car that aspired to become a cult. It had to be exclusive, smart and mysterious. For the driver, it had to sum up the six-word essence of Essence:

Everything I want, nothing I don't

ESSENCE IN DETAIL

1. DESIGN: DYNAMIC ADEYAKA

"The design embeds a sense of mystery, a sense of being in the know. Essence is not about showing signs of wealth and success."
Shiro Nakamura, Senior Vice President of Design

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.

The bonnet is, as you would expect of an Infiniti, long, and the rear deck short. Together with a flowing "wave" profile between muscular front and rear wheelarches, Essence at first appears to be in the classic sports car mould. But there is nothing retro about Essence.

The side window graphics bring a particularly innovative and distinctive edge to the styling. The window appears to be resting on a ledge, its razor sharp line in contrast to the concave sweep of the upper body just below it. Imagine juxtaposing flowing water with the stark outline of a canyon landscape.

The rear section also features complex surfacing with concave "scoops" that flow down the rear pillars from one of Essence's most distinctive design cues: a C-shaped kink to

the side windows' trailing edge. Outlined by a wide flourish of stainless steel, it adds instant movement to the car even when it is standing still.

One of the most distinctive details is the trim around the side air vents. The simple yet delicate shape, finely finished in aluminium, is based on the "kanzashi", a hairpin used by women when wearing the kimono. Other lines and details are inspired by the wide brush strokes of Japanese calligraphy. Essence represents a successful merging of iconic cultural cues with automotive aesthetics.

Essence's front is characterised by Infiniti's signature double-arch grille, set at an angle that suggests the car is about to leap forward. There is an illuminated Infiniti badge at its heart. Rounded corners effectively hide the front overhang and make this 4.7m-long car appear anything but big in the flesh.

The grille is framed by subtle strips of stainless steel but there's little other trim and no other grilles or intakes, not even foglights. At the front as over the rest of the car, Essence eschews superfluous body embellishments that could interrupt the graceful strength of the whole. The door handles are slithers of push buttons flush with the body while even rear-view mirrors must make way for minuscule cameras teased out of the A-pillars.

More familiar Infiniti cues include the lights. At the front the signature L-shaped modules taper back on to the bulging guards, picked out at their top edge by a row of LEDs. Slender fillets of red light curve around the car at the back, overlapping with the boot opening and framing the vestigial spoiler. Edged by more stainless steel, the spoiler appears to have been pushed out from within the car.

The windscreen flows back into a full glass roof that then tapers down towards the boot opening - making just one more memorable view of a car that doesn't have a wrong angle to it.

On design, Essence is simple and amazingly complex, classical and totally dynamic all at the same time. Most of all as the epitome of "Dynamic Adeyaka" it boasts massive presence. Once seen, never forgotten.

2. INTERIOR: DRIVER-FOCUSED

"Detailed artistic expression and the rich warmth of the human hand go far beyond mechanical precision."
Shiro Nakamura, Senior Vice President of Design

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.

Infiniti designers believe the best functionality works behind the scenes, appearing only when needed. They call this "hidden tech", and it's the key to the functional minimalism that dominates the control layout. By not baffling drivers with buttons or overburdening them with information, Essence offers a sense of well-being to everyone, allowing them to focus entirely on enjoying the energising driving experience.

With the materials used - leather, Alcantara, hand-painted wood inspired by traditional Japanese lacquerware - the cabin exudes a rich and inviting warmth. Attention to detail is such that even the leather seams on the seat backs differ from left side to right side. Why? So they can accurately reflect the way Japanese men and women tie their kimonos.

Essence's interior promotes a sense of well-being which is key to the Infiniti driving experience.

3. DRIVETRAIN: POWER WITH RESPONSIBILITY

"Infiniti's performance feel has been captured as natural dynamism, like energy rising from within."
Francois Bancon, General Manager Advanced Product Planning

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.

Essence previews a new type of electric motor, called 3D Motor, that was designed to meet tough requirements on size and power output. The result is a particularly slim, disc-shaped motor that has twice the torque of a conventional unit. Its design was achieved by 3D magnetic field analysis to optimise the layout of the electromagnetic coils and permanent magnets.

In Essence, the motor is positioned between the engine and transmission and provides 160PS (158bhp), drawing power from a compact lithium-ion battery pack in the boot area. Because the 3D Motor operates in both propulsion and power regeneration modes, the battery pack is kept charged up.

Optimised energy useage across the widest possible range of driving conditions is guaranteed by two separate clutches which "switch in" the motors as required. It is a system that needs no torque converter, further enhancing responsiveness and driving pleasure.

4. SAFETY: A COLLISION-FREE FUTURE

On a global level, Infiniti is committed to building safer vehicles equipped with advanced safety technologies.

Essence previews some of the next-generation safety features that will ensure Infiniti cars remain among the safest on the road. Chief among them is a "Safety Shield" that goes a long way towards the Infiniti engineers' dream of a collision-free car.

The Safety Shield adds two new technologies to the Distance Control Assist (DCA) and Lane Departure Prevention (LDP) systems that are available in today's production Infinitis. Side Collision Prevention (SCP) and Back-up Collision Prevention (BCP) extend the anti-collision shield all the way around the car.

With SCP, when the driver decides to change lanes, side-mounted sensors activate a warning if an approaching vehicle is detected in the driver's intended lane. A yaw mechanism is then activated through brake control of individual wheels to help prevent a potential collision. Back-up Collision Prevention works in a similar way, sensing a vehicle behind, giving the driver a warning but then, if the warning is not heeded, activating the brakes automatically.

The warning system and pre-emptive safety features are designed to help support the driver in an intuitive manner with minimal intervention.

5. PRACTICALITY: A VERY BESPOKE SOLUTION

The team behind Essence harked back to an early motoring era to find the right solution for carrying luggage. The result is as classy as luggage ever gets, surprisingly practical and dreamily romantic. It also re-establishes the historic ties between a carmaker and one of the best-known names in luxury goods - Louis Vuitton.

Vuitton first worked with a coachbuilder - the famous Kellner company­ - in 1908, equipping one of their early luxury limousines with a set of bespoke luggage. Other coachbuilders quickly beat a path to Vuitton's door in Paris. Made-to-measure Vuitton trunks were an integral feature of some of the greatest cars of the first part of the 20th century.

The collaboration between Infiniti and Vuitton revives the idea of a set of the highest quality luggage made to fit exactly a car's boot area. In Essence there are three rigid pieces: a matched pair of slender briefcases atop a large trunk. All are made in the new Damier Graphite canvas and feature sleekly integrated handles and an overall design in harmony with the car itself.

There is hi-tech, too. A button on the key fob electrically opens the boot lid, allowing the boot floor to slide silently rearwards. This is one boot an owner will never have to struggle to access.

In a nod at tradition, the cases even bear the initials of their owner - SN, standing for Shiro Nakamura, Senior Vice President of Design.

6. INFINITI: 20 YEARS OF PERFORMANCE CARS

The Essence has been 20 years in the making. For that is how long the essence of the marque - its very being, a distillation of everything that Infiniti stands for - has taken to reach its current state of perfection.

The idea behind Infiniti was first discussed in 1985 but it wasn't until November 1989 that the first Infiniti model was sold in North America. Today it is the fastest growing luxury brand in the US.

But it is also far more than just a US brand. Today Infiniti has more than 230 dealers in 15 countries with worldwide sales of 150,000 annually.

Infiniti's success is down to many things, not least the "Dynamic Adeyaka" attitude behind every Infiniti model. When Adeyaka meets The Total Ownership Experience the result is the three pillars of Infiniti: driving pleasure, hospitality and peace of mind.

All these values are perfectly summed up by Essence which is revealed at the Geneva Motor Show of 2009 not only to coincide with the marque's 20th anniversary, but also in the midst of the brand's current challenge: to take on the European market.

 

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Comments (51)

 GTurbo GTurbo
Well, I'm the 50th entrant here. The Essence of Infiniti has generated that much commentary and it bodes well for the R36 GT-R! If Euroskeptics are still sniggering about this car, performance potential and price tag, then wait till Infiniti builds it and Nissan GT-R benefits from the platform and engine! To Infiniti and beyond!
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December 23, 2009 6:12 pm
 jlboy26 jlboy26
well said tariq.. A Gtr with a tuxedo
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September 26, 2009 12:05 am
 mortz mortz
For who ever is interested ive just read that the Nissan team are heading back to the nurburgring with the 2009 GT-R to beat its current record at 7.29.
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March 5, 2009 2:49 am
 Decypha Decypha
Perhaps I shoulda stuck to sketching randoms in my school books, this looks like something I drew and threw away; I'm sorry people but it does very little for me. Next...
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March 4, 2009 10:47 pm
 Geefiasco Geefiasco
Stunning.
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March 4, 2009 4:20 pm
 cronan cronan
Wierd. Dont like the grill, has wrong dimensions, looks unproportionate like they fixed it the day before revealing.
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March 4, 2009 4:04 pm
 sapphirebooze sapphirebooze
wow!! good work Nissan/infiniti! This is gonna stir up a storm in the car market!
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March 4, 2009 3:21 pm
 BDSawicki BDSawicki
Wow, this one looks great! As a Lexus fan, I am most happy to see the way Infiniti is going - Lexus will have to compete (unless they want to lose the battle) and I hope they will compete. And what's better than competition? Where would Merc/BMW/Audi be if they did not compete with each other! Very, very good. And a very very nice car! Well done Infiniti!
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March 4, 2009 12:22 pm
 carcrazy1234 carcrazy1234
holy... picture 4 can you say aston martin one-77???? god damn. i have to say though this looks better :P!!! sorry 1.5 million dollar aston sorry. :P
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March 4, 2009 7:08 am
 carcrazy1234 carcrazy1234
yes and also the IS-F handles sh*t compared to the M3 which it was supposed to compete with. hell of a car, but apparently it likes to be sideways a lot towards (Xanavi23)
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March 4, 2009 7:05 am
 car-o-bar car-o-bar
This is the nicest concept of the decade if not more. If Nissan builds it and retains 90% of design elements and more importantly ensures performance better than the GT-R this car can give big boys run for their money. I was so impressed with Audi R8s simplicity of design but this is complex yet elegant. AAAMMMAZINGGGG.!!!
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March 4, 2009 5:22 am
 indahead indahead
Infinity wants to be an exclusive car maker?HAHA what a joke.Look at the prices of your cars.In order for something to be exclusive,it has to offer high quality on a high price.And you do the exact opposite!These japs will never learn how to make good cars...
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March 4, 2009 4:09 am
 unknownuser unknownuser
Ouch...this car is so good, I am shocked... After seeing this the other cars at the show don't look interesting at all... Like others have said, I hope the interior materials are of better quality than the current Infiniti models. The custom Vuitton luggage with Mr. Nakamura's initials are a nice touch.
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March 4, 2009 3:34 am
 Alfafox5 Alfafox5
First, I have an old 97 Lexus ES300, and today I was looking at several new Lexii in the showroom, and was dissapointed. The fact is, the plastics in my old Lex are softer, with a rubberized feel, lower sheen, and less grainyness than the newest ES300? So, what gives? Well IMO the only Lexus with serious thrill-power is teh LS430, it is covered in serious kit, in and out. What makes me sad is what I saw today tells me Lexus will not win the long and fun battle with cross-town rival Infiniti because they are coasting on Badge-appeal, instead of real skill, giving all the good stuff to the LS430 and dressing up Toyota parts for the other cars. One exception is the cheapest Lexus, the IS330, it is better resolved and uses better materials than the very brand-new Lexus RX. That said, this Infiniti is beautiful, in the binnacle photo there's a nice nod to the US, the navi is pointing toward Detroit. A very subtle way of keeping the States in mind perhaps? Or are they telling us this beauty is going to arrive on our shores soon? Either way, it is well resolved, the interior is superb, the guages are futuristic without looking ill-proportioned (IE Current Civic), and I like how the signature clock is retained, breaking up the surface volumes of the dash. My take, refine the shoulder line, and fine tune the non-Hoffmeister kink to a slightly more balanced or centered form and it's a go. Oh, one last thought, the wheels look derivative, I'd say add volume to them with clean, articulate patterns, and a lustrous sheen to complement the body, let the trim be the sparkle, maybe even use kevlar or carbon fiber in the wheels to build some black contrast into the shapes. As for the cross-town rivalry, it is interesting to note that whatever they call it, (Lexus calls it L-Finesse) both Lexus and Infiniti are doing a similar treatment to their cars, but Infiniti is doing a better job. So what does it all mean? Who knows, but my guess is we can ask Lexus how they feel about 2nd place when these two brands meet for their 30 year celebration. Nice work Infiniti, nice work! Drive on people, drive on!
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March 4, 2009 3:02 am
 wjaprep wjaprep
Monster luxury car. (and i dnt mean tht as an insult) this is rather sexy...
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March 3, 2009 11:10 pm
 mortz mortz
WOW, its breath taking 10/10 for design, hope they produce this. i just love the lines i cant stop looking at it. whats happened to Lexus they better pull finger otherwise they will be left well in the dust. AWSOME Nissan keep up the good work.
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March 3, 2009 11:09 pm
 Siawa Siawa
That is some sharp car. Love the agression on Infiniti designs.
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March 3, 2009 10:56 pm
 AmazingJerry AmazingJerry
Wa Wa Wee Wa, this is certainly one of the best concepts at Geneva.
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March 3, 2009 10:52 pm
 politz politz
OMG Sex on wheels.
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March 3, 2009 10:34 pm
 car-o-bar car-o-bar
This is s bomb. BUILD IT Nissan, but please use high end material, quality. No body wants a rattling super car.
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March 3, 2009 9:31 pm
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