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Nissan's new hatchback concept

2011-02-15 08:03

HACTHING A PLAN?: Nissan says its new Infiniti Etherea is a combination of crossover, hatchback and premium luxury car.

ROLLE, Switzerland (February 14, 2011) – Infiniti, Nissan's luxury arm, has released the first images of its concept car for the 2011 Geneva auto show in March.

Called Etherea, it is a compact luxury model that previews how a future entry-level Infiniti could look.

The pictures show an evolving Infiniti identity along with a profile distinctly different from anything currently available in the premium compact class.

"Etherea is about a new type of luxury for younger buyers," said Toru Saito, Corporate Vice President and Leader of the Global Infiniti Business Unit.

"It is not just a smaller version of a typically conservative and traditional luxury car."

LIMITED DIMENSONS, UNLIMTED APPEAL

Designed under the direction of Senior Vice President of Design Shiro Nakamura, Etherea blends elements of coupé, sedan, hatchback and even crossover in one highly sculptural, near-mono volume form.

This may sound like pure design jargon, but Nakamura's team has tried to etch each last square millimeter of the Etherea's surfacing and structure in such a manner as to ensure a blend of style and utility.

At 4.4m bumper-to-bumper (300mm longer than Nissan Juke, as a reference point), Etherea is compact yet space efficient and practical thanks to a new mechanical layout and innovative access arrangements.

INFINITE APPLICATIONS: Back in 2009 Nissan stunned Geneva show goers with its Essence concept. This time around it is the Etherea…

Among its surprises are high-tech new interpretations of traditional Japanese materials and finishes, a design directive started by the Infiniti Essence two years ago - a car regarded as being one of the best (and most original) Japanese designs of the last decade.

Several design cues from the Etherea are set to make their mark on future production models – including the highly distinctive crescent-shaped C-pillar first seen on the Essence concept.

Although concept cars are renowned for providing entertainment to design critics without having any relevance to future models, the Etherea’s compact dimensions mean that many of its details could easily be conferred to future Infiniti and Nissan models in future.

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