Infiniti Hits a Home Run with the Stunning Essence Concept

March 7th, 2009

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Releasing a new car concept has got to be a nerve-wracking experience for auto company execs and designers.

Hit a home run, and gain credibility within the industry and, better yet, create excitement in consumers about your brand.

Come up short, and risk being mocked by auto writers everywhere.

The Geneva Auto Show offered both examples last week and proved that even Aston Martin isn’t immune to the occasional battering by auto bloggers when a concept doesn’t quite strike the right chord.

On the other hand, the Inifiniti Essence has become an instant hit, delivering a strikingly beautiful, super-sexy supercar. 

In the words of Francois Bancon, Infiniti’s General Manager for Advanced Product Planning:

An Essence owner is characterized by his or her fearless self confidence; he or she is an intellectual hero rather than just a successful money maker.

Okay, that counts me out. Still, though, I can admire the luscious curves and advanced technology behind this show-stopping car.

This front-engined, two-seat, RWD 592-hp luxury coupe concept is actually a gas/electric hybrid with 434 hp coming from a twin-turbocharged 3.7-liter V6, and 158 hp from an electric powerplant. 

infiniti-essence-interiorInside, the Essence is said to have a minimalist (if Alcantara leather, machined aluminum, etched crystal, and holographic gauges count as minimalist) driver-focused cockpit. The cabin is divided into two areas separated by a large curving console between the seats that sweeps around to merge with the center of the dashboard. The result is what Infiniti calls “two very distinct cocoons.” The driver’s side is themed black, the passenger’s “cocoon” an earthy red. Luxury brand Louis Vuitton was called on to complete the unique interior.

It’s safe to say I’ve oficially become smitten with the Essence, so this bombshell really got me excited: Infiniti plans to release a model derived from the Essence in Europe in 2010. I just hope the production model is as sweet-looking as the concept!

What do you think of the Infiniti Essence concept? Have any other concepts caught your eye lately?

-tgriffith

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