Infiniti Essence Concept Premieres in Geneva

March 12th, 2009 BY njkaters | No Comments

Infiniti is known for its sleek, stylish and pricey luxury cars around the world. In a play to increasingly eco-friendly consumers, Infiniti unveiled its Essence concept car at the Geneva Motor Show. The Essence is a two-door, rear-wheel drive coupe that is said to produce 592 bhp under the hood. While Infiniti is still off in the distance compared to other automakers going green, the Essence is a step in the right direction.

The Infiniti Essence has a 3.7-liter V6 gasoline engine that would not look out of place in the automaker’s traditional cars. Infiniti added a pair of turbochargers to boost the engine’s performance to 592 bhp. A direct injection fuel system eliminates wasted fuel while ensuring an efficient ride on back roads and highways.

Infiniti used a Nissan 3D electric motor as part of its hybrid drivetrain to improve fuel efficiency. The starter-generator is run entirely on electric power, solving the problem of wasted fuel at ignition. Infiniti kept the motor in the front and moved the lithium-ion battery pack to the trunk to ensure easy access. The Infiniti Essence is quoted at 29.6 miles per gallon in highway driving based on these features in addition to drastic reductions in carbon dioxide emissions.

Fans of past Infiniti models will warm to the Essence because of its interior comforts and passenger safety features. The interior of the Essence is split down the middle by a center console with driver’s side seats decked out in black and passenger side seats in red. The Essence features crash sensors on both sides to alert drivers when objects appear when driving in reverse or switching lanes.

The Infiniti Essence concept looks great and sounds ideal for drivers dipping their toes into the hybrid market. The problem with the Essence and other concepts is that they face the burden of living up to the hype. Even if the Essence were to make it to the marketplace, anyone vaguely familiar with the balance of performance and fuel mileage would question Infiniti’s claims about the coupe. A fuel-mileage rating just under 30 MPG combined with a 592-bhp turbocharged engine sounds too good to be true.