Mike Stevens | Feb 16, 2011

Nissan's US-market luxury arm Infiniti has unveiled the Etherea concept at Geneva this week, following the release of a teaser illustration in September last year.

The latest in a growing collection of concepts for the brand, the Etherea hints at Infiniti's plans for a compact luxury model that will face off against the BMW 1 Series, the Audi A3 and the upcoming Lexus CT 200h.

Measuring 4400mm long - around 100mm longer than Nissan's Tiida hatch - the Etherea is powered by petrol/electric hybrid arrangement which sees a 182kW 2.5 litre supercharged four-cylinder engine combined with an electric motor.

Power is sent to the front wheels through a continuously variable automatic transmission.

Infiniti design boss Shiro Nakamura describes the Etherea as a cross between a hatch, sedan and coupe, even drawing cues from the larger SUV segment.

On the styling front, the Etherea continues a design language established by the popular Essence concept revealed in 2009 - a concept which, despite enormously positive feedback, was never destined for production.

Nakamura added that more than a few of the Etherea's design elements will make their way to future Infiniti models, including the headlight and taillight styling.

“ETHEREA is about a new type of luxury,” Toru Saito, Corporate Vice President and Leader of the Global Infiniti Business Unit said.

“It is for younger buyers who do not want a smaller version of a typically conservative and traditional luxury car. It is for people who want a car that defines who they are, not who their parents were.”



Nissan's local arm confirmed to TMR earlier this year that Infiniti will return to the Australian market - it is simply a matter of when.

And unlike the brand's last unsuccessful foray here, Nissan will relaunch Infiniti as a standalone brand with its own dealerships - just like Lexus - rather than using the existing Nissan dealer network and showrooms.

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