Tony O'Kane | Jun 20, 2008

Mercedes has the SLK, BMW has the Z4 Coupe, Porsche has the Cayman and Infiniti... well Infiniti has nothing, really. Nissan's prestige arm is currently in the process of revitalising itself and extending its reach beyond just the US market, and part of that revitalisation process means developing new models - models like a compact coupe designed to go head-to-head with the best Europe has to offer.

Infiniti, like Lexus, has tended to model itself on Mercedes Benz and BMW, two companies who have traditionally dominated the global luxury market. Consequently Infiniti's offerings have tended to ape those from the German players, however there's been one corner of the prestige segment that's so far been neglected by the Japanese manufacturer. That all may change very soon though, as Inside Line reports that Infiniti is working on a pint-sized sports coupe that will take the fight to the Germans when it "turns up in concept car form at a motor show within the next year."

Inside Line has apparently confirmed the new coupe will be available to North American buyers in 2010, with European deliveries beginning shortly thereafter. It's likely to be based on the same FM platform as the new 370Z and could possibly share some of its architecture with Nissan's new FR compact sports car. Inside Line says to expect a 2.5-litre VQ25 V6 under the bonnet, but I'd like to think that Infiniti would eventually up the ante by dropping in the award-winning VQ37VHR from the G37 Coupe for a hi-po variant. Like most of the other cars in Infiniti's range the emphasis will be on luxury rather than performance but with the Z's chassis, a short wheelbase and a revvy motor driving the rear wheels, Infiniti's pint-sized coupe could be a real winner.

Infiniti really is shaping up to be the one to watch over the coming years. With an imminent expansion into Europe, a bevy of new models on the way and super-CEO Carlos Ghosn at the helm of parent company Nissan, Infiniti looks like it'll be giving Lexus something to worry about in the near future. Too bad we can't get 'em down here in Australia.

[Inside Line, image courtesy of Holiday Auto]

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