Infiniti hasn’t written-off a halo-model luxury sports car and is still hoping to bring such a vehicle to market. In a recent interview with AutoCar, Infiniti boss Toru Saito admitted as much, but made no confirmation that the Essence Concept could see production. Currently Infiniti has put its branding focus on electric and hybrid vehicles, with the introduction of the M35h at the Paris Auto Show and an announcement that it would build a premium compact electric car based on the Nissan Leaf.
Saito did, however, confirm rumors of a rival to the BMW 1 Series and Audi A3 for Europe and it’s not yet clear if such a vehicle would be offered in North America. He also wouldn’t say if the car would be front drive, something that has been suggested as a result of the recent tie-up with Mercedes parent company Daimler. And as much as a front-drive model makes sense, Infiniti is easily the best candidate to build a compelling rival to the rear-drive 1 Series Coupe.
As for the Essence, with the M35h already combining a V6 and an innovative hybrid drive system, it might not be too big of a leap to add in turbocharging and produce a flagship model that’s both a sports car, and a hybrid.