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Infiniti‘s Etherea Concept, shown off earlier this year at Geneva, may become a reality thanks to its partnership with Mercedes-Benz. Car and Driver has reports that Infiniti will be using Mercedes-Benz’s A-Class platform to build their own entry-level luxury hatchback, leading to speculation that a production model based on the Etherea Concept is on Infiniti’s to-do list.
But with access to both Nissan and Renault parts, why would Infiniti want to turn to Mercedes? An Infiniti exec spoke about how the new model would be all about luxury, requiring better torsional rigidity, and much better NVH than you would put into a mass brand.
Infiniti won’t just be borrowing and simply using the A-Class platform though, their engineers will be working on setting it apart from the Mercedes. When we’ll actually see this new model is an unknown, but Infiniti could definitely use a little spice and excitement next year.
GALLERY: Infiniti Etherea Concept
Unveiled at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, the Infiniti JX Concept will go into production as both an all-wheel drive model and as a front-drive version, marking the start of more front-drivers to come.
Following the JX will be a niche market electric car based on the Nissan Leaf’s front-drive architecture. After that, look for a small luxury hatchback based based on the Etherea concept and competing with cars like the Audi A3, BMW 1 Series and Lexus CT200h. And it might not end there either with Nissan of the Americas product boss Larry Dominique commenting in a recent interview with Automotive News that, “Customers really don’t care that much about the platform beneath their car.”
With greater efficiencies with front-drive platforms, in terms of both fuel economy and packaging, Dominique did confirm that despite these advantages, certain models (like the G and M), will remain rear-drivers.
Allowing Infiniti to leave the rear-drive only mindset behind is its progressive design language says Nissan global design boss Shiro Nakamura. In the past Infiniti had to rely on rear-drive, due both to it being an emerging brand and because its designs were too close to Nissan models. That, however, has changed and Nakamura believes Infiniti’s current and future styling will allow the brand to stand alone as a pure luxury marque.
GALLERY: Infiniti JX Concept
[Source: Automotive News]