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2009 Geneva Motor Show: Infiniti Essence Concept Debuts - COMPLETE VIDEO

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GENEVA - March 5, 2009: The essence of the Infiniti brand distilled into one car and then taken to the extremes to satisfy the world’s most demanding car enthusiasts – this is the Infiniti Essence. Presented as a concept at the 79th International Motor Show of Geneva, Essence is a celebration of Infiniti and its 20 years history as a creator of performance cars. But equally it is an inspiring exploration into the brand’s future. The dramatic design, technology and performance statement is a 592-horsepower, rear-wheel-drive gasoline/electric hybrid coupe.

The Essence Concept showcases many of the technologies, including hybrid, and design cues that will distinguish Infiniti production cars of the coming years. And, by steering Infiniti’s guiding principle of “Inspired Performance” into the luxury super-coupe market for the first time, it reaffirms Infiniti’s place among the world’s most exclusive and vibrant car brands.

Click PLAY to watch the complete Infiniti Press Conference

Essence Overview

• A front-engined, two-seat, 592-horsepower, rear-wheel drive luxury coupe concept measuring 185 inches long

• A preview of Infiniti’s gasoline/electric hybrid drivetrain – capable of high speeds when conditions allow, zero emissions where they don't

• Fresh design language to influence future production models

• New safety technology, including Back-up Collision Prevention

• Minimalist and intensely driver-focused interior

• "New luxury" meets traditional Japanese craftsmanship

• Louis Vuitton fitted luggage to maximize trans-continental capability

Essence Exterior Design: “Dynamic Adeyaka”
With breathtaking good looks and perfect proportions, Essence exerts a powerful pull on all those who love cars. It looks like a driver’s car, one that would be right at home on the world’s grandest motoring routes, yet Essence is not an aggressive sports car.

Infiniti’s “Dynamic Adeyaka” attitude ensures Essence is single-minded, but also inviting, sophisticated and born of inspiration from both the human and natural worlds. To further boost its emotional appeal, it features details that bring a very modern take to some very old Japanese traditions. The designers’ aim was to merge all existing Infiniti design cues with fresh design language in a shape that the 20-year-old marque has never before attempted. The result is highly sculptural yet also very delicate. Essence speaks of power but not intimidation.

The hood, as expected of an Infiniti, is long and the rear deck short. Together with a flowing “wave” profile between muscular front and rear wheel arches, Essence at first appears to be in the classic sports car mold – but there is nothing retro about Essence. The side window graphics bring a particularly innovative and distinctive edge to the styling. The window appears to be resting on a ledge, its razor sharp line in contrast to the concave sweep of the upper body just below it. The rear section also features complex surfacing with concave “scoops” that flow down the rear pillars from one of Essence’s most distinctive design cues: a C-shaped kink to the side windows’ trailing edge. Outlined by a wide flourish of stainless steel, it adds instant movement to the car even when it is standing still.

One of the most distinctive details is the trim around the side air vents. The simple yet delicate shape, finely finished in aluminium, is based on the “kanzash,” a hairpin used by women when wearing the kimono. Other lines and details are inspired by the wide brush strokes of Japanese calligraphy. Essence represents a successful merging of iconic cultural cues with automotive aesthetics.

Essence’s front is characterised by Infiniti’s signature double-arch grille, set at an angle that suggests the car is about to leap forward. There is an illuminated Infiniti badge at its heart. Rounded corners effectively hide the front overhang and make this 185-inch-long car (15.4 feet) appear anything but big in the flesh.

At the front, as over the rest of the car, Essence eschews superfluous body embellishments that could interrupt the graceful strength of the whole. The grille is framed by subtle strips of stainless steel but there’s little other trim and no other grilles or intakes, not even fog lights. The door handles are slivers of push buttons flush with the body, while even the rearview mirrors must make way for minuscule cameras teased out of the A-pillars. More familiar Infiniti cues include the lights. At the front, the signature L-shaped modules taper back on to the bulging guards, picked out at their top edge by a row of LEDs. Slender fillets of red light curve around the car at the back, overlapping with the trunk opening and framing the spoiler, which appears to have been pushed out from within the car.

Essence Interior Design: Driver-Focused

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A driver’s car demands the perfect driver’s cabin. Essence’s interior is minimalist, ergonomic and totally focused on giving the driver a feeling of absolute control – while the passenger area is dominated by comfort, calm and elegance to offer the kind of hospitality that is so important to Essence. The asymmetrical cabin is divided into two areas separated by a large curving console between the seats that sweeps around to merge with the center of the dashboard. The driver’s side is themed black, the passenger’s “cocoon” an earthy red.

A flat-bottomed steering wheel, chronometer-style dials, bright red engine start button, and short, alloy-topped gear selector announce to the driver this is a serious performance machine. Other interior features include larger gear change paddle shifters behind the wheel and a signature Infiniti analog clock. With the materials used – leather, Alcantara, hand-painted wood inspired by traditional Japanese lacquerware – the cabin exudes a rich and inviting warmth. Essence’s interior promotes a sense of well being which is key to the Infiniti driving experience.