NASHVILLE, TN - The Infiniti Essence concept, swoopy luxury sports coupe which looks like a cross between an Aston Martin DBS and a Fisker Karma S, was ostensibly built by Infiniti to celebrate 20 years of the brand's existence, according to www.caranddriver.com. Based on the FM platform that underpins the G37 coupe and sedan, the FX crossover, and the M35/45 sedan, the striking Essence previews Nissan's forthcoming hybrid drivetrains, as well as Infiniti's future design thinking.
At 186-in. long and 77-in. wide, it's a big car, and sits on suitably outrageous 22-inch wheels and tires. Despite its physical size, it seats just two people. Under the hood, there's a direct-injected, twin-turbocharged version of the 3.7L VQ V-6 that makes 434 hp, which is mated with an electric motor that generates 158 hp and 369 lb.-ft. of torque, for a combined output of 592 hp in "power assist" mode.
The thin, disk-shaped electric motor is claimed to use a new type of technology that reduces the size while offering twice the torque of a conventional motor, according to www.caranddriver.com. This is a parallel hybrid system using twin clutches between the gas engine and electric motor, driving through an automatic transmission to the rear wheels. A lithium-ion battery is fitted in the trunk and can be recharged by brake-energy regeneration through the electric motor.
According to Francois Bancon, general manager, advanced product planning for Nissan, this hybrid powertrain is essentially the same as the one that will be used on future U.S. vehicles, although it's unlikely it would ever have this much power or feature a twin-turbo engine. "The hybrid is key for America," he said, "and will be increasingly key in Europe, too, because of Euro 6 diesel emissions regulations and because getting close to zero emissions in cities lowers congestion charges. In the U.S., diesels mean trucks, while hybrid means high tech to consumers."