Infiniti have released images of their new ETHEREA concept which will is due to make its world debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March. The ETHEREA, is a compact luxury model that is said to preview how a future entry-level Infiniti could look.

With a profile that borrows some of the design cues from Infiniti’s 2008 ESSENCE concept, the ETHEREA looks distinctly different from anything currently available in the premium compact class, but we’re not so sure that’s something to brag about.

Japanese cars which sell successfully in mainstream international markets tend to have a European feel to their design, hopefully Infiniti will gain some useful customer feedback from the next few motor shows.

Infiniti ESSENCE
Can we ever forgive Infiniti for not putting the gorgeous ESSENCE Concept into production? Infiniti are hoping to let some of its design cues live again in future production models.

“ETHEREA is about a new type of luxury for younger buyers,” said Toru Saito, Corporate Vice President and Leader of the Global Infiniti Business Unit. “It is not just a smaller version of a typically conservative and traditional luxury car.”

Designed under the direction of Senior Vice President of Design Shiro Nakamura, ETHEREA blends elements of coupé, sedan, hatchback and even crossover in one sculptural, near-mono volume form.

At 4.4m it is compact but at the same time it’s space efficient and practical thanks to a new mechanical layout and innovative access arrangements.

Among its surprises are high-tech new interpretations of traditional Japanese materials and finishes, and several design cues set to make their mark on future production models – including the highly distinctive crescent-shaped C-pillar first seen on the Essence concept.

You can see the ETHEREA for yourself at the Geneva Motor Show, Hall 1, Booth 1030 at 12:15 CET on Tuesday 1 March 2011.

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