Infiniti says: ETHEREA encapsulates everything that Infiniti stands for including a no-compromise hybrid power in 4.4m long car.
“ETHEREA is completely different from current luxury compact cars,” says Senior Vice President of Design, Shiro Nakamura, “that is appropriate for a new generation of drivers who think themselves as different…ETHEREA is highly significant and a breakthrough in what Infiniti thinks about itself.” Since its inception Infiniti has always struggled to create an identity of its own, Nakamura himself even struggled in perhaps visualising that identity. Caught between being simply the luxury end of Nissan in the US to compete with Acura and Lexus it now seeks to establish roots in Europe. The ETHEREA is in fact a breakthrough, not just in the press release but also in the flesh. You need to observe it, travel around it's complex positive and negative contours to come to the realisation that something new is happening here. It feels as if Japanese design has found its point of maturity on parallel with the daunting legacy that always cast a shadow from the great European automakers. ETHEREA is not shy about its Japanese flow of form with very expressive eyes akin to Japanese Opera face-paint, nor does it hide behind such a mask. Unconventional it is, yet at the same time very calculated and balanced; as the headlights look straight on the eyebrow line sweeps back into a beautifully crafted ripple that is the shoulder line of the car. The rear pillars feel as if they have been painted on in one concerted brushstroke finishing in a whisp of a tail. Equally Japanese is the design of the interior with the use of smooth stone shapes for the seats in light colours trimmed with Kumihimo, kimono-inspired piping, contrasted by the vertical strips on the inside of the doors called Inuyarai. The tachometer radiates outward as do the ripples that emanate from a drop in the water or the contours of a Japanese garden. Nothing is left to chance. This compact luxury car aimed as an exploration of a future entry-level Infiniti production model redefines what a traditional coupé might look like as imagined by a new generation that has come of age and purchasing power and most definitely does not want to drive their parents’ old Mercedes!