Nissan’s luxury vehicle division, Infiniti, is considering a new high-performance four-door coupe flagship in the mould of the Porsche Panamera.
Andy Palmer, Nissan’s executive vice president responsible for future products, said the design would take its inspiration from the Infiniti Essence concept, which was first revealed at the Geneva motor show in 2009.
The new flagship car, which is not expected before 2017, is part of Infiniti’s grand plan to become a major global luxury brand by 2020.
The premium Japanese brand is targeting 10 per cent of the international luxury market, equivalent to about 500,000 vehicles, which will be backed by a significantly expanded model range and a huge investment from parent company Nissan.
Estimates put the total cost of the plan at around $10 billion, or around $1 billion each year through 2020 – enough to add up to five new models to Infiniti’s range while upgrading the existing lineup.
The company wants to avoid a head-on battle with the established European marques in the luxury market, instead planning a mix of sporty-focused sedan, coupe and SUV models – all using hybrid drivetrains.
“We won’t do a Merc S-Class type of car,” said Palmer. “We’ve had that before. We want a flagship car that’s appealing and different.”
A report by Automotive News claims Nakamura’s team is working on stretching the proportions and roofline of the Essence concept to provide a roomier cabin and two extra doors.
The car could be based on the latest Mercedes-Benz MRA (modular rear-drive architecture), just as the new Infiniti Q30 is based on Mercedes’ new MFA (modular front-drive architecture), from the latest-generation A-class hatch.
Infiniti’s plan also includes a mid-engine two-seat hybrid supercar inspired by the company’s Emerge-E concept first shown at the Goodwood Festival in 2011.
Despite its supercar status, the Emerge-E will be appointed with a luxury interior that would be more in the mould of an Aston Martin than a Ferrari.