Essence of Infiniti


True, I may be just a “Gaijin” from Texas, but I do know a work of art when I see one. The new Infiniti Essence concept car is just that.

Staring at it in adoration, I think I also broke a few commandments.

Debuting to the U.S. public at the recent Pebble Beach Concours, the new Infiniti Essence concept vehicle appears to be of perfect form and function for a dream machine, a car that many may lust after and others sell their souls for.

Thank goodness it is only a concept – so to speak.

Think of Essence as more of a commitment by the manufacturer, a show of good faith – a mission statement.

If the Essence concept is the future of Infiniti (and how I hope it is) drivers and automotive enthusiasts alike have good reason to enjoy great optimism.

Under the visionary direction of Takashi Nakajima, Essence was designed to embody everything Infiniti stands for – past, present and future.

“It is a brand icon, an advocate for a unique set of values,” says Nakajima. “Not a teaser for a new model.” Infiniti says Essence is a belief that every car should be measured on a human level.

And as I witnessed firsthand on a recent “Essence of Infiniti” stopover in Dallas, Texas, Essence commands that human emotion, be it envy, lust or mere admiration. This car demands attention. Grown men almost weep in its presence and women want it.

At times I found myself lost in Essence’s deep reflective surfaces, its supple curves, its decadent interior. Other times I found myself wondering when I could drive one, to which the answer is: Never – and soon.

As I said before, this is the Infiniti Essence, and this is the essence of Infiniti.

We should soon see elements of the Essence concept in all Infiniti product, be it design, engineering, technology or performance.

A quick overview of the Infiniti Essence concept reveals:
• 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

Somewhere along the way I am reminded that this ethereal Infiniti is a Nissan at heart, no matter how opulent and decadent she proves. And while Nissan has taken performance to heart in much of its product lineup, Essence is no Nissan.

Essence is Infiniti … and beyond (to paraphrase a popular movie line).

Essence was launched as a celebration of Infiniti and its 20-year history as a creator of performance cars as well as a glimpse of its future.


It seems Essence engineers and designers took every attention to detail to the next level: Instead of merely combining a gasoline engine with a hybrid electric motor Infiniti engineers added twin turbochargers to the V-6 under the long hood; instead of fitting the door panels with sleek outside rearview mirrors Essence utilizes rearview cameras mounted high in the A-pillars; instead of providing an electric power trunk release button in the dash panel the rear decklid can be accessed via electric motors that respond to a handheld remote control, and the custom fitted luggage is delivered a la motorized tray.

Wind noise should be at a bare minimum thanks to the elimination of the exterior mirrors and a solid, curved front wind screen that flows as one piece over the heads of driver and occupant. And speaking of the passenger compartment, designers have seen fit to include a dual-tone leather, Alcantara and hand-painted wood interior – albeit the tone separation is right down the middle giving driver a shade of black and passenger something a bit rosier.

The cockpit screams of simplicity and performance while also rivaling that of the finest European performance coupes in a design theme I would call “decadent simplicity.”


I think Infiniti says it best here: “Simple yet complex, elegant yet dynamic, the Essence perfectly balances the mechanics of technology with the fluidity of nature. As Nakajima puts it, “It is everything I want, nothing I don’t.”

We hear you Nakajima-san, we hear you.

For more, visit Infiniti.

Consumers posted comments on Infiniti’s Facebook page; here is a small sample from those who saw the car in person:

“Can you swing by los angeles so i can admire that in person? :)”
“When i’ll be able to attend such type of events………..olalaaa”
“That is a sexy concept. I’ve been following this car since I first saw it last year! Coming to the San Francisco bay area?”

“saw the car live …it’s a beauty… a work of art!”
“When are yall cruisin that thing to VIRGINIA??”
“Too bad you won’t be stopping in Tampa”

Just FYI – here are the future tour dates, locations TBA:

Detroit/TroyMI, 10/01, Somerset Mall, 2800 Big Beaver Road
New York, 10/15
Miami, 10/22
Hilton Head, SC 10/23

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About the Author

David Goodspeed
David was editor of AutoworldToday at Today Newspapers in the Dallas suburbs until its closing in 2009. He was also webmaster and photographer/videographer. He got started doing photography for the newspaper while working as a firefighter/paramedic in one of his towns, and began working for the newspaper group full-time in 1992. David entered automotive journalism in 1998 and became AutoworldToday editor in 2002. On the average, he drives some 100 new vehicles each year. He enjoys the great outdoors and as an avid fly fisherman, as is his spouse Tish. He especially enjoys nature photography and is inspired by the works of Ansel Adams.

2 Comments on "Essence of Infiniti"

  1. The interior looks like they just ripped off a Veyron, and the body is Fugly. I’d rather have any number of supercars with a proper pedigree than a glorified Datsun. Oh look, extra unneeded weight in all the unneeded gizmos. Fail. I’m sure they know it too, which is why it’s just a concept car.

  2. I guess it’s just a matter of taste as to whether the Essence would appeal to you or not, and to each his (or her) own. But when you say “proper pedigree”, to what exactly are you referring?

    Racing? Datsuns / Nissans / Infinitis have been racing and winning (even at Le Mans) since the 1930s. Take a look at this site for more information:

    Or is your definition of pedigree something else?

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