This is the Infiniti Emerg-e, a radical sports car concept that shows off the Japanese manufacturer’s design flair - and a lot of British engineering.
The Emerg-e is the first Infiniti designed and engineered outside of Japan; much of the under-the-skin work has been conducted in the UK. The concept is 4464mm in length, 1954mm wide and 1219mm high - or slightly shorter, wider and taller than a McLaren MP4-12C.
The Emerg-e is based on a version of the Lotus Evora chassis, using that car’ modular aluminium construction. Lotus has also engineered the powertrain, which will also power two working prototypes of the car.
“Lotus had a platform,” said Infiniti boss Andy Palmer. “I wanted to get something sooner rather than later to test the reaction. Both the internal and the external reaction. Sometimes it’s harder to sell a car inside the company than it is outside.”
The Emerg-e features the Norfolk company’s 1.0-litre, three-cylinder range-extender system, in which the petrol motor drives a generator that produces electricity for a pair of electric motors, one at each rear wheel.
The range extender tech produces a total peak power of 300kW, or 402bhp, which goes through a single-speed transmission developed by another British company, Xtrac. The goals for the prototypes are to hit 60mph in four seconds and a maximum speed of 130mph, with the ability to go 30 miles on electric power alone and 300 miles with the petrol engine topping up the batteries.
The prototype versions of the Emerg-e will feature the same basic body shape, although some of the detail touches - such as the panoramic roof and some of the oversized air vents - will be removed to save weight and improve real-world aerodynamics. We can expect to see the headlight and C-pillar styling on the next generation of Infiniti saloons, which are central to the company’s ambitious sales plan across Europe.
Infiniti is determined to have a halo model for the range by around 2015, but Palmer dismissed speculation that the car might make it to production. “Will it come to market in this exact platform? You’d be naive to believe that it will. It won’t,” he said. “We’ll obviously do a different kind of platform. But you’ll be able to see the relationship between the two. And hopefully you’ll see some of the technology as well. It should appear late in our mid-term plan.”
John McIlroy and Ed Keohane
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