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The Infiniti Etherea is the car that Infiniti hopes will attract younger buyers to its brand.
Described (by Infiniti) as part coupe, part saloon and part hatchback, the Etherea is a hybrid concept car with Mazda RX-8-like rear-hinged rear doors that points to a new entry-level Infiniti, probably due on sale in 2014.
'The Etherea is for younger buyers who do not want a smaller version of a typically conservative and traditional luxury car,' says Toru Saito, Infiniti's corporate vice president. It is for people who want a car that defines who they are, not who their parents were.'
The Lexus CT200h seems an obvious rival, but the Infinti is far more powerful. It has a 242bhp 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine mated to a CVT gearbox. The hybrid set-up is similar to that in the M35h executive car but, in a first for Infiniti, the Etherea is front-wheel-drive.
It's a four-seater hatchback, but the rear-hinged doors, the absence of central door pillars and the flat floor, give the Etherea a roomy cabin.
The dashboard has two display screens. The lower display is a touch-screen for the climate control and entertainment systems, while the screen farther away from the driver displays performance information.