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Saturday, 25 February 2012

Infiniti Emerg-E Concept Out-Poses The Acura NSX Concept

2012 Infiniti Emerg-E Concept
Source: Carscoop
Well Acura, it's game over already. After Honda's posh brand unveiled its hybrid supercar concept at the Detroit show in January, Nissan's posh brand will unveil their own hybrid supercar concept at the Geneva show, which will be about 35 times sexier and more hybrid-er, as these leaked images from Carscoop prove. It's called the Emerg-E, which is appropriate seeing as it has emerged seemingly from nowhere and brought Infiniti's unusual design language into a shape that actually works. In terms of a beauty contest, the Acura NSX Concept doesn't stand a chance...

Yes, Infiniti's design language is something of an acquired taste. The FX crossover in particular looks so unusual it is guaranteed to get you noticed every day, while the M and G look interesting in their own way, but are arguably bettered by other more obvious rivals. Clearly though, as the 600-horsepower Essence Concept showed three years ago, this design language works best in the more elegant form of a supercar, and so to turn heads and boost their image a bit - which Infiniti particularly needs to do in Europe, where they're still very obscure - they have translated the Essence into a mid-engined form, which you have to say looks even better.

The curved, elegant, flowing forms and the mercury-look paint make this car look very fluid, almost like it's actually a liquid. However, a liquid hasn't made me immediately say "holy shit" since I ate cheese sauce that hadn't cooled down yet (I swear cooked cheese is actually lava). Everything you expect to see on an Infiniti - the big, weirdly-shaped grille, the pointy rear-side windows, the strong, pronounced creases, the headlights that look strangely like eyes - is present here, and yet it doesn't just look like an over-styled oddball. I also like how the high-up side air intake on each side is just one arching curve, rather than a jagged hole like you might find on a Lamborghini. The chrome wheels symbolise the idea of flowing lines by looking windswept in the way they twist backwards from the centre to the rim.

As for power, this isn't exactly a traditional supercar. There's no V12 or Twin-Turbo V8 under there, as it's actually an Extended-Range Electric Vehicle (E-REV) like a Fisker Karma or a GM Volt/Ampera (or Geoff Hammerhead-i EagleThrust, if you prefer), in that it's a completely electric car, but with an engine onboard that kicks in and provides a bit of extra poke while also charging the batteries. It never directly drives the wheels - electric motors do that - so it just hums away at a constant RPM, which is when an engine is its most efficient, and drinks a comparatively tiny amount of fuel. The only thing is, Infiniti haven't mentioned exactly what engine it is, and because it has a fancy cover, you can't tell by looking. All we can tell is that it's in the middle, which frankly anyone could've worked out when we just had patent renderings of it to look at, as that shape is so obviously mid-engined in its proportions, not to mention the central roof-mounted air scoop.

Inside it looks appropriately concept-car-ish, with veins of light on the floor, a "2020 AD" interface and dial set, very narrow, stylish seats and some narrow, swoopy bits on the doors and centre console. Because it's electric, there's no gear stick to fit in, but like the Essence Concept (and many others, it has to be said), it wraps around the driver, who, unusually, sits on the right. I quite like that. I also quite like the finer details inside and out, such as the very subtle creases along the glass roof, the crystal-like LEDs around the outer edge of the headlights (as well as the white 'eyebrows' along the top) and the splitter/skirt/diffuser around the bottom part of the body. The Nürburgring track map on the dashboard is a little clichéd, though.

Of course, this isn't the only shiny silver hybrid supercar of recent times. I've mentioned the Honda/Acura NSX already, but then there's the Jaguar C-X75, which extended the range with gas turbines (read: two little jet engines) instead of an engine, although they admit the confirmed production version will have to be more conventional and use a small internal combustion engine like the other E-REVs. The "NSX" actually loses out in the eco-credentials department, because it's a normal, mid-engined V6 with two electric motors at the front wheels, which suggests that while Nissan and Jaguar are trying to push the boundaries of hybrid cars by reaching the next stage in the process of weening cars off engines, Honda gave it a hybrid system because it felt it had to...

Here's a picture of the side of it:
Gorgeous.
I can't think of much to say here, as it does all the same things I've already mentioned, so just admire it for a bit.

All done? It really is a nice-looking car, isn't it? Coming up now are a couple of comparisons with the Acura NSX Concept, followed by all the other images from the source. Enjoy!

These aren't quite to scale, I should point out. Click to embiggen.
The NSX's clean windowline does look good, but the Emerg-E is more interesting IMO. Not to scale.
The cars are obviously at different angles here.
Both have classic mid-engined supercar proportions, but while one is fluent, one is crisp.
Which is best? Well of course, that depends on your own tastes/preferences.

I leave you with more of the Infiniti Emerg-E Concept, all from the Carscoop article linked under the top picture:

The roof creases become little cooling intakes. Cool!
Headlights with crystals and eyebrows. There's even a pupil. All Infiniti cars have "eyes"
The graceful side air intake.
Another view of the cockpit.
Some very fancy-looking dials.
The seats aren't actually that outrageous. I've seen Renault and Citroën concepts where you sit on a kind of plastic wave...
Finally, the drive selector and buttons - well, touch-sensitive pads - for the infotainment system.
More details will emerg-e at the Geneva Motor Show next week. Stay Tuned!

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