Infiniti is looking to make a big splash as it enters the European market at an unfortunate economic moment, and not much can tug at the heartstrings of the continent's populace like a high-powered, sexy coupe with a green soul. With the Essence concept, Nissan's upscale brand has delivered in a big way. The sultry cab-backwards coupe is nothing if not dramatically indulgent in its scale (it's a commanding 4.7-meters long), and the rear-drive, gas-electric hybrid is something to behold in the metal, with elements that recall other coupes (the Fisker Karma comes to mind), but a look all its own.
Powered by a twin-turbo, direct-injection 3.7-liter V6 and a new electric drive design dubbed "3D Motor", the Essence yields a combined 592 brake horsepower (434 via internal-combustion, 158 brake horsepower via the lithium-ion backed disc-shaped electric motor).
The very unjapanese scale of the Essence yields a more Nippon-influenced interior for two, including an attractive driver-oriented "cocoon" that features a flat-bottomed steering wheel, hand-painted wood designed to look like Japanese laquerware and eccentricities like asymmetrical seat seams that mimic the way 'Japanese men and women tie their kimonos." Presumably, said kimonos fit nicely in the bespoke Louis Vuitton luggage (made more accessible via a powered trunk shelf).
Click on the jump to watch a video of the Essence in motion, as well specs and a press release including details on the coupe's next-generation Safety Shield side collision prevention and back-up collision prevention technology.