Infiniti Etherea Concept
Infiniti Etherea Concept – Click above for high-res image gallery

Infiniti has released the first few images of its new Etherea entry-level concept that's set to debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March. The automaker says that the Etherea's design "blends elements of coupe, sedan, hatchback and even crossover in one highly sculptural, near-mono volume form," though we find the end result to be a bit awkward from some angles.

There's plenty of throwback to the company's showstopping Essence concept in the Etherea's visuals, notably the wavy C-pillar design. At only 173.2 inches long, the concept is about four inches longer than a Nissan Versa hatchback, and because of this, many of the styling cues – specifically the headlamps and that rearmost pillar – seem like they would be more at home on a much larger car. Still, we'll withold judgment until we see the car in person on March 1 live in Geneva. In the meantime, click through our high-res gallery below to see a few shots of the new Etherea, and follow the jump for Infiniti's official press release.


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[Source: Infiniti]
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INFINITI NAMES ITS GENEVA CONCEPT

ROLLE, Switzerland (February 14, 2011) – Infiniti today releases the first images of its concept car for the Geneva Motor Show in March. Called ETHEREA, it is a compact luxury model that previews how a future entry-level Infiniti could look.

The pictures show an evolving Infiniti identity along with a profile distinctly different from anything currently available in the premium compact class.

"ETHEREA is about a new type of luxury for younger buyers," said Toru Saito, Corporate Vice President and Leader of the Global Infiniti Business Unit. "It is not just a smaller version of a typically conservative and traditional luxury car."

Designed under the direction of Senior Vice President of Design Shiro Nakamura, ETHEREA blends elements of coupé, sedan, hatchback and even crossover in one highly sculptural, near-mono volume form.

At 4.4m it is highly compact but at the same time it is space efficient and practical thanks to a new mechanical layout and innovative access arrangements.

Among its surprises are high-tech new interpretations of traditional Japanese materials and finishes, and several design cues set to make their mark on future production models – including the highly distinctive crescent-shaped C-pillar first seen on the Essence concept.

The ETHEREA makes its world debut on the Infiniti stand (Hall 1, Booth 1030) at 12:15 CET on Tuesday 1 March 2011.