When most luxury automakers started getting into SUVs and crossovers, they started at with the largest models, but have gradually been getting smaller. Think Lexus and the LX, Audi and the Q7, or BMW and the X5, and you'll see what we mean, because each of them has been steadily downsizing its crossovers ever since. But Infiniti is going even smaller. At least, in China, anyway.
That's where the luxury marque from Nissan will soon be offering the new Infiniti ESQ. The smallest of Infiniti crossovers has been developed in China, exclusively for the Chinese market to meet Chinese tastes. It shares its underpinnings with the Nissan Juke, but instead of starting with the base model, Infiniti China has started with the more potent Juke Nismo – complete with 1.6-liter turbo four producing 197 horsepower – and added on premium accoutrements. The exterior that appears to be differentiated by a new grille and wheels, featuring the ESQ logo instead of Infiniti's, but the same quirky styling that sets the Juke apart. Though all we can of the interior is the steering wheel, you can bet that Infiniti gave the ESQ a more luxurious cabin space, too.
Infiniti's global communications manager Stefan Wienmann told Autoblog that the company is "expanding [its] portfolio not only globally but also specifically in China," adding the ESQ to a market-specific lineup that includes long-wheelbase versions of the Q50 sedan and QX50 crossover. "We see specific sales opportunities in this segment," explains Wienmann, adding that a targeted project like the ESQ "also enables us to gain experience in positioning a new premium model to the 'new millennials', a customer group that is very important to us."
Does that mean we might expect similar but different products launched in other markets like our own?
"We don't have any specific plans for other models targeted at specific countries or regions," Wienmann told us. "That said, we will always look at opportunities to expand our portfolio in the future and if we see such an opportunity, we would be ready to grasp it."