The Geneva Motor Show is known in the auto industry as a designer’s showcase. Other shows focus on new production models or advanced technologies, but Geneva is about design. So it’s no surprise that Infiniti chose Switzerland to unveil the voluptuous Emerg-E concept. As a would-be halo car for Infiniti, the racy two-seater offers a tantalizing vision of the future of Nissan’s premium brand.
The shape—the work of California-based Infiniti designer Randy Rodriguez—definitely says Geneva, but the Emerg-E is hardly an empty style statement; there’s an arsenal of cutting-edge technology hidden beneath those carbon fiber composite body panels. An extruded aluminum space frame structure is supremely stiff yet remarkably lightweight, and a four-wheel double-wishbone suspension gives the Emerg-E sports-car reflexes to match its supercar looks.
The concept takes its motivation from a pair of 201 hp electric motors that drive the rear wheels through a single-speed transmission. These motors draw their power from a compact lithium-ion battery pack mounted behind the seats—which stores enough juice for 30 miles of spirited driving. At that point, a Lotus-engineered 1.2-liter, 3-cylinder gasoline engine fires up. Acting as a generator, it powers the electric motors and delivers excess charge to the battery pack. All told, the Emerg-E boasts a 300-mile range—and the electric power train allows the 3,524-pound sports car to dash to 60 mph in a brisk four seconds.
Of course, there’s no serious talk of production plans yet, but Infiniti is quick to emphasize that the Emerg-E is a real car with genuine potential to become a handcrafted, limited-production image leader for the brand, in the idiom of the Lexus LFA or the forthcoming Acura NSX. “We wanted to explore the excitement and desirability of a true sport car,” says the Emerg-E’s project lead designer, Bert Dehaes. “This is not a show car that goes wild—it’s important to be realistic and believable. It’s a car you’d design for yourself.” (www.infiniti.com)