Infiniti Essence Concept at 2009 Geneva Motor Show

  • Looks like: Infiniti is still employing the designer of the new FX
  • Defining characteristics: 592-hp hybrid sports car
  • Ridiculous features: For a high-end sports car, not many
  • Chance of being mass-produced: If the economy were booming, we’d say good

Infiniti clearly started designing the Essence concept in better times. How else to explain a nearly 600-hp sports car concept with a hybrid powertrain and rear-wheel drive? We’re sure a year ago it sounded like a slam-dunk, but how quickly things change.

Still, this concept should be applauded. The proposed power plant puts a twin-turbo V-6 up front that’s good for 434 hp. In back is a lithium-ion powered electric motor designed for high-performance applications, producing another 158 hp. It’s a neat layout, too, because the electric parts, the battery and motor are behind the front seat. Many sports cars don’t have rear seats anyway, and cargo room is rarely a real concern.

In the looks department, besides the big-mouth-bass-like grille, the Essence is striking. Bulging fenders are part of the company’s new design language, and the streaky headlights remind us of those on the new Nissan 370Z and Maxima.

We imagine Infiniti could build this car sans the hybrid powertrain pretty easily. Either way, we doubt there would be many people to buy one these days, which is too bad. Because that means we won’t get to drive one.

More photos below.

Infiniti Concept Cars

Managing Editor David Thomas has a thing for wagons and owns a 2010 Subaru Outback and a 2005 Volkswagen Passat wagon.  Email David