It’s been a little while coming, but it appears Infiniti is finally set to make a serious run at German competitors Mercedes-Benz and BMW. Thanks to an interview with an anonymous source close to the Japanese automaker, the 2014 model year is shaping up as a busy one for Infiniti. Motor Trend recently sat down with someone familiar with the inner-workings of the automaker, yielding more than a few surprises as well as reaffirming some speculations.
Among some of the biggest revelations from the interview included the confirmation that Mercedes-Benz and Infiniti will build four-cylinder engines at the Japanese automaker’s assembly facility in Tennessee. Infiniti is also poised to release its first C-segment hatchback and the next-generation G lineup is set to begin production as well. Rumors of an assembly facility set to come online in Dalian, China are true and will become a reality in 2014. As for the first electric vehicle to be shown off by Infiniti, the LE concept, it will head into production in Japan as well as in Smyrna, Tennessee.
But the biggest news concerns Infiniti’s next-generation G sedan and coupe. It will supposedly be based on the same mechanicals as the next-generation Mercedes-Benz C-Class, German experts have been visiting Infiniti regularly acting as a special support team. With the development of the latest C-Class well underway by the time Infiniti shifted its attention to the next-gen G lineup, the Japanese automaker was forced to make some modifications to the chassis. The next-gen G will be ready to go on sale at the end of the summer in 2014. The design of the latest G lineup was finalized last year with bits of Infiniti’s Etherea concept used as inspiration for styling of the front-end and can seen especially in the headlights. The next-gen G will retain its current dimensions but the roofline will be swooped backed in order to give off an even more robust profile. A diesel engine is set to be an option for European customers, but no word yet if that same configuration will come stateside.
A high-performance Infiniti Performance Line G is also slated to join the lineup in 2014 and will be built at the same assembly facility as Nissan’s GT-R. An all-new 3.7-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 engine that’s rated at an estimated 530 horsepower will power the Super G and will be assembled exclusively in Japan. With the introduction of the Super G, Infiniti is looking to take on the likes of the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG and the BMW M3. The IPL Super G’s engine will be hand-built as is the norm with the current IPL and GT-R lineup. Both vehicles will fall under Nissan’s “Tochigi brand,” meaning “a unique brand of Japanese-made performance, luxury and quality.” You can bet the Super G will command a price tag similar to those it has in its crosshairs too. The Super G is expected to be priced similarly to the GT-R if not a shade more. The 2012 Nissan GT-R starts at $97,820 including a $1,000 destination fee so expect the IPL Super G to hover around the same price too.
Finally, the anonymous source revealed that the Etherea hatchback concept, which first debuted at Geneva last year, is set to enter production with toned-down styling cues. The Etherea concept will employ Mercedes’ Front-drive Architecture with a Nissan-sourced 2.5-liter four-cylinder supercharged hybrid engine. Once the Etherea goes into production, it will be assembled under license by Magna Steyr in Austria.
What say you? Do you think Infiniti is headed in the right direction with these new releases? Tell us what you think in the comment section below.
Source: Motor Trend