Infiniti is pushing hard to become a major player in a performance market heavily dominated by its German rivals. Over the years, the likes of the Essence Concept and the recently revealed Q50 Eau Rouge show that the Japanese automaker is serious about its intentions of competing against the Porsches, BMWs, and Mercedes’ of the world. Recent whispers, however, seem to indicate that the company is also looking into building a flagship model that would be based on the popular Essence concept with an eye towards beefing up the company’s dream of a performance car division.

That much was revealed by Infiniti’s global chief Johann de Nysschen, who indicated to Motoring Australia that the mid-size Q50 and the slightly larger Q70 sedans aren’t enough for the company to take full advantage of its Eau Rouge high-performance unit. So therein lies hints that Nissan’s luxury brand is planning for more models to join in on the Eau Rouge family. Whispers of Nissan trademarking the names ’Q80’ and ’Q90’ also lend to the growing belief that a flagship model is in the pipeline.

As far as details surrounding this flagship sedan is concerned, there’s general buzz that the company is going to have two different engine units available, with one being a new hybrid drivetrain with a 3.0-liter, turbocharged V-6 that will produce close to 550 horsepower and a bigger 3.7-liter V-6 twin-turbo hybrid system that could produces as much as 700 horsepower on tap — not the 3.8-liter from the Q50 Eau Rouge.

Things are definitely heating up within Infiniti, and the company’s goal of becoming a serious threat to European brands could come to life with the arrival of this rumored flagship sedan.

No specific timetable has been set, but the timetable for the model could see it hit production sometime in 2017 or 2018 with a price of just under $200,000.

Click past the jump to read more about the Infiniti Essence Concept.

Infiniti Essence Concept

2009 Infiniti Essence
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First introduced at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show, the Infiniti Essence Concept has really lasted the test of time, so much so that five years after it first made an appearance, people are still talking about it.

The Essence has the distinction of being co-designed by Louis Vuitton as part of Infiniti’s 20th anniversary and it really was, in essence (pun intended), ahead of its time, thanks to its dramatic design and technology and performance statement to the tune of a 592 horsepower gas-electric hybrid engine.

The hybrid system — a zero-emissions one — combines a gasoline engine with an electric motor, allowing both systems to work independently or together as a “parallel” hybrid system. When the traffic clears, Essence responds with a highway performance that few cars could match. In “power assist” mode the full 592 horsepower. is unleashed with both petrol and electric power working together.

Source: Motoring

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