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Power: 402 hp
The cocooning cockpit of a sports car, the artful grace of craftsmanship, the intrigue of experiencing an innovative machine - all these qualities and more are to be found inside Infiniti Emerg-E.
'We wanted to explore the excitement and desirability of a true sport car,' says Bert Dehaes, Project Lead Designer. 'And because it is an electric vehicle, we also wanted to show its innovation.'
Infiniti Emerg-E is a strict two-seater sports car, and it provides the classic reclined seating position that heightens the driver's sense of connection to car and road below. The cockpit is clearly oriented around the driver, and as wîth all the best sports cars, its simplified controls are located for speedy and intuitive use, this more mechanical, functional look reinforcing the theme of inspired performance. Yet the overwhelming impression is of the flowing lines of this cabin's highly distinctive architecture, their contrast wîth its high-precision cut lines and the elegantly executed attention to detail.
The swooping lines of Infiniti's trademark double wave dashboard structure, a lightweight, floating centre console and the inviting textures of locally sourced, semi-aniline leather upholstery make this a sports car cockpit wîth a difference, especially in the detail. And the dark chrome centre console finisher echoes the crescent cut signature in the car's rear pillars. But the most dramatic detail appears when Infiniti Emerg-E is powered up, bursts of light briefly streaking around the cabin to provide live confirmation that the EMERG-E is ready for action.
This lighting is an essential part of the Infiniti Emerg-E experience, not only because it confirms the electric heart of the car but also because it provides a striking, modern alternative to the conventional roar of an internal combustion engine. The lighting sequence signals the flow of energy within the car, a heartbeat signature radiating from the ignition to illuminate the floating centre console and the silhouettes of the seats. A small, jewel-like lamp in the §teering wheel boss also lights up momentarily to reinforce the drama. After three seconds these illuminations fade out, leaving the eye free to concentrate on the excitement of driving Infiniti Emerg-E.
Among the finer details is the dramatic undercut of the dashboard ahead of the passenger, a sculptural device that doubles as an air vent. The line of this cut runs in a single, energetic swoop into a centre console whose lightweight, carbon fibre construction makes a satisfying reminder that the entire outer structure of the car is made from the same material. The centre console's upper surface is angled to present the Infiniti Emerg-E's transmission controls to the driver, who sits behind a finely detailed instrument pack that includes a gauge indicating the percentage of total available power. The instrument illumination mostly glows blue, but shades to hot purple when Infiniti Emerg-E is driven wîth vigour.
The excitement of the drive is further heightened by a neatly integrated, touch screen display, a wheel whose upper and lower portions are flattened off, and a light in the entre of the boss that illuminates when the car is deploying full power. A pair of slender, lightweight, luxuriantly supportive bucket seats provide grippy Alcantara® side bolsters and leather centre panels, the fine stitching of this upholstery confirming Infiniti's painstaking mastery of interior detail.
'It's very cool to design a mid-engined sports car,' says designer Bert Dehaes. 'We produced a lightweight feel that's sharply cut, like a tailored suit. It fits well wîth Infiniti's approach. An EV is pure and clean so the interior is the same, but it's a friendly interior and ergonomic too, but not brutal.'
The inviting nature of the interior is a reflection of Japanese hospitality, while the influences of traditional craftsmanship can be seen in the slightly shiny texture of the semi-aniline leather encasing the dashboard and seats, the subtle violet-tinted lacquer sheathing the cabin's carbon fibre elements and Infiniti Emerg-E's novel flooring. Fashioned from an architectural material called Sefar, this fine, metallic mesh allows light to shine through to provide an intriguing, translucent glow. 'It's the first time this material has been used in an automotive application,' says Gail Patrick, Senior Colour Designer, adding that 'it adds depth and allure,' while underlining the car fact that this car is electrically propelled.
Exotic though all this sounds, Bert Dehaes emphasises that '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.'