The world’s second-largest Japanese automaker, Nissan, continues to expand their global presence with surprising frequency. Last week they introduced the Datsun mi-DO, a new budget friendly hatchback for the Russian market, and this week they’ve unveiled the Infiniti ESQ exclusively for the Chinese market.
The reveal comes at the 2014 Chengdu Auto Show, where the trend of the year is scantily clad women and luxury cars. The Infiniti ESQ wasn’t the only new premium vehicle on display, but it’s definitely one of the most eye-catching. See for yourself below:
That’s probably because the Infiniti ESQ is essentially a pre-facelift Nissan Juke NISMO in disguise. The quirky Juke crossover has never been available for sale in China, so Infiniti decided to introduce the car in upgraded luxury form. According to their release, Infiniti is hoping to take the fun-factor of the Nissan Juke and bring it to China’s “new millennials”, which is a very important customer group to the brand’s expansion.
At this point, you’re probably wondering what separates the Nissan Juke NISMO from the new Infiniti ESQ premium crossover. But, let’s start with what’s stayed the same – the powertrain.
The ESQ runs on the Juke NISMO’s exhilarating 197hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine paired with a performance-tuned CVT and optional all-wheel drive. With that, the ESQ boasts a 0-60 speed of 7.8 seconds and a top speed of 134mph. Meanwhile, the turbocharger helps the lux crossover maintain a cool 40mpg and keeps CO2 emissions around 159g/km… Not exactly Prius-level, but not too shabby either.
As you may be able to detect in the above images, the Infiniti ESQ uses a fairly extensive body kit to achieve a more interesting, premium look, distinct from Nissan’s Juke NISMO. The ESQ gets an even sportier look than the Juke with a rear diffuser, a sport exhaust pipe, totally redesigned head- and taillights, plenty of chrome trim and a restyled mesh grille. Plus, Infiniti’s done a number of aerodynamic tweaks to boost fuel economy, and the ESQ rides on new 18-inch allows with plenty of ESQ badging all around the body.
Inside, the changes are a little less dominant. The Infiniti ESQ loses the Juke NISMO’s Alcantara steering wheel and high-contrast color-scheme in favor of upscale leather seats with classy white stitching. The crossover retains all of the Juke’s tech. appointments, including the infotainment system, climate control and three variable driving modes.
The Infiniti ESQ will go on sale in China at the beginning of next month for between 200,000 and 300,000 Yuan, which for reference is about $32,000 to $49,000. However, word has it that the ESQ is only the first of many new offerings that Infiniti is readying for the Chinese market, including the Q50L and a possible new QX70, just to name a couple.