Frankfurt LIVE: Infiniti Q30 Concept

The Q30 Concept previews a Mercedes-Benz-based compact hatchback.

Leveraging its relationship with Mercedes-Benz, Infiniti has shown off a new compact premium hatchback that the automaker says will preview a production model aimed primarily at the European market.

The automaker has confirmed the show car will spawn an Audi A3-fighting compact hatchback over the next couple of years.

Halfway between a crossover and a hatchback, the Q30 Concept wears a muscular and heavily sculpted design inspired by the Etherea concept car that debuted at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show. The production variant of the Q30 will likely retain the concept's overall shape and dimensions, but it will lose the overly futuristic features that characterize the show car.

Expected to retain the Q30 moniker, the upcoming compact will ride on the same front-wheel drive platform as the Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class and the upcoming GLA-Class crossover. Engineers are working closely with three-time Formula 1 world champion Sebastian Vettel to fine-tune the car's chassis and suspension on the Paul Ricard track in southern France.

Infiniti hopes that adding an entry-level model to its lineup will enable it to gain ground in Europe, where sales of its larger sedans and crossovers have been dismal at best. Whether or not the Q30 will be sold in the United States is up in the air.

Set to be built in England, the production-bound Q30 will likely be unveiled at next year's Geneva Motor Show and go on sale on the Old Continent shortly after.

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