Nissan Motor luxury car unit Infiniti is planning more petrol and petrol-electric hybrid models for Europe on top of its just-announced diesels, a top executive told just-auto.

Infiniti’s new French built three-litre turbodiesel V6, developed, and to be shared, with alliance partners Renault and Nissan, will be launched at the Geneva motor show next week and will be available initially in the EX and FX crossovers and, later, in the Infiniti M luxury performance sedan.

Infiniti said the new M30d would compete directly with the redesigned BMW 5-series which goes on sale in Europe in March.

The M line will also be launched with a petrol V6, in a model called the M37, with a hybrid, the M35, following in March 2011.

All engines will be V6s as part the marque’s plan to position itself as a premium brand.

“We’re consciously not chest beating and saying we can do that. It’s hard to position a brand so that’s why we’re starting with the six cylinder engines, it helps with the positioning. If we’d have started with four cylinder engines we’d be seen as something completely different,” Infiniti Europe vice president Jim Wright, talking exclusively to just-auto, said.

“Eventually four-cylinder engines well be available, but only in the longer term.

“[With] the Infiniti M35 and M30d, [buyers for the first time] will have the choice of a diesel and hybrid next to each other in the same range. And the hybrid will be better for mpg and CO2 than the diesel.”

Wright added the reason diesel would be offered considering the hybrid version was more ‘eco-friendly’ was because diesel was still “the default [choice] for customers in many countries”.

Another Infiniti executive acknowledged that “without diesel there would be no Infiniti in Europe”.

Final CO2 and fuel economy data for the new 238PS (175kW) three-litre V6 turbo diesel have yet to be released for its installation in the M. However, the new BMW 530d’s achieves 166g/km CO2 emissions and 44mpg overall consumption while the Infiniti engine is expected to post only 224g/km and 33.6mpg in the upcoming EX30d crossover in which it makes its first European appearance.

However, Infiniti plans to offer the M at a competitive price given the high level of standard equipment. This includes a claimed industry-first safety system called “blind spot intervention which goes one step further than other systems”, according to product manager Andrew Limbert.

“If the system detects you’re going to have a collision, it puts a yaw sensation in the system, like opposing magnets.”