UPDATE: High-res official gallery added

I spotted something unusual at the Clio Renault Sport 200 Cup launch last week. The hot Clio’s unveiling at the upscale Bangsar Shopping Centre was part of a Tan Chong roadshow starring the Renault range and upmarket models from Nissan. Sitting quietly in a corner was this, the Nissan Elgrand MPV.

If memory serves me right, Nissan’s big MPV was shown at KLIMS 2010, but I don’t remember a launch event or any press release about the model from ETCM. It’s also not listed on Nissan’s local website, so this should be one of the upcoming CBU models ETCM is bringing in for 2012. So, while all attention was on the hot hatch in front, I slipped away for a walk around and a few shots of the big black bus.

The Elgrand is Nissan’s answer to the Alphard, so it’s a luxurious box with sharp edges. It’s not as ubiquitous as the Toyota, but there are a few units around, usually black in colour with a massive chrome grille. This one sold by ETCM is the latest E52 third-generation Elgrand, one gen newer than those on the road.

The mask-like grille is still massive, but more effort has gone into the front design. Same goes for the rest of the car, which is less slab sided than before. The Elgrand is powered by Nissan’s VQ35DE 3.5-litre V6 engine making 280 PS and 344 Nm of torque. The gearbox is of course paired to the firm’s Xtronic CVT, with manual mode.

The Elgrand comes in as a Highway Star model and is quite well equipped. Standard kit includes six airbags (front, side, curtain), Vehicle Dynamic Control, ABS, EBD, BA, adaptive xenons, keyless entry/start (intelligent key), two powered sliding doors, auto tailgate, double sunroof, Around View Monitor, 18-inch alloys and a rear entertainment system with wireless headphones and 11-inch display.

But the highlight for chauffeured bosses will be the Elgrand’s three ottoman seats – front passenger plus two second row captain chairs – enabling business-class style seating on the road.

The Elgrand is imported CBU from Japan. The selling price we saw at the roadshow is RM398,342 on the road, including insurance.