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Infiniti shows new QX50, new turbo engine at Detroit

Production ready variable compression ratio turbo for concept CUV

Published: December 30, 2016, 9:30 PM
Updated: January 4, 2017, 2:46 AM

Infiniti QX50 Concept

Infiniti will be showing off its vision of the new mid-sized crossover for its lineup when it unveils the QX50 Concept at the 2017 North American International Auto Show in Detroit in a couple weeks.

When it comes to production the new QX50 will be the second generation, although not much was made to it when it was rebranded from the EX back in 2013, although it was already 5-years old at the time.

This time around, we’ll be seeing Infiniti’s new “Powerful Elegance” design language in a utility vehicle application, but it also has some surprises in the form of autonomous driving technologies and an application for the new variable compression ratio turbo engine (dubbed VC-Turbo).

Infiniti QX50 Concept

Nissan promises the new QX50 Concept will be an evolution of the QX Sport Inspiration that Infiniti debuted at the Beijing Auto Show.

“With the unveiling of the QX Sport Inspiration at the 2016 Beijing Auto Show, we showed the future of INFINITI QX models,” said Roland Krueger, President of Infiniti. “The new QX50 Concept evolves this concept further and shows how INFINITI could develop its future presence in the fastest-growing vehicle segment globally.”

The exterior is an adaptation of the squarish traditional SUV bodystyle, with a hint of sportiness thrown in around the muscular haunches and swept back roof line. A big bold grille and squinty headlights add to the rugged outdoorsy look.

The interior is made for the comfort of passenger but is driver-centric in its presentation, tying in to the exterior with elevated levels of modern craftsmanship.

But perhaps more importantly than what it feels like inside is what it does on the road, and the QX50 Concept showcases the latest Nissan advances in autonomous driving technologies that, Infiniti says, are meant to act as a co-pilot not a replacement to the driver, who should always retain ultimate control over the vehicle while delegating the tedious tasks to the computer (such as keeping tabs on surrounding traffic or negotiating bumper to bumper congestion.

The other big news is the potential application for the now-production-ready VC-Turbo engine, which Infiniti says combine the high-performance power delivery of the 2.0-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder with the torque and efficiency of a modern-day diesel.

The engine uses a sophisticated multi-link system to adapt the compression ratio in the combustion chamber by seamlessly adjusting the height of the pistons according to driving conditions and engine load. It’s capable of varying the compression ratio from a high-performance 8:1 to a highly-efficient 14:1, with early power outputs rated at 268 hp and 287 lb-ft of torque.

Infiniti claims it is capable of putting out V-6 like power while improving efficiency and reducing emissions by as much as 27% over similarly-powered V-6s.