Infiniti has officially unveiled the next-generation QX50 mid-size SUV which utilises the world’s first variable compression ratio engine.
Aimed at the burgeoning premium SUV market, the new QX50 is the most important model in Infiniti’s expanding line-up, rivalling the BMW X3, Audi Q5, Mercedes-Benz GLC and Lexus NX when it goes on sale in 2018.
Based on the QX50 Concept shown earlier this year, the production model looks remarkably similar to its motor show stablemate, boasting the Japanese premium marque’s usual elegant design and sculpted body.
Under the bonnet is where the QX50 breaks away from the norm with the world’s first variable compression turbo petrol engine. The breakthrough in combustion engine design allows the 2.0-litre VC-Turbo engine adjusts its compression ratio to optimise power and efficiency. It’s claimed to combine the power of a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine with the torque and efficiency of a four-cylinder diesel engine.
Infiniti says the new engine offers a compelling alternative to diesel, challenging the notion that only hybrid and diesel powertrains can deliver high torque and efficiency.
A multi-link system continuously raises or lowers the pistons’ reach to transform the compression ratio. High compression ratios aid efficiency, while low ratios enable greater power and torque. The VC-Turbo offers any compression ratio between 8:1 (for performance) and 14:1 (for efficiency), maximising driver control.
The engine delivers 268 hp (200 kW) and 280 lb ft (380 Nm), which Infiniti says is a best-in-class combination of four-cylinder power and torque. The QX50 delivers fuel economy of 27 mpg (8.7L/100km) for the front-wheel drive variant and 26 mpg (9.0L/100km) for all-wheel drive models.
Front-wheel drive models offer a 35% improvement in fuel efficiency over the previous V6 gasoline QX50 while all-wheel drive models offer a 30% improvement.
The engine is paired with a continuously-variable transmission (CVT), for seamless power delivery. Its infinite number of gears is tuned to match the engine’s ability to transform.
Moving toward fully autonomous driving, the QX50 features Infiniti’s ProPILOT Assist technologies which is able to control acceleration, braking and steering during single-lane highway driving.
The new QX50 will join the larger QX80 in Infiniti’s fast growing SUV line-up from 2018.