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Detroit show: Infiniti previews QX50 SUV

Sketchy concept: The QX50 Concept is based off the QX Sport Inspiration concept revealed at last year’s Beijing show.

QX50 Concept will lead to new mid-size SUV and autonomous tech for Infiniti

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Infiniti logo3 Jan 2017

By ROBBIE WALLIS

INFINITI will reveal the concept version of its next-gen QX50 mid-size SUV at the Detroit motor show next week, boasting new self-driving and engine technology.

Based on the QX Sport Inspiration concept revealed at the 2016 Beijing show and updated at the Paris motor show, the QX50 concept looks almost identical, with headlights, grille and profile virtually unchanged from the previous show cars.

The Japanese luxury car-maker has revealed that the QX50 will spearhead the brand’s push into autonomous driving technologies, the contents of which will be revealed at Detroit.

Infiniti says the car will be focused on controlling menial tasks such as navigating stop-start traffic and keeping tabs on surrounding vehicles, while delegating the more involving aspects of driving to the driver.

The system in the QX50 will preview the first production-ready autonomous driving systems that will be rolled out to future Infiniti models.

The other reveal accompanying the QX50 Concept is the unveiling of Infiniti’s “production-ready” variable compression ratio turbo engine, dubbed VC-Turbo.

While unclear on what changes – besides a name – have been made to the 2.0-litre turbo-petrol powerplant since its appearance at the 2016 Paris motor show, Infiniti is calling its VC-Turbo “a compelling alternative to diesel powertrains”.

The four-cylinder VC-Turbo engine is able to adjust the compression ratio to suit the type of driving required, between 8:1 for high-performance driving and up to 14:1 for more economical cruising.

Infiniti is targeting a development power output of approximately 200kW and 390Nm, a figure usually reserved for engines with six or more cylinders.

It is also aiming to achieve a 27 per cent improvement in fuel efficiency compared to six-cylinder engines with similar power outputs.

Reports are suggesting the engine, along with other powertrain options, will be a starter for the QX50 production car, but it remains unclear if and when Infiniti’s new SUV will arrive Down Under.

Possible engine configurations could include a 125kW/400Nm 2.2-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder, a 235kW/360Nm 3.7-litre atmo V6 and a 175kW/550Nm 3.0-litre diesel six, all in use across the current Infiniti range.

Infiniti global president Roland Krueger said that the QX50 Concept would help give the brand a presence in the lucrative mid-size SUV segment.

“With the unveiling of the QX Sport Inspiration at the 2016 Beijing Auto Show, we showed the future of Infiniti QX models,” he said.

“The new QX50 Concept evolves this concept further and shows how Infiniti could develop its future presence in the fastest-growing vehicle segment globally.”

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