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Infiniti prepares world-first engine for QX50 SUV

Lots of variables: One of the engines powering the new Infiniti QX50 will be a variable-compression turbo unit, which will send power through a continuously-variable automatic transmission.

New-generation QX50 crossover to house variable-compression engine in late 2018


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24 Nov 2017

INFINITI will be the first brand to launch a production-ready variable-compression engine in late 2018, which will feature under the bonnet of its new-generation QX50 mid-size luxury SUV.

The engine will have the ability to alter its compression ratio from 14:1 to 8:1 to make dramatic changes to its characteristics that allow for either high performance or low fuel consumption.

Called VC-Turbo, Infiniti claims the new unit “combines the power of a 2.0-litre turbocharged gasoline engine with the torque and efficiency of a four-cylinder diesel engine”.

Installed in the QX50, the mill develops 200kW of power and 380Nm of torque, while being teamed with a continuously-variable automatic transmission.

The new QX50 – which replaces a model not previously available in Australia – is built on a new platform with a front-wheel drive layout and with the option of AWD.

Fuel economy of the QX50 is said to be 8.7 litres per 100km for the front-drive model and 9.0 L/100km for the all-wheel drive version, which represents a respective improvement of 35 and 30 per cent over the previous V6 petrol-engined QX50.

Infiniti said the new body offers more cabin space than its predecessor and is the first vehicle to use SHF (Super High Formability) 980 MPa high-tensile steel.

This steel is substantially stronger than traditional steel and can be moulded into shapes previously not possible. This can create panels that are lighter and have much higher torsional rigidity, according to Infiniti, and the brand claims that the use of this steel creates a body that is 23 per cent more rigid than the outgoing QX50.

The SUV will also have Infiniti’s new ProPilot Assist semi-autonomous technologies for some markets.

Infiniti said that its research found that customers wanted to remain a key element in the driving equation “so the brand’s vision for autonomous driving is a step removed from the notion of fully-autonomous ‘driverless’ motoring embraced by some car-makers”.

ProPilot will allow drivers to retain ultimate control over their vehicle as the “co-pilot” function of autonomous drive support technologies helps the driver by taking over some of the more onerous driving tasks.

In the QX50, the technologies help the driver control acceleration, braking and steering during single-lane highway driving.

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