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Paris show: QX concept previews new Infinti QX50

Finite possibilities: Making its second motor show debut, Infiniti’s QX Sport Inspiration concept will likely evolve into the company’s next-generation QX50 luxury mid-size SUV.

Early reports indicate new QX50 to be powered by variable-compression engine

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Infiniti logo30 Sep 2016

INFINITI has brought its QX Sport Inspiration concept to the 2016 Paris motor show, previewing the next-generation mid-sized QX50 SUV, and early reports are indicating the production version will be offered with the luxury brand’s new variable-compression turbo engine.

While the QX Sport Inspiration was first revealed earlier this year at the Beijing motor show, Infiniti has switched the metallic grey duco for a matte grey exterior colour scheme contrasted with eye-catching 22-inch bronze-coloured wheels.

Infiniti has also added kick-plate lighting at each of the four doors and spruced up the black and white interior with brown and tan highlights to the dashboard for the concept’s European debut.

The QX Sport Inspiration’s production version will likely materialise as the new QX50 – the current version is not available locally – and is expected to bolster Infiniti Australia’s model line-up with a mid-size luxury crossover in 2018.

Speaking to GoAuto last week at the launch of the QX30 small SUV, Infiniti Cars Australia managing director Jean-Philippe Roux said a mid-size crossover would “fill the gap” in its offerings, but stopped short of confirming the model.

With the concept measuring 4600mm long and 1900mm wide, Infiniti’s QX50 will bump gloves against the recently revealed next-generation Audi Q5, as well as other luxury mid-size SUVs including the BMW Q3, Mercedes-Benz GLC, Lexus NX and Volvo XC60.

No powertrain options have been confirmed for the SUV, but early reports have confirmed Infiniti’s ground-breaking variable-compression 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine will make its production debut in the QX50.

Although exact specifications for the engine are yet to be finalised, Infiniti engineers are aiming for 200kW of power and 390Nm of torque, which “will be comparable to certain six-cylinder gasoline powertrains for performance, while significantly outperforming them in efficiency”.

For comparison, Audi offers its Q5 with a 200kW/400Nm supercharged 3.0-litre V6, BMW’s X5 can be specced with 225kW/400Nm turbocharged 3.0-litre inline six, the Lexus RX can be had with a 3.5-litre 221kW/370Nm V6 and Volvo’s flagship XC60 is powered by a 224kW/480Nm 3.0-litre turbocharged straight six.

Mercedes-Benz does not offer any six-cylinder engines in its GLC range.

Depending on driving conditions and user input, Infiniti’s unique engine is able to switch compression ratios from 8:1 for high performance to 14:1 for improved efficiency on the fly by changing the length of the piston stroke.

According to Infiniti, “the arrival of the variable-compression ratio engine will establish new benchmarks – for power, efficiency and emissions – against which future powertrains will be measured”.

However, the QX50 is also expected to launch with more conventional engine offerings, possibly including the punchy 3.0-litre twin-turbo six-cylinder available with either 224kW/400Nm or 298kW/475Nm which made its debut in the Q50 sedan.

Infiniti Motor Company president Roland Krueger called the new engine “a leap forward” and hinted that the technology will makes its way across more of the brand’s powertrains.

“The pioneering new VC-Turbo powertrain represents a leap forward for engine development,” he said.

“Vehicle engineers believe the breakthrough in internal combustion technology would come from mastering the variable compression ratio. Infiniti will be the first to bring this technology to the market in 2018.

“This new generation of powertrains will help our global growth and expansion of the Infiniti product portfolio.”

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