Infinti created quite a buzz with its new variable-compression turbo engine at the Paris Motor Show, and the concept the company is bringing to Detroit previews the first production car that should get it: the next-generation QX50.[contentlinks align='center' textonly='false' numbered='false' headline='Related%20Story' customtitles='Variable%20Compression%20Engine:%20Nearly%20Brilliant' customimages='' content='article.30996']
Infinti says "the VC-Turbo combines the power of a high-performance 2.0-liter turbo gasoline engine with the torque and efficiency of an advanced diesel powertrain." Since the company came up with it to replace its V6 gas engines, it's the perfect option for a crossover like the QX50. Offering a variable compression ratio between 8:1 (for high-boost, high-load situations) and 14:1 (for improved cruising efficiency), Infiniti's "development target output" is 268 horsepower and 288 lb-ft of torque from the morphing 2.0-liter engine. This technology should result in a 27-percent improvement in fuel efficiency over V6 engines with similar power output, says Infiniti.
Nissan's luxury brand will also jam as many semi-autonomous features into the QX50 as it currently has on the shelf, including the autonomous stop-and-go traffic capabilities and a sensor suite to monitor surrounding traffic. While the outgoing QX50 was built on a modified version of the front-mid-engine platform used in the rear-drive Infiniti G35/G37 and the Nissan 370Z, the new version will use a front-drive platform instead. We wonder how this will affect Nissan and Infiniti's rear-drive coupe and sports sedan offerings—particularly since the 268-horsepower VC-T doesn't seem to have enough grunt for a proper Z sports car.
We'll see the QX50 Concept at the North American International Auto Show in early January.