Infiniti's newest engine is an engineering marvel. The VC-T engine (for "variable compression, turbocharged") can adjust its compression ratio between 8:1 and 14:1 on the fly, offering high-compression efficiency under light loads and the low compression needed for turbocharged power under hard acceleration.
Jason Fenske, the brilliant mind behind , got an unprecedented opportunity to dig into this revolutionary new engine. We should note (as Fenske does) that Infiniti sponsored Jason's deep dive into the technology behind this engine. But given that this engine only appears in concept cars at the moment, Jason's cooperative effort with Infiniti gives us our best look yet at how this design works.
The heart of the operation is the pivoting mechanism, where each piston's attachment to the crankshaft can be rotated to alter how high the piston reaches at the top of each upward stroke. But there's more to it than that. As Fenske explains, the system reduces friction by altering the angle of the connecting rod on the downward stroke. Complex fuel and exhaust routing help to maximize the engine's efficiency.
So go ahead, feast your eyes on the shiny inner bits of the Infiniti VC-T engine. Like Mazda's compression-ignition gasoline Skyactiv-X engine, this Infiniti design could help internal combustion survive the stringent emissions and economy requirements of the near future.