Infiniti’s Detroit-bound QX50 Concept is Barely a Concept, Boasts Variable Compression Engine


Infiniti has had enough of the QX50’s voluptuous curves.

An edgier future awaits the brand’s midsize crossover, as shown by photos of the QX50 “Concept” released ahead of the North American International Auto Show. If this concept looks almost production-ready, that’s because it is.

Borrowing heavily from the earlier QX Sport Inspiration concept, the QX50 Concept’s updated design language isn’t the only way Infiniti plans to lure prospective buyers. Underneath the newly creased sheetmetal beats a very different kind of heart — one two decades in the making.


The concept bound for Detroit carries Infiniti’s radical turbocharged variable compression (VC-T) four-cylinder engine. Unlike other 2.0-liter turbos, this mill can be whatever the driver wants it to be.

The VC-T engine allows for greater efficiency and power when the conditions call for it, thanks to its ability to raise and lower the height of the pistons’ reach — a process that takes less than 1.5 seconds. This means both a low-compression (8:1) performance mode and a high-compression (14:1) efficiency setting. Infiniti hasn’t released exact specs, but it’s hoping for 268 horsepower and 288 lb-ft of torque.

Another feature found on the QX50 Concept is the automaker’s ProPilot semi-autonomous driver assist technology. While this isn’t a system that allows drivers to hand over full control to the vehicle, it will take over more of the work.

The QX50 is by no means a segment leader, but it has seen significant interest this year as buyers gravitate towards crossovers and SUVs. The next-generation QX50 should arrive as a 2018 model.

[Images: Infiniti]

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