HERE’S our first official look at the next Infiniti QX 50, the BMW X3-rivalling small SUV from Nissan’s luxury brand wrapped around the world’s first engine that can change its compression on the fly.
Due for a LA Motor Show reveal later this week, it’s heavily based on the QX50 Concept unveiled at Detroit motor show in January, sharing many of its design cues including the swept back roofline. However, the production version introduces a slightly redesigned face that includes a lower grille in place of the concept’s metal stone guard.
The bonnet, bumpers, A-pillar, tailgate and enclosed underbody are designed to encourage airflow over, around and under the vehicle, with minimal turbulence, resulting in a six percent lower drag co-efficient than the previous QX50.
Its completely redesigned underpinnings are made from high-tensile material not previously used in automotive construction, which can be moulded into unique shapes, helping to save weight and improve torsional rigidity over the old model by 23 percent. The new material is more resistant to flexing and vibration, too, meaning it should be much quieter.
The platform also supports a more spacious and flexible cabin design, which in the QX50 allows for a sliding rear seat for what Infiniti says is best-in-class legroom, or a considerable 895-litre boot space which stretches to 1699 litres with the rear seatbacks folded down.
The 2018 Infiniti QX50 also offers a range of technologies to enhance the driving experience including its ProPILOT advanced driver assistance technology, including adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking and a lane-keeping assist system that works on single-lane highways,
Infiniti says the system is designed to work as a co-pilot and, in what is seen as a direct dig at car industry disruptor Tesla, “is a step removed from the notion of fully-autonomous ‘driverless’ motoring embraced by some car makers”.
But it’s the world’s first production ready VC engine that will attract the most attention when the QX50 makes its debut at the Los Angeles Motor Show next week.
A significant advance in combustion engine design, the 2.0-litre VC-Turbo combines the power of a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine with the torque and efficiency of a four-cylinder diesel by adjusting its compression ratio to optimise power and efficiency.
Paired with a CVT auto, it delivers 200 kW and 380 Nm and in the QX50 delivers a combined fuel consumption of around 8.7L/100km, which is around 30 percent more efficient than the previous model.
Infiniti has long been seen as an also-ran luxury brand, but state-of-the-art technology making its debut on the QX50 might finally see it gain credibility as an innovator.
The company’s global vice-president, Christian Meunier, says the QX50 is the most important model it has ever launched.
“It embodies everything the brand stands for: Beautiful design, advanced technology and empowering performance. As a premium, mid-size SUV, It’s the right vehicle at the right time in one of the world’s fastest growing segments.”
Infiniti will release more details of the Infiniti QX50 when it’s officially unveiled in LA on November 29.