Wraps finally come off hi-tech SUV making its debut at LA
FOLLOWING last week’s prototype drive of the Infiniti QX50 and its new variable compression ratio petrol engine (Issue 1,500), the Japanese brand has revealed its all-new BMW X3 rival at the Los Angeles Motor Show.
We’ve already see the QX50 in concept form on a number of occasions, but this is the finished article, sporting a fresh design language, a new platform and semiautonomous driving tech, along with the revolutionary petrol powertrain.
At 4,693mm long, the QX50 is slightly shorter than the latest X3, although it’s wider and taller. It’s lighter, too, with frontwheel-drive versions tipping the scales at 1,736kg. Maximum luggage capacity is 1,699 litres with the rear seats dropped.
The most intriguing aspect of the QX50 is the all-new engine found under the bonnet. It’s a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol developing 264bhp and 380Nm of torque, which is intended to phase out the 3.5-litre V6 unit previously used by Infiniti. To achieve this hefty dose of downsizing it arrives with a unique party trick; variable compression ratio technology – a world first in a volume production car.
It’s called Vc-turbo, and the engine’s compression ratio varies from 8:1 for harder driving to 14:1 for efficiency. This is achieved by continually altering the reach of the pistons, so technically the engine varies from 1,997cc to 1,970cc.
Infiniti says the QX50 should be fast and frugal; all-wheel-drive models can sprint from 0-60mph in 6.3 seconds and have a top speed of 143mph. However, fuel economy figures have yet to be revealed.
Both front and four-wheel-drive versions of the QX50 will make use of a newly developed CVT gearbox. A variety of selectable driving modes can alter engine, transmission and steering settings on demand. Infiniti has also used Nissan’s PROPILOT driver assist features, with support for semi-autonomous driving included.
PROPILOT Assist means the QX50 can drive itself in a single lane on motorways and in stop-start traffic, taking control of braking, acceleration and steering.
We don’t expect the QX50 to arrive in the UK until later in 2018, and prices are expected to start from around £35,000.
QX50 is LA Motor Show star Hi-tech petrol engine debuts “QX50’S new 2.0-litre turbo petrol is designed to be as powerful but more efficient than existing 3.5-litre V6”