Infiniti is showing off their QX Sport Inspiration concept at the Los Angeles Auto show. The concept is a hint at the design language of future Infiniti SUVs. Along with the concept is Infiniti's production ready variable compression engine, the first of its kind.
The QX Sport Inspiration was first shown at the Beijing Auto show earlier this year. It has the flared arches, body surfacing, massive grille, and "human-eye" headlights that are the trademark of Infiniti design. The interior is driver-focused, with the center stack and touchscreen angled toward the driver. A center console physically separates the driver and passenger spaces. There is also a flat-bottomed steering wheel and heavily bolstered seats. While this model is unlikely for production, it is a good look at what the QX50 replacement could look like.
Infiniti says their VC-Turbo engine is the first variable compression engine that is ready for the real-world. It uses a multi-link system to change the reach of the pistons, which allows a range of compression ratios from 8:1 to 14:1. The lower ratios allow for higher performance, and the higher ratio allows for improved efficiency.
The system works by essentially bending the connecting rod to change its length. That change varies the compression. The amount of movement necessary for the change is very small, so the system is able to make large changes in compression ratio with small amounts of connecting rod movement.
The new engine also has an integrated exhaust manifold that brings the turbo closer to the ports to improve response and lower cold-start emissions. It uses direct and port injection to avoid the carbon buildups that can affect direct injected engines while still gaining their efficiency. It also has the ability to switch between the more efficient Atkinson cycle and the conventional Otto cycle for more power.
All of this tech leads to a 2.0L four-cylinder that produces 268 hp and 288 lb-ft. Infiniti hasn't specified the fuel economy improvements it expects from the engine, but with such a significant jump in technology, the improvements should be noteworthy. While Infiniti says the engine is production ready, they still haven't said where we'll see it first.