Infiniti has finally launched the very first production car to feature a variable-compression ratio engine.
Nissan’s luxury sister company has let the QX50 out of the bag at the Los Angeles Motor Show. On the face of it, it’s just another new front-wheel drive faux-4×4, but all-wheel drive versions will be made available and the engine is definitely more interesting.
By changing the orientation of the crankshaft the ECU can at any time choose a compression ratio; low for outright power and knock resistance, and high for efficiency.
Infiniti claims that the 2.0-litre Variable Compression (VC) Turbo engine “combines the power of a 2.0-litre turbocharged gasoline engine with the torque and efficiency of a four-cylinder diesel engine.”
This 268bhp powerplant matches its power with a diesel-like 280lb ft of torque, but up at 4400rpm rather than the typical diesel’s 1700rpm-ish. Peak power follows at a low 5600rpm. As for fuel efficiency, the US fuel economy tests don’t reveal any special numbers: 27 US mpg is the best it can do – that’s 32.4mpg in the UK. About half of what most equivalent diesels manage…
Performance from the 4.7-metre, minimum-1736kg car is headlined by a 0-62mph time of 6.3 seconds for the all-wheel drive version and 6.7 seconds for the front-driver. Top speed is 143mph.