By on November 24, 2017

2019 INFINITI QX50, Image: Infiniti

You saw a teaser the other day, but here’s the real thing. Infiniti’s next-generation 2019 QX50 midsize crossover has appeared online before its official unveiling at next week’s L.A. Auto Show.

The model’s uncloaking doesn’t yield any great design surprises, as this next-generation model — bearing Infiniti’s new “Powerful Elegance” styling — was preceded, somewhat oddly, by its own namesake concept vehicle. One surprise, however, is the model’s anticipated fuel economy.

With a 2.0-liter variable compression four-cylinder resting under the hood, the new QX50 sips less gas than initially claimed.

“A compelling alternative to diesel, it challenges the notion that only hybrid and diesel powertrains can deliver high torque and efficiency,” Infiniti says of its new VC-T engine, some two decades in the making.

The turbocharged 2.0-liter is capable of adjusting its compression ratio on the fly via some very clever engineering. That spread bookends at 8:1 and 14:1, ensuring optimum efficiency in all driving situations.

Recently, Nissan’s chief powertrain engineer, Shinichi Kiga, said the VC-T engine would enable the next QX50 to top the outgoing model’s combined fuel economy by 27 percent. It seems that was a lowballed figure. Compared to the current model (powered by a 3.7-liter V6), the 2019 QX50 will return an estimated 27 mpg combined for front-wheel-drive variants, and 26 mpg combined when optioned with all-wheel-drive. That means fuel economy increases of 35 and 30 percent, respectively.

INFINITI four-cylinder turbocharged gasoline VC-Turbo engine, Image: Infiniti

Early power estimates for the VC-T engine pegged the horsepower rating (268) correctly, but the new QX50’s torque falls a little short, at 280 lb-ft. That’s still above the current model’s 267 lb-ft.

Some of the credit for the 2019 model’s fuel economy bump goes to the new engine’s dance partner — a transmission that’s equally as malleable. For 2019, the QX50 ditches its seven-speed automatic for a continuously variable unit. The new design also means a lower drag coefficient, further helping fuel economy. In terms of performance, all of this efficiency means a slightly longer trip to cruising speed, with the vehicle’s 0-60 time rising just over half a second to 6.3 seconds (for AWD models).

Infiniti’s earlier teaser promised buyers class-leading interior space, and that’s still the general expectation. Specifically, Infiniti wants the QX50’s rear-seat space to top all challengers — something it plans to accomplish by installing a sliding rear seat. (Dimensionally, the model is within an inch of the previous-gen model in all measurements, despite riding on a new platform.)

“The trunk’s volume expands from 31.6 cu ft (895 liters SAE) to 37 cu ft (1,048 liters SAE) as the rear bench slides fore and aft, growing to 60 cu ft (1,699 liters SAE) with the rear seats folded,” the automaker claims

Occupants sliding back and forth on that funky new seat will probably be unaware of the strength of the vehicle surrounding them. Infiniti claims the 2019 QX50 boasts a 23-percent improvement in torsional rigidity, all thanks to the industry-first use of high formability 980 MPa high-tensile steel. Besides increasing stiffness, the steel helped engineers reduce weight (though by how much, we don’t know).

Also appearing on the 2019 model is Nissan’s ProPilot Assist semi-autonomous driving tech. There’s more than a bit of emphasis placed on the semi here. Infiniti claims buyers still like to be in charge of piloting the vehicle, so, like every other automaker in existence, it’s not allowing the system to handle all of the driving.

“Our intention is to empower the driver and enhance feelings of pleasure behind the wheel, not to remove the driver from the equation,” said François Bancon, Infiniti vice president of product and programs, in a statement.

Though ProPilot is expected to gain new capabilities over the coming years, right now it’s just a very smart cruise control. The system oversees braking, acceleration and steering during single-lane highway driving.

Expect to see the new crossover hit dealers early next summer.

[Images: Infiniti]

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62 Comments on “2019 Infiniti QX50 Drops the Curtain; Variable Compression Engine Beats Efficiency Estimate...”


  • avatar
    jmo

    If it has one of those newfangled e-lectric starters, I’m not interested. Just one more thing to break.

    Signed,

    B&B

  • avatar
    VW4motion

    Sure, take my $50k to beta test a new engine technology. No thank you. Maybe in ten years.

    • 0 avatar
      EAF

      Infiniti says this variable compression design has been in development since 1998 and has had 100 prototype units tested.

      Mated to a Nissan CVT – I predict it will likely be no less reliable than an EA888 or a FA20DIT. In other words, when warranty expires, SELL!!!!

      From Infiniti’s website, can someone explain to me what this means;

      “As the turbocharger recirculates hot exhaust gases back into the engine, the VC-Turbo’s high capacity intercooler lowers the temperature – and therefore the density – of the air, further enhancing the efficiency of the forced induction system.”

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        “As the turbocharger recirculates hot exhaust gases back into the engine, the VC-Turbo’s high capacity intercooler lowers the temperature – and therefore the density – of the air, further enhancing the efficiency of the forced induction system.”

        Error! Error! Error! Lowering the temperature of the air raises its density, not lower it.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    I’d rather pump more fuel into the old 3.7 w/ 7spd than roll the dice on a questionable CVT paired to new engine tech from the same company selling the questionable CVT.

    Infiniti has been one of the luxury brands you could feasibly keep for a long time, but this one looks like lease fodder.

    • 0 avatar
      jalop1991

      “I’d rather pump more fuel into the old 3.7 w/ 7spd than roll the dice on a questionable CVT paired to new engine tech from the same company selling the questionable CVT.”

      Buyers of 2001, and even 2004, model Prius cars are laughing at you right now.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        Nissan isn’t Toyota. If you don’t think that is relevant, I’m laughing at you right now.

        • 0 avatar
          Maymar

          Also, doesn’t the Prius CVT have little to do with a conventional CVT?

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            Yes. There’s a lot of false equivalencies to unpack from jalop’s short comment: The apparent assumption that the two CVT types are mechanically similar. The assumption that the two CVTs have similar reliability. The very funny assumption that the success of new technology from one company assures the success of different new tech from another company. The assumption that suspicion of Nissan’s ability to pull this off reliably given their CVT track record indicates reflexive fear of all new technology.

            Besides, that 3.7 VQ is a riot. This looks less interesting.

          • 0 avatar
            jalop1991

            “Also, doesn’t the Prius CVT have little to do with a conventional CVT?”

            In 2004, nobody cared about the details. All they heard was “CVT” and they let their ignorance move forward.

            In fact, even today you see that ignorance on blogs and in the press.

            So, my point remains: all the Prius buyers in 2004, who were bullied by ignorant people about their “different” cars that “weren’t real cars at all” because they didn’t match up to whatever macho image the ignorant had about what a “real car” is, are now laughing at people who are afraid of what Nissan’s doing with this technology.

        • 0 avatar
          jalop1991

          I’ll throw my money at Nissan long, long before I’ll throw my money at GM or Ford.

          Or Honda. Maybe especially Honda.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            If you want to throw money at something, you could have had my Altima that was exhibiting early symptoms of CVT failure. Got $4500 in your pitching arm?

        • 0 avatar
          jalop1991

          “There’s a lot of false equivalencies to unpack from jalop’s short comment: The apparent assumption that the two CVT types are mechanically similar.”

          I never said that. I merely made the connection between two very similar stories of “here’s something entirely new that you don’t know anything about, and you’re scared to death of it. You’ve even predicted its demise.” And the Prius buyers of 2004 are laughing at you for having that attitude.

        • 0 avatar
          jalop1991

          “The very funny assumption that the success of new technology from one company assures the success of different new tech from another company.”

          Nobody said “assures”. There are no certainties in life. Good God, how much of what I didn’t say are you going to read into what I actually wrote?

          You really, really harbor some deep, deep animosities, don’t you.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            You come on here and repeatedly make the truly stupid comment that “Prius drivers are laughing at you” and wonder why someone gets annoyed?

      • 0 avatar
        rpn453

        I’m guessing they just got into something good and their laughter has nothing to do with 30-mile fetch’s comment at all. I doubt that any of them think they have Nissan CVTs in their Prius’. Maybe they’ll be able to explain it after they come down.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      As someone who daily drives that 3.7/7AT combo, and has driven a Nissan CVT equipped car, I’m gonna have to agree to disagree. With 4 bangers I think the CVT is a dubious proposition, but with the VQ35 in the latest Maxima it was far more enjoyable than my G37’s Jatco 7 speed.

      Besides, Nissan extended the warranty on those CVTs to 10 years/120K miles.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        The CVT performance is not the issue. I like the way they respond quickly and smoothly without any of the pause-shift-lurch of conventional geared transmissions.

        It’s the durability. The 10/120K extended warranty was only offered through model year 2010. Mine was 2012 and showed signs of duress at 86K miles. Numerous similar stories online and in Consumer Reports. Dealers are now selling transmission cooler systems. The $4500 replacement tranny is warrantied for 1 year.

        Seriously, enjoy your 7spd G37. If CVTs are the way to go, Nissan isn’t yet the company to do it.

      • 0 avatar
        johnnyz

        My 16 maxima has the cvt and it drives like an automatic with a shift kit. No complaints here.

    • 0 avatar
      johnnyz

      You can get a good used cvt on eBay for 1500-2k. 600 labor. 4500? Bring the vasoline.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        This CVT was garbage from the date of manufacture, so there certainly is no such thing as a “good” used one. $2600 for another time bomb requires vaseline. Running immediately at the first sign of trouble and moving on to something better is how you avoid the vaseline.

      • 0 avatar
        jalop1991

        Don’t confuse him, he’s too busy being angry at the world because stuff happens.

        Seriously, the modern transmission is the weak spot in EVERY vehicle. The car companies are so busy trying to make an EPA number for the year, they don’t care what happens 3 years after the car is turned back in after lease.

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          “Seriously, the modern transmission is the weak spot in EVERY vehicle.”

          It’s not in the Prius. So as you’d like to say, those Prius drivers are laughing at you now.

          The CVTs in multiple Nissans are showing greater failure rates than their competitors so I am not confused on that one.

          If you want to be a Pollyanna for Nissan on this, you go right ahead and put your money where your typing fingers are. You already expect the transmission to fail, so you won’t be disappointed when it does. Most of us have higher standards though.

          • 0 avatar
            johnnyz

            If her car was a lemon, put in a good used tranny in it and sell it.

            My 2016 maxima has a “lifetime drivetrain” warranty as long as I own it. I will probably only own it for 5ys. Relatively high torque for that rubber band. New design… So far so good.

            Funny, my daughter has a 09 altima sl 2.5. Now I’m scared to keep it.

            I searched the net and could not find a comparison of Nissan CVT failure rates to other cars. I would like to see that. I guess that Consumer Reports would be the definitive source?

            From the web:

            Cars that use Jatco CVT’s “Chrysler, GM, Mi­tsu­bishi, and Suzuki. In addition, nearly half of Nissan’s current U.S. models offer a JATCO-supplied CVT.”

            Hall of fame…

            Honda accord, pilots.

            Toyota Tundra- anything with their V8 tranny was junk for many years.

            The Hindenburg Co. has a shit 9sp FWD Jeep/ fiat others.

            Personal experience. GM 4sp OD trannys fry.

          • 0 avatar
            johnnyz

            If her car was a lemon, put in a good used tranny in it and sell it.

            My 2016 maxima has a “lifetime drivetrain” warranty as long as I own it. I will probably only own it for 5ys. Relatively high torque for that rubber band. New design… So far so good.

            Funny, my daughter has a 09 altima sl 2.5. Now I’m scared to keep it.

            I searched the net and could not find a comparison of Nissan CVT failure rates to other cars. I would like to see that. I guess that Consumer Reports (CR) would be the definitive source?

            CR recommends the 10-14 Altima as a reliable used car. CVT and all.

            From the web:

            Cars that use Jatco CVT’s “Chrysler, GM, Mi­tsu­bishi, and Suzuki. In addition, nearly half of Nissan’s current U.S. models offer a JATCO-supplied CVT.”

            Hall of fame…

            Honda accord, pilots.

            Toyota Tundra- anything with their V8 tranny was junk for many years.

            The Hindenburg Co. has a crapbox 9sp FWD Jeep/ fiat others.

            Personal experience. GM 4sp OD trannys fry TH700R4.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            johnnyz,
            If her car was a lemon, it’s only because Nissan is growing a citrus orchard :)

            Look, 6 months ago I would have been in general agreement with your analysis. Then I spoke to the local service advisor about our car and visited owners forums. Those are admittedly self-selecting groups, but both have plenty of stories about the Nissan CVT.

            If you want quantitative, CR is unfortunately the only thing we’ve got but problems are showing up there as well. In 2013 when we purchased the car, the Altima scored high on the transmission reliability category in every year. Now, the 2007s have the lowest rating and the 2008 and 2009s have slipped to mediocre. It’s not age, because the pre-CVT 2000-2006 still receive very good marks. 2013 Altimas with the redesigned CVT have poor marks. So does the Rogue. And the Pathfinder. And earlier years of the Maxima CVT. Despite the currently high rating for the 2012 Altima transmission, example owner comments include:

            “CVT went out at 30,000 miles”

            “transmission froze on highway…Dealer installed a reconstructed transmission”

            “they replaced the entire transmission”

            “Transmission had to be replaced. Kind of alarming for new car”

            Now if I were the proverbial betting man I would say that the 2010, 2011, and 2012 will be joining the ranks of the 2007-2009 as a few more years go by.

            Given the available info, if someone wants to risk it they can go for it. Some commenters here have claimed nothing but good luck with MkIV VWs. But I stand by my original comment that I would rather spend some more on fuel with the proven 3.7+7spd than the setup described above. I don’t think that is the crazy stretch in reasoning you and jalop seem to think it is.

          • 0 avatar
            jalop1991

            Overall, the modern transmission is the weak link in any car.

            That some don’t have that weak link, doesn’t change anything.

            Planetary gearset? Weak. Belt-driven CVT? Weak.

            The Prius drivetrain doesn’t fall into either of those categories, and represents the barest fraction of cars sold today. My position stands.

            Honda’s most reliable car they sell, by definition, is the Accord Hybrid. Naturally aspirated, 4 cylinders, and a transmission that the car magazines say isn’t a transmission. And it isn’t, if you’re talking about conventional planetary gearsets or belt-drive CVTs.

            My position stands, your intensity on stalking me and putting words in my mouth notwithstanding.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            Jalop, if you have a deep set need to believe you’ve actually made a point at all, or that my comment to someone else constitutes stalking you and while your one line ad hominem trolls don’t, you go right ahead and believe both myths.

            I, however, will join those Prius drivers in continuing to laugh at you. One POS Nissan cvt is plenty for me considering they seem to be as well-engineered as your style of reasoning.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          “Its okay that Nissan’s CVT is unreliable because all cars have weak transmissions.”

          If that isn’t a pathetic back-peddle, I don’t know what is.

          Its kinda hard to come back from “a totally different car made by a totally different company with a totally different trans is good, so you’re stupid for questioning it”, but be damned if you aren’t trying with even more illogical assumptions. You’re not just digging yourself deeper with a shovel, you’re using a backhoe and overloading it with every post.

  • avatar
    Ermel

    There may or may not be valid concerns about longevity, but I think this is an interesting and promising technology and commend Infinity for bringing it to market. Win or fail, only time will tell — but maybe things like this will delay the coming of electric powertrains for everything for another couple of years.

    • 0 avatar
      jalop1991

      “There may or may not be valid concerns about longevity, but I think this is an interesting and promising technology and commend Infinity for bringing it to market.”

      Fast rewind 37 years, and you could replace “Infiniti” with “Cadillac” in that sentence–and suddenly, the discussion is about their V8-6-4 engine.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        Yet another wildly idiotic comparison that only makes sense to you.

        By the way, the premis that Cadillac had was promising, technology was just not advanced enough at the time to make it reliable. Today, many engines have cylinder deactivation, and it works just fine.

  • avatar
    EX35

    Just as I expected, FWD-based and CVT. Junk. I’ll probably be forced to go German (CPO, as I can’t afford new) for my next vehicle if I want RWD and a traditional auto.

  • avatar
    nzguy

    I want to see what happens if you combine this with Mazda’s compression ignition tech.
    These advances could be as significant as efi

  • avatar
    LTDwedge

    CVT transmission; I’m all in. If the mfr doesn’t chinze out on the engineering for the major wear parts, cvt and longevity can go hand in hand. Unfortunately, the motoring public can outthink engineers on the new ways to break these transmissions.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      What have consumers done to hasten the failure of their Nissan CVTs relative to the transmissions in competing vehicles that seem to last?

      • 0 avatar
        jalop1991

        “What have consumers done to hasten the failure of their Nissan CVTs relative to the transmissions in competing vehicles that seem to last?”

        You aren’t paying attention, then.

        Honda is a perfect example of a company that builds cars with glass transmissions. Every manufacturer manages to build junk transmissions nowadays. I didn’t say that every transmission on every car is junk, so don’t go around making up words to put in my mouth so you can quote me. But overall, transmissions are the weakest spot in the automotive world.

        And with leases being prevalent, the automakers don’t care.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          “I didn’t say that every transmission on every car is junk, so don’t go around making up words to put in my mouth”

          “Seriously, the modern transmission is the weak spot in EVERY vehicle.”

          Absolutely no reason to put words in your mouth, since your foot is already there.

        • 0 avatar
          johnnyz

          Aforementioned after a quick search, I could not find where Nissan CVT’s had higher failure rates than others. Maybe I looked in the wrong place.

          Consumer reports recommends the 10-14 Altima as a good used car

  • avatar
    W210Driver

    From a stylistic point of view this is a pretty good-looking vehicle.

    Stupid question – is it based on the Mercedes GLC platform? They look eerily similar and as we know these firms are collaborating…

  • avatar
    derekson

    Which Nissan CUV model is this based on, the Murano? I’m guessing it’s the Murano since it moved to a transverse FWD platform and it slots in under the QX60 which is the Infiniti version of the Pathfinder.

    I’m not sure there’s really much of a market for Infiniti badged FWD based crossovers, but at least if they don’t sell well the development cost should be much lower than the dedicated platform for the old RWD models like the old EX and FX (later QX50 and QX70 IIRC).

  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    This is generic and bland and the end of Infiniti’s last nice looking and properly appointed vehicle.

    If a small premium UV was in my cards, hands down it would be an EX37.

    This is a sad day.

  • avatar

    Yawn, not exited. OLd news, they try to pursue already obsolete technology, waste of money on their part. My next car will be BEV – no transmission, simple, quiet, powerful.

  • avatar
    tooloud10

    I’m still trying to remember which model is the “QX50”. Changing everything to alphanumeric names that are barely able to be distinguished from each other was the dumbest thing they ever did.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    But muh Shevolay Small Block!!!!


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