Infiniti Offers a Peek at the 2019 QX50(?) as It Prepares New Crossover, Engine for L.A. Debut

infiniti offers a peek at the 2019 qx50 as it prepares new crossover engine for

Nissan’s luxury division isn’t saying it’s the next-generation QX50, but everything we know about that model and its revolutionary (and potentially risky) engine points to one conclusion.

For now, and until the vehicle’s unveiling at the L.A. Auto Show on November 28th, Infiniti simply refers to it as an “all-new model” — one boasting “world-first” technology. The technology’s no mystery, as after two decades of development Infiniti plans to launch a 2.0-liter variable compression gas engine. Expect class-leading interior volume, the automaker tells us.


Infiniti’s VC-T engine, described in great detail here, regulates piston travel in order to create a range of compression ratios — from 8:1 to 14:1, depending on engine speed and load. Basically, it becomes an engine for all seasons. We already know the engine’s specs — 268 horsepower and 288 pound-feet of torque, which means more twist than the outgoing QX50’s 3.7-liter V6.

If it proves durable over the long term and delivers Infiniti’s claimed 27-percent improvement in fuel economy, it could give Mazda a run for its “reinvent the gas engine” money. (Mazda’s going a different route for fuel savings, introducing a mainly sparkless compression ignition gas four-cylinder for 2018.)

Going by EPA ratings for the 2017 QX50, the incoming model could see a combined rating of 25.4 mpg. Highway mileage would rise to 30.5 percent. That’s far less than contemporary compact hybrid crossovers, but an improvement over rivals like the BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLC. It also allows the automaker to green up its fleet without resorting to expensive battery packs and electric motors.

Any leg up over competitors is a weapon in the premium crossover sales war. Infiniti QX50 sales are down just over 4 percent in the U.S., year-to-date, though October saw sales climb 18 percent, year-over-year.

Granted, the above photo purposefully keeps us (and the vehicle) mainly in the dark. Still, it’s clear the next-gen QX50’s “Powerful Elegance” design, seen last week on the facelifted QX80, hasn’t strayed much from the QX50 Concept released last year.

Normally, we’d spare you from the uncomfortably passionate description of a vehicle from its chief designer, but not this time. Alfonso Albaisa, Infiniti’s senior vice president of global design, describes the upcoming [s]QX50[/s] model as the “perfect balance between lust and logic.”

Lust and logic. You’re welcome.

[Image: Infiniti]

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  • Tele Vision Tele Vision on Nov 21, 2017

    20 years of development?! They could have saved (b)(m)illions by adopting my theory: a 2.0L 4-holer; a 3.0L 6-holer; and a 4.0L V8. Turbo- or super-charge as needed. Or both, if they felt lairy-enough about a halo model. A 3.0L V or inline six with a pair of wee turbos would easily put out a reliable 300/300 without the 20 years of expensive development. Forced induction is a known quantity and has been so for longer than 20 years - they could easily have had this up and running with the antiquated VQ, even. That said, don't ever end a sentence with 'even'.

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    • Tele Vision Tele Vision on Nov 22, 2017

      @sportyaccordy I understand that all car manufacturers produce MPG numbers that are nigh-unattainable in the real world - and that's with proven technology. A '27% increase in fuel economy' covers a lot of ground, too: Idling? Cruising? Hauling? I hope that the buyers of this Rube Goldberg device understand that they're paying for 20 years of R&D that might culminate in 5% of fuel savings - which will be utterly and instantly negated when an example of such is left to warm up in the morning at 0 MPG.

  • Conundrum Conundrum on Nov 21, 2017

    Willems, you are the stubbornest "auto" writer out there, and perhaps the dumbest. Despite repeated reminders, you still write rubbish like this: "Mazda’s going a different route for fuel savings, introducing a mainly sparkless compression ignition gas four-cylinder for 2018." You are totally incorrect. The acronym for the engine is SPPCI, the first two letters of which stand for SPARK PLUG. Time to exercise what little inquisitiveness you have left and google it. When the engine is under high load and reverts to regular SkyActiv operation, the spark plug fires. When it goes into diesel mode, the spark plug fires a small ball of stochiometric A/F to artificially raise the compression and set the remaining lean charge off. SPARK PLUGS ARE NEEDED all THE TIME. As for the VC engine, it's no miracle and ruins the combustion chamber shape and process at low CR settings. Seeing as you cannot seem to drum it into your head that the Mazda uses spark ignition, not sometimes but always, I shall remind you for ever until you GET it.

    • Kyree Kyree on Nov 21, 2017

      I understand your ire, but let's come up with a better way to express it than to use ad hominem attacks, yeah?

  • SCE to AUX It's not really a total re-badge since some of the body parts are unique, and the interiors are quite different.As I mentioned the other day, the Tonale has a terrible name and a dim future.As for the Alfa team - guess what, this is how corporate ownership works. You are part of Stellantis partly because you're not viable as a standalone business, and then your overlords decide what's shared among the products.By the way: That Uconnect infotainment system found in Alfas was originally a Chrysler product... you're welcome.
  • Kurkosdr Someone should tell the Alfa Romeo people that they are a badge owned by a French company now.The main reason PSA bought FiatChrysler is that PSA has the technology to enter the luxury market but customers don't want a French luxury car for psychological/mindshare reasons. FiatChrysler has the opposite problem: they have lots of still-respected brands but not always the technology to make good cars. Not to say that if FCA has a good platform, it won't be used in a PSA car.In other words, if those Alfa Romeo buds think that they will remain a silo with their own bespoke platforms and exclusive sheet metal, they are in for a shock. This is just the start.
  • Arthur Dailey For the Hornet less expensive interior materials/finishings, decontent just a little, build it in North America and sell it for less and everyone should be happy with both the Dodge and the Alfa.
  • Bunkie I so wanted to love this car back in the day. At the time I owned a GT6+ and I was looking for something more modern. But, as they say, this car had *issues*. The first of which was the very high price premium for the V8. It was a several thousand dollar premium over the TR-7. The second was the absolutely awful fuel economy. That put me off the car and I bought a new RX-7 which, despite the thirsty rotary, still got better mileage and didn’t require premium fuel. I guess I wasn’t the only one who had this reaction because, two years later, I test-drove a leftover that had a $2,000 price cut. I don’t remember being impressed, the RX-7 had spoiled me with how easy it was to own. The TR-8 didn’t feel quick to me and it felt heavy. The first-gen RX was more in line with the idea of a light car that punched above its weight. I parted ways with both the GT6+ and the RX7 and, to this day, I miss them both.
  • Fred Where you going to build it? Even in Texas near Cat Springs they wanted to put up a country club for sport cars. People complained, mostly rich people who had weekend hobby farms. They said the noise would scare their cows. So they ended up in Dickinson, where they were more eager for development of any kind.
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