By on November 21, 2017

INFINITI QX50 teaser, Image: Infiniti

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 QX50 model as the “perfect balance between lust and logic.”

Lust and logic. You’re welcome.

[Image: Infiniti]

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

  • avatar

    FWD based garbage. Infiniti is dying.

    • 0 avatar

      And based on what we can see (headlight and grille) it won’t be a looker either. Are they trying to out ugly Lexus?

    • 0 avatar

      Around 9 years ago Infiniti introduced a RWD crossover with a port-injected 390HP 6500RPM 5.0L V8 that could run with pony cars.

      Now that has been dead for a few years and the brand is about to bring out a FWD, CVT-equipped CUV with a 268hp turbo-4 utilizing new engine wizardry in the name of fuel efficiency. And this vehicle itself is replacing a 325hp RWD offering.

      It really isn’t the same marquee anymore.

      • 0 avatar

        And they sold almost none of those RWD crossovers, because they had about the space of a pony car inside (until the LWB QX50 came out for 2016), with a side helping of bad fuel economy. Like its QX60 cousin, I expect this QX50 will explode sales numbers compared with either the previous QX50/EX or QX70/FX.

        I like the previous QX50 and might own one of the LWB versions if life had turned out a bit differently, but it followed a formula that’s led to poor sales for every CUV maker that tried it except BMW.

        • 0 avatar

          “It really isn’t the same marquee anymore.”

          That point still stands though. If TVR starts selling a Rogue competitor and sales go up 4000% that might be nice for TVR but it isn’t any less a fundamental shift in the brand’s philosophy.

    • 0 avatar

      Infiniti is in good health, selling about as many vehicles as in its heyday (~2005).

      Furthermore, let’s not oversell the EX35’s sporting credibility. Yes, it’s fast and RWD based, but the Jatco 7AT is AWFUL, the steering, like in all other FM platform cars, is needlessly heavy and not very communicative, and if the summer 225/245 tires were not up to task on my ~500-700lb lighter 350Z, or my current G37, no way will the stock cheapo all seasons be up to snuff on the taller + heavier EX/QX50. This lie of the EX35 being some driver’s car has to stop now.

      Not to mention Infiniti has gone back and forth between greatness and awfulness before. Remember the late 90s? Even with that in mind, the Q50 is a good transmission (there’s that Jatco again) and mechanical LSD away from greatness. If you wanted a driver’s car you shouldn’t be looking at crossovers in the first place. Infiniti is making the right move.

  • avatar
    Tele Vision

    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’.

    • 0 avatar

      Sounds a bit like what Ford has done with their 1.6, 2.0, 2.3, 2.7 and 3.5 litre Ecoboost engine range. With the exception of the 1.6l I think they’ve been quite successful.

      I still prefer superchargers personally though. Worth paying a small efficiency and power penalty for the instant response.

    • 0 avatar

      This thing handily beats conventional 2.0Ts on efficiency. I don’t think you understand what Nissan has done here.

      • 0 avatar
        Tele Vision

        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.

  • avatar

    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.


    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.

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