The Infiniti QX50 Concept that debuts at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show will be our best look yet at the design of the luxury marque’s next mid-size crossover. Though this is still a concept, it’s far closer to reality than the previous QX Sport Inspiration show cars we saw at the Paris and Beijing shows earlier this year.
As with those cars, this latest Infiniti QX50 Concept has striking, expressive styling that’s far more in keeping with the brand’s current design trends than the dated QX50 that is currently on sale. A giant interpretation of Infiniti’s double-arch mesh chrome grille dominates the nose, while almost every body panel is bisected by curves and creases. As is the modern trend for both styling and aerodynamics, the QX50 Concept’s roofline descends noticeably toward the rear, and the rear window is notably angled. A cabin-forward stance lends the crossover a sporty look, while metal skid plates at either end connote a modicum of off-roading ability.
Infiniti hints that the production version of this vehicle, the next QX50, could use the company’s new VC-Turbo engine. It’s a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four, but its computer can alter the piston stroke to change the compression ratio and thus optimize for efficiency of power. The engine is expected to produce 268 horsepower (200 kilowatts) and 288 pound-feet of torque (390 Newton-meters), but Infiniti says it’ll be 27 percent more fuel efficient than a V6 engine with equivalent power.
The QX50 Concept will also include some ProPilot technology. That’s the name Nissan and Infiniti use for semi-autonomous systems that will soon be able to navigate intersections without driver interaction. In the QX50, Infiniti says it will be a driver-assist feature than a fully autonomous system, keeping the driver involved in the process but taking over in situations like heavy traffic. The company says ProPilot is production-ready and will be “will be developed further in future production models.” A recent study found that Infiniti owners, as well as owners of other luxury brands, are very interested in self-driving car technology.
Stay tuned for more details on the Infiniti QX Concept when it debuts on January 9.
Gallery: Infiniti QX50 Concept heads to 2017 Detroit Auto Show
The INFINITI QX50 Concept, which will make its global premiere at the 2017 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, showcases the brand’s vision for a next-generation mid-size premium SUV.
An evolution of the 2016 QX Sport Inspiration, the QX50 Concept shows how the design of its conceptual forebear could be adapted for a future production model in the world’s fastest-growing vehicle segment. INFINITI’s latest concept confidently articulates the artistic influence of the designer through the brand’s ‘‘Powerful Elegance’’ design language. A ‘‘cabin-forward’’ silhouette combines with taut, muscular lines and flowing surfaces telegraph it as a dynamic and practical SUV.
The organic forms of the ‘‘driver-centric, passenger-minded’’ cabin harmonize with the exterior. Blending progressive design with elevated levels of modern craftsmanship, the QX50 Concept’s interior reflects INFINITI’s desire to challenge conventional approaches to premium interior design.
‘‘With the unveiling of the QX Sport Inspiration at the 2016 Beijing Auto Show, we showed the future of INFINITI QX models. The new QX50 Concept evolves this concept further and shows how INFINITI could develop its future presence in the fastest- growing vehicle segment globally.’’
Roland Krueger, President of INFINITI
INFINITI to reveal plans for ProPILOT autonomous driving technologies
INFINITI’s QX50 Concept also previews the brand’s roll out of its ProPILOT autonomous drive support technologies. Central to the strategy for the development of all future ProPILOT systems is that they should ensure the driver retains ultimate control over their vehicle - in keeping with INFINITI’s focus on driver engagement - while providing a proactive approach to safety.
ProPILOT will act as a ‘‘co-pilot’’ for the driver, empowering rather than replacing them, and ‘‘delegate’’ more onerous driving tasks to the car - such as navigating stop-start traffic on the highway or keeping track of the positions of surrounding vehicles.
Since its inception in 1989, INFINITI has brought a number of pioneering driver-assistive technologies to the customer. The company has been responsible for a series of world- first semi-autonomous technologies, including Predictive Forward Collision Warning, drive-by-wire Direct Adaptive Steering and Active Lane Control.
ProPILOT will wrap up all of INFINITI’s existing and near-future autonomous drive support technologies into one suite of features. The QX50 Concept’s ProPILOT system previews the first production-ready incarnation of a technology package, which will be developed further in future production models.
VC-Turbo: the first production-ready variable compression ratio engine
INFINITI will exhibit its ground breaking new VC-Turbo (Variable Compression Turbo) engine technology in Detroit. The VC-Turbo engine is the world’s first production-ready variable compression ratio engine. VC-Turbo technology combines the power of a high- performance 2.0-liter turbo gasoline engine with the torque and efficiency of an advanced diesel powertrain. Such an advanced powertrain would be perfectly suited to the packaging of the QX50 Concept.
The production-ready 2.0-liter VC-Turbo engine represents a compelling alternative to diesel powertrains. Using an innovative multi-link system, the VC-Turbo engine is able to adapt its compression ratio according to driving conditions to deliver optimal levels of performance and efficiency. By seamlessly raising or lowering the reach of the pistons, it instantly selects the most suitable compression for current driving conditions. The engine is able to offer any compression ratio between 8:1 (for high performance) and 14:1 (for high efficiency).
With a development target power output of approximately 200 kW (268 hp / 272 ps) and 390 Nm torque, the VC-Turbo engine will be comparable to certain six-cylinder gasoline powertrains for performance, while significantly outperforming them in efficiency. INFINITI engineers are targeting a 27 percent improvement in fuel efficiency over V6 gasoline engines of similar power output.
INFINITI’s VC-Turbo technology marks a significant leap forward for the internal combustion engine, joining other renowned powertrain innovations such as liquid cooling, fuel injection, catalytic convertors, and turbocharging. The arrival of the VC-Turbo will establish new benchmarks - for power, efficiency and emissions - against which future powertrains will be measured.