Infiniti’s QX50 Concept to debut in Detroit; potential application for VC-Turbo variable compression ratio engine; autonomous drive support
Infiniti will stage the world premiere of the QX50 Concept mid-size premium SUV at the 2017 North American International Auto Show in Detroit; the concept showcases the brand’s vision for a next-generation mid-size premium SUV and also demonstrates a potential application for Infiniti’s production-ready VC-Turbo variable compression ratio engine (earlier post).
Infiniti’s QX50 Concept also previews the brand’s roll out of its autonomous drive support technologies. Central to the strategy for the development of all future autonomous drive support systems is that they should ensure the driver retains ultimate control over the vehicle—in keeping with Infiniti’s focus on driver engagement—while providing a proactive approach to safety.
Infiniti’s autonomous drive technologies will act as a “co-pilot” for the driver, 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.
The QX50 Concept's autonomous drive support systems preview the first production-ready incarnation of a technology package that will be developed further in future production models.
VC-Turbo. 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 well suited to the packaging of the QX50 Concept, the company said.
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) and 390 N·m (288 lb-ft) 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% improvement in fuel efficiency over V6 gasoline engines of similar power output.