Infiniti may be unknown to some people here in the Philippines, especially since that they don’t have a dealer here. Too bad, as it might give Lexus some good competition. Nissan’s luxury brand has released a new version of its QX50 compact crossover SUV, and its highlight is the world’s first Variable Compression Ratio engine.
Previewed by the Infiniti QX Sport Inspiration Concept, the QX50 clearly draws many of the concept car’s design elements. Infiniti calls this “Powerful Elegance”, which provides this luxury SUV a commanding presence. It begins with the brand’s signature grille, which is now wider, taller, and lower compared to its predecessor, flanked to the sides by LED headlights with LED daytime running lights, and a cleanly designed clamshell hood. Tasteful character lines run from the side air intakes that begin from the clamshell hood, all the way to the rear lights. Dual chrome exhaust tips finish off its rear. 19-20 inch wheels are available.
Infiniti did its best this time to create an interior that’s distinctive and tasteful. While most Infiniti interiors often look like mere leather and suede covered versions of its more pedestrian Nissan interiors, they actually did a lot more this time to make it more than just a Nissan wrapped in leather. There’s an interesting mix of shapes, contours, and surfaces that makes this the most distinctive Infiniti interior to date. There’s an interesting strip of suede that runs from the center amrest, all the way to the secondary infotainment screen, and on top of the door panels right above the ivory wood trim. It also features Infiniti’s new InTouch infotainment system, which is highlighted by a main 8-inch touchscreen, and a secondary 7-inch touchscreen. We’re not really fans of dual touchscreen systems, but we do hope the execution of this tech here is intuitive and user friendly.
Powering the Infiniti QX50 is the world’s first Variable Compression Ratio engine, which is coupled with a turbocharger. The VC-Turbo engine produces 268 hp and 380 Nm of torque, and is sent via an X-TRONIC CVT that has been calibrated to feel like an 8-speed automatic transmission. Front wheel drive is standard, while all wheel drive is optional. The Variable Compression Ratio engine’s compression ratio ranges from 8:1 to 14:1, and it enables the engine to offer better fuel efficiency or more power by varying the engine’s compression ratio. We’ll do a deep dive soon on how Nissan’s variable compression ratio works. For now, the most interesting tidbit is that, it improves fuel efficiency by as much as 27% compared to the outgoing QX50 with a naturally aspired 3.5 liter V6.
Another interesting new feature is Nissan’s ProPILOT semi-autonomous driving feature, which allows the car to drive on its own in a highway, without complete intervention of the steering, braking, and acceleration.