The Chinese car market is massively important to automakers both foreign and domestic, so it’s understandable that Infiniti would roll out something neat, even if it was shown off before.
Infiniti debuted the QX50 Concept crossover in Detroit this past January, but now, it’s over at the Shanghai Motor Show. Since the Chinese have strong interest in both foreign luxury brands as well as crossovers, this should be quite the hit.
It doesn’t look much like the current QX50, so it stands to reason that this concept previews the next generation of Infiniti’s design language. It’s a bit stronger, with a sort of presence the current QX50 lacks. Its taller roofline should improve both headroom and cargo capacity, too.
The interior is properly luxurious, with leather and wood throughout the airy cabin. It looks pretty darn close to being ready for production, save for a few key adjustments like a more traditional shifter and maybe a bit less extreme application of high-end materials.
That said, the most interesting part of the QX50 concept isn’t even visible most of the time. Under the hood lies Infiniti’s trick VC-Turbo engine. Using some very complex linkages in the engine block, the VC-Turbo is capable of varying its compression ratio, picking a ratio between 8.0:1 and 14.0:1 on the fly.
It may sound complicated, and it is, but the result is what matters. It can apply a more efficient compression ratio for relaxed driving, saving a bit of gas. But when the going gets schwifty, it can swap to a more aggressive compression ratio that can increase power output. Infiniti claims its four-banger should be 27 percent more efficient than a similarly capable V6, and output is targeted at an ample 268 horsepower and 288 pound-feet of torque.
Infiniti hasn’t yet said when the QX50 will undergo a redesign that brings it closer to this concept, but it can’t be too much longer now — perhaps at the start of the 2018 auto show circuit.