The Detroit-Bound Infiniti Q​X50 Concept Heralds the Company's Crossover Future

The SUV features the brand’s new engine, design language, and autonomous driving tech.

Infiniti

Next week at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Infiniti will reveal the QX50 Concept, a crossover that serves as a hopeful harbinger for new design and technology to come from the Japanese automaker. The new concept reflects Infiniti's interest in capturing market share in the premium SUV segment, one of the fastest-growing chunks if the automotive world.

The QX50 Concept borrows from its conceptual predecessors’ looks, the 2016 QX Sport Inspiration—a handsome 'ute that debuted at the 2016 Beijing Auto Show. The updated styling is designed to showcase a sport-utility interpretation of the company's current design language, known as "Powerful Elegance." But the real magic is of the QX50 Concept is its arsenal of driving tech: autonomous technology that’s more co-pilot than autopilot, and Infiniti's variable compression engine, which the carmaker has dubbed the VC-Turbo.

Keeping in line with the brand’s interest in increasing and enhancing driver engagement, the autonomous technology won’t fully take over for the driver. Instead, it is designed to handle the things that wear drivers out—focusing on where and what other cars around you are doing, or handling stop-and-go traffic—while still giving the person behind the wheel ultimate control. 

But while that's noble and all, it's what lies under the hood that has us wowed. Against the odds, Infiniti has  created the automotive world's first production-ready variable compression ratio engine. The VC-Turbo is something of a Jekyll and Hyde power plant, one that can deliver both impressive fuel efficiency and performance relative to its diminutive size by using a sophisticated multi-link system that varies the compression ratio between 8:1 and 14:1. (Check out the company's infographic here to see how it works, or watch the video below.)

While it may be just a concept when it shows up at the Detroit Auto Show next week, don't be surprised to see a production-ready version roll into showrooms in the next year or two. With the old QX50 pushing 10 years old, it's more than time for an all-new model to take its place. 

Stay tuned for more info on the QX50 Concept in the next week.