Variable-compression-powered crossover makes debut before the L.A. auto show
The 2019 Infiniti QX50 luxury midsize crossover made its debut in Hawthorne, California, tonight, just steps away from the Tesla Design Studio and Space X headquarters. The Tesla studio and Space X headquarters might seem like an odd place to reveal a new gas-powered SUV, but the 2019 QX50’s gas engine is anything but ordinary. It’s the world’s first variable-compression engine, a technological feat that Infiniti says makes the new QX50 both more powerful and more efficient.
If you want to get really into the minutia of the QX50’s powertrain, I highly recommend checking out our First Drive of the 2019 QX50 prototype, but here’s the “too lazy; didn’t read” version: dubbed VC-Turbo, the QX50’s new 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 is capable of changing its compression ratio on the fly. That means it operates at an efficient 14:1 compression ratio when cruising along and a powerful 8:1 ratio under spirited driving or heavy acceleration. The engine produces 268 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque and is mated to a CVT. Front-wheel drive is standard, with all-wheel drive optional.
Infiniti claims the 2019 QX50 gets up to 27 mpg (8.7 L/100km).
Built in Mexico, the 2019 QX50 rides on a new Infiniti-exclusive platform and also features a mix of Nissan/Infiniti technologies we love—such as ProPilot Assist Level 2 semi-autonomous driving—and others we don’t, such as Direct Adaptive Steering, or in other words, steer-by-wire. Despite the inherent difficulties in designing a luxury vehicle around a front-drive platform, the Infiniti team was quite successful. Infiniti’s design language looks sharp on the QX50, with clean yet aggressive body work.
The QX50 is even nicer inside. With Infiniti’s dual-screen center stack acting as the focal point of the cabin, the screens are flanked by two colors of leather, silver metal accents, and suede trim in a third contrasting color. The whole design is quite nice in person and feels like a refreshingly original take on a luxury SUV interior from Infiniti. The high-quality materials are carried through into the back of the cabin, where adult passengers will find a spacious rear seat with plenty of head-, leg-, and knee room, though foot room is a bit tight.
The 2019 Infiniti QX50 is in its early stages of production now and could be available at dealers nationwide as early as spring 2018.