Slotting in between the QX30 and QX60 crossovers, Infiniti has just unveiled its 2019 QX50 mid-size crossover at the LA Auto Show. We are pleased to note that the new QX50 replicates the 2017 concept's swooping styling as well as it's revolutionary variable compression ratio engine and Propilot Autonomous Drive Support.
Versatile new engine and chassis
The QX50's biggest party piece is its variable compression 2.0 liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 268 hp (200 kW) and 280 lb-ft (380 Nm) of torque. The compression ratio can vary between 8:1 (high performance) and 14:1 (high efficiency), which Infiniti says will allow the engine to provide the power of a gasoline turbo four-cylinder but with the torque and efficiency of a diesel four cylinder.
The variable compression ratio is achieved by a multi-link system fitted to the connecting rods that is controlled through an electric motor with a Harmonic Drive reduction gear. When the Harmonic Drive rotates, it moves the control shaft attached to the crank and adjusts the angle of the multi-link arms. What this effectively does, is change the top-dead-center position of the piston depending on the compression ratio that is needed
The aluminum alloy block and head, and high-carbon steel alloy multi-link components, allow the new engine to be 18 kg lighter than the 3.5-liter V6 found in the current-gen QX50. When the engine uses its Atkinson cycle and high compression ratio, Infiniti is saying that the QX50's fuel economy is a 30-35 percent improvement over the six-cylinder. Said figures are 27 mpg (8.8 L/100 km) for the front-wheel drive version, and 26 mpg (9 L/100 km) for the all-wheel drive version.
Reduced engine noise and vibration was also important in the car's development. The multi-link system restricts the vibrations generated by lateral movement of the pistons and therefore means that balance shafts are not required because the piston is always traveling vertically during its strokes. The QX50 has the world's first Active Torque Rod dynamic upper engine mount with an integrated G-sensor that detects vibrations and generates an opposite reciprocating vibration. Infiniti claims that during testing, the new engine was 9 dB quieter than the V6.
The new QX50 has an updated chassis that includes a stiffer monocoque, floating-valve dampers for the suspension to improve handling, larger 330 mm front discs with a new tie-rod system to reduce brake pedal effort and the fitment of run-flat tires to the 20-inch wheels.
You'd be hard-pressed to tell the QX50 and the concept apart, and that's because Infiniti tried to retain as much of the original design as possible. The production model shares the concept's muscular styling, large multi-spoke alloy wheels, blacked-out sills and diffuser and the prominent hallmark crescent-cut D-pillar that gives it an aggressive silhouette.
The overall package looks smaller and more compact thanks to a sleeker bonnet and identically-shaped LED headlights and taillights, which ties in with Infiniti's current styling regime. The front of the new QX50 dons Infiniti's signature double-arch grille and, combined with the swooping roofline and twin exhausts, the 2019 car has a sportier look compared to the old model.
The cockpit features a sporty leather steering wheel, Infiniti's InTouch infotainment system with dual touchscreen displays and a head-up display with a 9.0-inch projection onto the windscreen. The infotainment's 7.0-inch central screen can be used for hands-free calls, Bluetooth media streaming and listening to music through the optional 17-speaker Bose sound system, while the top 8.0-inch screen displays navigation instructions and system messages.
The QX50 also comes with ProPilot Autonomous Drive Support, a first for Infiniti. Using the QX50's "steer-by-wire" Direct Adaptive Steering (DAS) and front mounted radar sensors and cameras, ProPilot can assist in autonomously controlling the vehicle during highway driving or bumper-to-bumper traffic. It integrates other safety features such as forward and backup collision warning, lane departure warning and blind spot monitoring into the semi-autonomous driving experience.
The DAS can also be adjusted to suit different driving styles through the Drive Mode Selector that incorporates a Standard, Eco, Sport and a Personal setting that allows the driver to fine-tune parameters like the throttle response, power output, the shift behavior of the gearbox and the DAS steering weight to taste.
The seats of the QX50 are finished in stitch-patterned leather and various trim color options are available that include black, dark blue or a luxurious-looking white. The edges of the dash are hand-wrapped in leather while the top is lined with maple wood. Together with the additional space created by the smaller engine and the compact XTRONIC CVT gearbox, Infiniti is claiming that this new interior is a lot more spacious. Practicality hasn't been forgotten either, the QX50's trunk capacity is rated at 31.6 cu-ft (895 liters) with the rear-seats up and 60 cu-ft (1,699 liters) with them folded down.
We are expecting to see Infiniti's mid-size crossover in late 2018 with a price tag similar to the current-gen QX50 at around US$35,000. New Atlas will be on the ground at the LA Auto show to bring you the latest news and information on upcoming models. In the mean-time, take a closer look at the new QX50 in the video below.
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