The calendar has rolled over into another year and for auto fans, that means the North American International Auto Show in Detroit is just around the corner. Taking center stage on Infiniti's stand will be the QX50 Concept SUV, an evolution of the 2016 QX Sport Inspiration shown in Beijing last year that puts the spotlight on the company's new autonomous driving tech and Variable Compression Turbo engine.

The QX50 Concept is very much based on the QX Sport Inspiration – in fact, you may need to squint to see the difference, with aluminum trim side skirts and sweeping skid plates front and rear being the most pronounced deviation. These and other subtle changes add up to a design that we are much more likely to see in production form than its predecessor.

The QX Sport Inspiration shown in Beijing in 2016(Credit: Infiniti)

The QX50 Concept also previews Infiniti's upcoming autonomous drive support technologies, though aside from "navigating stop-start traffic on the highway or keeping track of the positions of surrounding vehicles," details on the system are scarce at present.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the pre-show release is the hint that QX50 Concept in production form could have the company's new VC-Turbo (Variable Compression Turbo) under the hood. This production-ready, 2.0-liter, inline 4-cylinder turbo unit is conceived as a marriage of performance and efficiency, with the ability to vary its compression ratio between 8:1 and 14:1. This results in a "development target power output" of 200 kW (268 hp) and 390 Nm torque, which Infiniti says will improve efficiency by up to 27 percent compared with similar performing V6 gasoline engines.

You can see the multi-link system that makes this possible in the video below.

Check back for all the news from New Atlas' reporters on the ground in Detroit later this month.

Source: Infiniti

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