Will INFINITI’s New Engine Lure Buyers From the Competition?

The 2019 INFINITI QX50, which debuted at the LA Auto Show, is not only a stunner, it’s a technological marvel that will be surprisingly affordable when it hits the U.S. market next year.

In addition to coming equipped with a semi-autonomous driving system, the new luxury crossover will have the world’s first variable compression engine. What is that exactly?

We’ll get to that.

Let’s talk about the luxury crossover segment first. It’s red-hot right now, and entrants from Infiniti, Lexus, Jaguar, and more are stepping up the competition. Will Infiniti’s new engine make the choice easier for car buyers?

Here’s how Wired describes the new variable compression engine:

The trick lies in the engine’s ability to change the compression ratio, which determines how tightly the pistons squeeze the air and fuel before the spark plug ignites the mixture (that’s the combustion bit). It does that by changing the angle of a center link, which rotates around the crank shaft and separates upper and lower piston links, and thus the distance the piston travels up the cylinder.

If you didn’t catch that, all you need to know is that Nissan, Infiniti’s parent company, has developed an engine that can optimize its behavior for whatever you want in the moment: performance or fuel economy.

That’s pretty slick, and we’re excited to see how it translates to real-world fuel economy. We saw it in L.A., but it remains to be tested out on the streets. Prices will begin at about $35,000 later in 2018.

Jaguar also has a similar new entry called the E-Pace. While it doesn’t come with the same level of engine tech, it does have the athleticism we’ve come to expect from Jaguar. Plus it has a sub-$40,000 starting price, which, we presume, many car buyers will be able to justify.

What’s more appealing in the new INFINITI QX50: Its engine or its sub-$40,000 price tag?

-tgriffith

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