When an email lands in our inbox stating that the world, Canada specifically, will soon have an opportunity to experience the most important vehicle in the 27-year history of the premium luxury brand in this country, we tend to take note. Consequently, Epoch Media Group sat down with Chad Yee, National Manager Marketing Communications of Infiniti Canada to discover exactly which vehicle Infiniti was talking about.
2019 Infiniti QX50—A Class Leading Game Changer
Since arriving in this country in 1990, Infiniti has continued to polish their reputation of innovation through leading edge technology, all to enhance the experience of every owner and driver of Infiniti automobiles. As Mr. Yee reiterates, the continuing and growing success of Infiniti is embedded firmly in QDR. Quality. Durability. Reliability. Important components behind the brand’s performance-oriented DNA.
Mr. Yee continued. ”Innovation—technology has always been something which differentiates Infiniti from other marques competing for similar customers. For Infiniti, there is some tech in several of our products which would be considered class exclusive. Sometimes, even totally exclusive, the world’s first—such as direct adaptive steering.”
Expect continued great things for this brand later in 2018 when the all-new 2019 QX50 rolls off production lines and onto showroom floors the world over. In fact, noted car and automobile enthusiast Mr. Yee is even prepared to state that the MY19 QX50 is likely the most important vehicle Infiniti has ever conceived, engineered, and produced in their 27-year history in Canada. Consider the powerful and bold exterior design and the quality of the hand-finished interior presenting attention to detail expected from higher-priced vehicles.
A sweeping and bold statement to be sure, but it’s important to realize that this mid-sized SUV is not some flash-in-the-pan, an overnight creation from teams of designers and engineers. Some twenty years in the making, the very heart of this mid-sized SUV is a game-changing power plant called the VC-Turbo. For now, this is the only engine in the world which actually modifies its compression ratio in real time. Consequently, Infiniti touts this engine, while only four-cylinders, and has the advantage of considerably reducing fuel consumption—without affecting overall performance. More on that in a moment.
Interestingly enough, for this luxury brand, the QX50, built on a brand new platform, is a key vehicle in its lineup. Thanks to the new platform, the cabin boasts segment-leading space, with a sliding rear bench enhancing cabin and cargo flexibility and creating best-in-class rear legroom. With all seats in place, it accommodates three golf bags, or a stroller stored lengthways, with space for additional cargo.
The word “halo” has even been used—highly unusual for a vehicle which is not at the top of the Infiniti roster. Such is the importance of the all-new QX50. While the last generation was sporty enough to appeal to drivers, it could be argued that it lacked the necessary cargo space, fuel economy, and general refinement to capture sales from the BMW X3, the Audi Q5, and the Mercedes-Benz GLC. This new QX50 could very well be a game-changer.
Let’s circle back to the new engine—the VC-Turbo. Mr. Yee stated, “This engine is the world’s first production-ready variable compression ratio engine, actually transforming on demand.” You see, Infiniti engineers have created a breakthrough in combustion engine design. This 2.0-litre VC-Turbo engine actually, imperceptibly adjusts its compression ratio to optimize power and efficiency. In simple terms, the VC-Turbo combines the power of a 2.0-litre turbocharged gasoline engine with the torque and efficiency of a four-cylinder diesel engine! Consequently, from Infiniti’s point of view, the internal combustion engine as an efficient means of propelling vehicles remains relevant—and then some. The VC-Turbo challenges and questions the very idea that only hybrid and diesel powertrains can deliver high torque and overall efficiency.
For the tech-inclined, a multi-link system continuously raises or lowers the engine’s pistons’ reach to transform the compression ratio. High compression ratios aid efficiency, while low ratios enable greater power and torque. The VC-Turbo offers any compression ratio between 8:1 (for performance) and 14:1 (for efficiency), maximizing driver control.
This production engine is paired with a continuously-variable transmission (CVT), for seamless power delivery and provides 268 horsepower and 280 lb.-ft.—an expected best-in-class combination of four-cylinder power and torque. The all-wheel drive 2019 QX50 offers a 30 percent improvement in fuel efficiency over the previous V6 gasoline QX50.
Empower the Drive
As much as the 2019 QX50 touts the future for the brand, this vehicle still embraces Infiniti’s positive brand position: Empower the Drive. These words are more than a slogan, a marketing catch phrase. All Infiniti models embrace innovative design, performance enhancing, state-of-the-art technology and an unparalleled connection between the driver and the car—regardless of whether it’s a coupe, sedan, CUV, or SUV. Infiniti designers and engineers create vehicles where the sole function is to make you, the driver, feel safe and secure while driving your vehicle regardless of conditions.
“Frankly,” stated Mr. Yee, “Infiniti intends to provide you the same enjoyment, the same exhilaration that physical excitement experienced when you drove your very first car.”
Will the 2019 QX50 deliver for Infiniti? From Infiniti head office in Hong Kong and Infiniti Canada, confidence is high.
David Taylor is an independent automotive lifestyle writer, producer, and editor based in Barrie, Ontario who is fascinated by innovation and technology which enhance the overall driving experience. He’s also a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) and is a Director of that organization’s Canadian Car of the Year Award. Follow him on Twitter @Omemeeozzie or on Instagram @hugoscaroftheweek.