On Friday, Infiniti unveiled the new QX50 Concept — its vision for the future of luxury SUVs.
The stylish mid-size crossover is perhaps the most important car Infiniti has shown off in recent memory.
Sitting squarely at the center of what is arguably to most hotly contested segment in the luxury auto market, the QX50 has the tall task of showing off Infiniti’s latest engine and autonomous-drive technology.
At its core, the QX50 is a closer-to-production evolution of the QX Sport Inspiration that debuted at the 2016 Beijing Auto Show.
“With the unveiling of the QX Sport Inspiration at the 2016 Beijing Auto Show, we showed the future of Infiniti QX models,” Infiniti president Roland Kreuger said in a statement. “The new QX50 Concept evolves this concept further and shows how Infiniti could develop its future presence in the fastest – growing vehicle segment globally.”
At the heart of the QX50’s tech package is the rollout of Infiniti’s new ProPilot autonomous driving tech. Infiniti seems hesitant to call the system an “autopilot.” Instead, the Hong Kong-based automaker prefers to characterise the technology as a “co-pilot” for the driver.
According to Infiniti, the company intends to keep the driver in control of the vehicle while supplying proactive safety technology as a supplement.
“Infiniti’s autonomous drive technologies will act as a ‘co-pilot’ for the driver, empowering rather than replacing them, and ‘delegate’ more onerous driving tasks to the car — such as navigating stop-start traffic on the highway or keeping track of the positions of surrounding vehicles,” the company wrote in its press release.
In addition to the autonomous driving tech, the QX50 will also see the first implementation of Infiniti’s revolutionary variable compression or VC engine technology that debuted at the 2016 Paris Motor Show.
Infiniti expects the new 2.0 litre, turbocharged VC four-cylinder engine to produce 268 horsepower while using 27% less fuel than a comparable V6.
Infiniti’s VC technology allows the engine to adapt its compression ratio based on specific driving conditions — varying output and dynamic characteristics between performance and efficiency.
The QX50 Concept will likely serve as the basis for Infiniti’s new mid-size luxury crossover due out in the near future to take on rivals such as the Lexus RX and Acura MDX.
The Infiniti QX50 Concept will make its world debut at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show in January.
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