QX Sport Inspiration: A daring new SUV vision from INFINITI

The INFINITI QX Sport Inspiration is an elegant and powerful expression of progressive SUV design. Laying down markers for future INFINITI QX models, the QX Sport Inspiration explores the brand’s vision for a next-generation, premium mid-size SUV. The concept makes its European premiere at the 2016 Paris Motor Show (Mondial de l’Automobile), and includes several new design elements.

The QX Sport Inspiration stands out in its segment with its taut lines, muscular haunches, high visual center of gravity, long bonnet and raked, coupe-like silhouette. Immediately recognizable as an INFINITI, the QX Sport Inspiration is inspired by INFINITI’s “Powerful Elegance” form language and bears the brand’s design hallmarks – including the signature double-arch grille, focused “human eye” headlamps, “crescent-cut” pillar and masculine, fluid body sculpting.

Flowing lines and advanced craftsmanship characterize the spacious and beautifully appointed interior, which follows INFINITI’s “driver-centric, passenger-minded” approach to cabin architecture. The interior’s color palette – predominantly black and white with flashes of the hide’s natural tan color, as well as new dark brown leather for the Paris Motor Show – is striking, yet harmoniously blended through careful use of line, form, and texture.

“The QX Sport Inspiration is a statement of intent from INFINITI, showcasing a daring design philosophy and a demonstration of our capabilities in the mid-size SUV segment.”

Roland Krueger, President of INFINITI

INFINITI QX Sport Inspiration in detail

Exploring INFINITI’s vision for a next-generation SUV
With the QX Sport Inspiration, INFINITI has started to explore the potential to expand its portfolio in the mid-size SUV market – one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing premium segments.

INFINITI boasts a strong history in SUV design – the pioneering INFINITI FX45, launched in 2003, set the template for sporting SUVs over the following decade. Regarded as the world’s first mid-size multi-purpose sports vehicle, the FX is still considered an SUV design icon today. In an increasingly crowded and popular market segment, the QX Sport Inspiration seeks to build on INFINITI’s SUV heritage and generate further excitement for the brand.

The QX Sport Inspiration comes at a time when INFINITI continues to expand its product portfolio globally – into new and popular segments. We design concept cars with true production potential, and the QX Sport Inspiration offers a vision of how INFINITI could bring something exciting and new to the mid-sized SUV segment.”

Francois Bancon, INFINITI Vice President Product Strategy

Exterior design that expresses power and purpose
“The QX Sport Inspiration expresses power and purpose through what we describe as its ‘proportional clarity’, with an elegance that is uniquely INFINITI. The exterior design will appeal to an artistic sensibility. It has a more flowing, natural aesthetic than that evident in traditional premium SUVs.”

Alfonso Albaisa, INFINITI Executive Design Director

Inspired by INFINITI’s Powerful Elegance form language, taut lines, short overhangs and muscular haunches endow the QX Sport Inspiration with a purposeful aura that hints at its dynamic capability. The long, smooth hood draws the eye back over the vehicle and the visual weight builds over the car’s haunches to reinforce the ‘lean-forward’ stance.

The concept promises off-road versatility, aided by its raised, 230 mm (9.1 in) ground clearance, as well as the empowering, in-control on-road driving characteristics and cruising comfort that is expected of any INFINITI. The concept features a lean, purposeful form, with a short front overhang and wide stance – total width (excluding rear-view cameras) is approx. 1,900 mm (74.8 in), while length is 4,600 mm (181 in).

INFINITI has launched a number of new models recently which adhere closely to the form and philosophy of concept models – notably the Q30, the QX30 and the Q60. All share a suite of signature design cues that help ensure each is immediately recognizable as an INFINITI.

The QX Sport Inspiration evolves these signature design elements, including a new interpretation of INFINITI’s hallmark ‘crescent-cut’ D-pillar, where the leading edge of the crescent is raised – echoing that of the acclaimed Q80 Inspiration Concept. Bringing added emphasis to this feature, the curvature of the D-pillars is mirrored in the lines of the rear hatch window.

In profile the bodywork tapers down from the concept’s roof (1,650 mm – 64.9 in – maximum height) toward a rear hatch that has been angled to accentuate the vehicle’s ‘lean-forward’, coupe-like silhouette.

At the front, the line from the top of INFINITI’s familiar double-arch grille extends through the sharp, high-performance, focused “human-eye” headlamps, with new chrome detail for its Paris appearance. The ‘human-eye’ element is another INFINITI signature design theme and, contoured around the edge of the hood, forms a character line that runs over the wide, flared front wheel arches and along the flanks to the tapered rear.

The QX Sport Inspiration on display at the Mondial de l’Automobile is finished in a sleek matt grey and fitted with 22-inch aluminum alloy wheels – larger than the 21-inch wheels seen on the concept for its Beijing world premiere. The wheels are finished in a new bronze color that is also applied to the brake calipers, and wrapped in low profile 285/45 R22 tires. The new wheels hint at the car’s dynamic potential while adding to the concept’s daring design.

Three-dimensional blade-shaped tail lamps taper inwards to the center of the hatchback panel, echoing the organic forms apparent elsewhere on the exterior.

Stand-out elements blend form and function

For INFINITI, the definition of ‘elegance’ can be the most sophisticated solution to a complex engineering or aerodynamic challenge, as well as a statement of striking aesthetics. This drives our instinct to create designs that are both beautiful and useful.”

Alfonso Albaisa, INFINITI Executive Design Director

The exterior of the QX Sport Inspiration is notable for numerous design details that are visually striking while also fulfilling a clear functional purpose. For example, located above the sills on both sides of the car is a recessed step. As well as aiding ingress and egress for driver and passengers, this step reduces the apparent depth of the bodywork and raises the concept’s visual center of gravity for a ‘go anywhere’ SUV-like appearance.

Large vertical blade-shaped vents are integrated into the front fender, highlighting the width of the concept while also admitting cooling air to the front brakes. Another pair of vertical vents, located behind the bold front wheel arches, reference those found on previous INFINITI concepts and also serve an aerodynamic purpose, extracting turbulent, drag-inducing air from the front wheel arches.

Another design feature artfully blending form and function is the performance-inspired rear diffuser, which aids aerodynamic efficiency and is careful integrated with the exhaust outlets.

Handcrafted interior lays down guiding principles for future INFINITI cabins

In line with one of the core tenets of INFINITI design, the beautiful, handcrafted cabin of the QX Sport Inspiration is both driver-centric and passenger-minded.

Laying the foundations for future INFINITI models, the striking interior is based around distinct zones for the passengers and the driver. The front section of the vehicle is focused on the needs of the driver, endowing a true sense of confidence and control. At the same time, the horizontally-biased interior architecture, with lines that wrap around the upper portions of the cabin, promotes a feeling of togetherness throughout.

The four-seat layout emphasizes the designers’ desire to give all passengers their own personal space within the cabin, while a fifth seat in the center of the rear bench is available if needed. Despite the relatively compact footprint of the car and the coupe-like roofline, the floating front and rear seats – suspended to allow more space on the floor of the cabin – and the generous 2,800 mm (110.2 in) wheelbase allow all passengers to travel in comfort.

When the doors are opened it is possible to see how the recessed sill-step is level with the floor of the cabin, emphasizing a sense of openness and referencing the harmonization of interior and exterior design.

A strong, twisting character line flows from the front of the cabin to the rear, tumbling downwards at the B-pillar, inspired by and echoing the organic lines of the exterior.

Echoing the organic, natural contours of the exterior and interior, INFINITI’s designers have experimented with different cabin materials, using them to dictate some of the resulting forms. The QX Sport Inspiration features a two-tone black-and-white interior, with black surfaces resembling the appearance of body armor, playing off against the soft and gentle forms of the brighter white surfaces.

“We experimented with a range of tailored and handcrafted materials throughout the interior, and our designers have used these different materials to dictate the form, contours and finish of the cabin. The combination of different types of leathers – both hard and soft to the touch – result in a more organic, natural finish.”

Alfonso Albaisa, INFINITI Executive Design Director

Many of the cabin’s surfaces are wrapped in robust black saddle leather, which designers used to dictate the structure and shapes of the central control stack, as well as the lower dashboard, arm-rests, and luggage-space cover. The thickness, finish, and shaping of the material is used to accentuate the rich, natural feel of the leather and to emphasize the cabin’s handcrafted appearance.

Some of the hard black saddle leather surfaces are scored to replicate the sharp angles found in a crystal prism. Hard black saddle leather also lines the floor and kickplates, with laser-cut, back-lit INFINITI logos visible upon entry. Lighting has been added to kickplates on all four doors and throughout the cabin, such as the divide between the dashboard and the transmission tunnel.

White leathers are used across the upper dashboard, including harder matt leather with a concave finish which lines the doors and adds visual texture – of shade and light. The multi-function steering wheel is finished in Nubuck leather, while the A-pillars and lining around the panoramic roof are all finished in black Ultra-suede®.

Contrasting black and white leathers are sewn together with silver stitching. Modelled on the Q80 Inspiration Concept, a contrasting tan edging – the hide’s natural color – also runs around the top of the dashboard and doors, as well as around the leather that lines the floor. New for its European premiere, certain leather elements throughout the interior are now finished in a deep brown, complementing the predominantly black and white leather color scheme.

The color gradation of the panoramic glass roof acts as a shade for passengers in the rear in bright sunlight, while still affording a light and airy ambience.

The cabin’s driver-centric layout and minimalist controls are designed to allow the driver to focus more of their attention on the simple pleasure of driving. Clear and simple ventilation controls are embedded in the mesh of the air vents themselves.

Playing on the infotainment screen mounted in the center of the concept’s dashboard, a video will demonstrate how INFINITI plans to integrate advanced navigation, communication, audio, and safety technologies into its future cabin designs.

A global network of design studios working together

INFINITI is a truly international brand, with design, engineering and production facilities on three continents. As with all of its current production models, for the QX Sport Inspiration the company has been able to draw upon an eclectic mix of cultures and inspirations.

“We have worked hard to develop a creative design network that seeks to capture the imagination of people from around the world. By establishing a culture of exchange between all of our studios, INFINITI is able to design beautiful, expressive and progressive cars.”

Alfonso Albaisa, INFINITI Executive Design Director

INFINITI operates a global network of design studios in Japan, the United Kingdom, China and the USA. The company’s design network takes inspiration from every region of the world, with each studio drawing on the characteristics of its respective region and providing a window into the needs and desires of its customers.

INFINITI’s design studio in London, United Kingdom, evaluates and reflects modern European tastes and draws on traditional and modern interpretations of automotive luxury. The Beijing, China, design center tends to be particularly daring in its designs, challenging conventional notions of shape and balance. The INFINITI Design center in San Diego, USA, is situated in the brand’s largest market, providing insights into the lifestyle of the USA’s West Coast and the needs and desires of American car buyers in general. Finally, located in Atsugi, Japan, the company’s central design center provides executive guidance for each of the other studios and shapes highly progressive yet production-realistic designs.

INFINITI VC-Turbo: The world’s first production-ready variable compression ratio engine

INFINITI today unveils the all-new 2.0-liter VC-Turbo (Variable Compression Turbo) gasoline engine, the world’s first production-ready variable compression ratio engine. Shown for the first time at the 2016 Mondial de l’Automobile in Paris, the four-cylinder VC-Turbo promises to be one of the most advanced internal combustion engines ever created.

With the ability to continuously transform, INFINITI’s VC-Turbo technology uses an advanced multi-link system to seamlessly raise or lower the stroke of the pistons, detecting the car’s driving condition and driver inputs, and instantly selecting the most suitable compression ratio.

The engine is able to offer any compression ratio between 8:1 (typical for high performance engines) and 14:1 (used by many manufacturers for high efficiency).

The result is an engine that combines the power of a high-performance 2.0-liter turbo gasoline engine with the torque and efficiency of an advanced diesel powertrain – without the equivalent emissions – offering a compelling alternative to similarly-powered four-cylinder diesel engines. The VC-Turbo engine will be comparable to certain six-cylinder gasoline powertrains for performance, while significantly outperforming them in efficiency.

The four-cylinder VC-Turbo engine achieves lower levels of noise and vibration than conventional internal combustion engines, particularly diesel, and is lighter and more compact than V6 units with comparable power outputs.

INFINITI’s VC-Turbo technology marks a significant leap forward for the internal combustion engine, joining other renowned powertrain innovations such as liquid-cooling, fuel injection, catalytic convertors, and turbocharging. The arrival of the variable compression ratio engine will establish new benchmarks for power, efficiency and emissions.

“Vehicle engineers believe that a breakthrough in internal combustion technology would come from mastering the variable compression ratio. INFINITI will be the first to bring this technology to the market in 2018. This new generation of powertrains will help our global growth and expansion of the INFINITI product portfolio.”
Roland Krueger, President of INFINITI

The world’s first production-ready variable compression ratio engine

  • Two decades in development, and on-sale in 2018
  • Technology enhances future prospects for the gasoline engine

Fixed compression ratio engines have been in existence throughout the 130-year history of the motor car. Throughout this time, other manufacturers have taken on the challenge of developing a variable compression ratio engine. INFINITI will be the first to bring the technology to market, with an engine that continuously transforms according to driver behavior.

A truly historic challenge, INFINITI has worked on this technology for more than 20 years. The first major breakthrough was the invention by INFINITI of a new multi-link technology in 1998, which held the key to a true variable compression ratio.

INFINITI has tested and developed more than 100 engine prototypes in perfecting the technology, covering over three million kilometers of equivalent road testing and spending over 30,000 hours on the test bed (equal to five million kilometers of on-road testing). The engine is now in its final stages of development on real roads.

The advanced new VC-Turbo engine is the latest driver-focused technology from INFINITI. The company has introduced a series of world-first technologies since 1989, such as ‘steer-by-wire’ Direct Adaptive Steering and predictive forward collision warning.

Understanding compression ratios – fixed vs. variable

  • Higher compression ratios offer greater efficiency; lower ratios enable greater performance
  • Variable compression provides both power and efficiency within one engine for greater flexibility
  • VC-Turbo can shift to any compression ratio between 8:1 and 14:1

The compression ratio is the ratio of the combustion chamber’s volume from its greatest capacity (when the piston is at bottom-dead-center within the cylinder) – to its smallest capacity (when the piston is at top-dead-center).

A higher compression ratio is able to achieve greater efficiency and improved fuel consumption; lower compression ratios offer greater power and torque, particularly in turbocharged engines, but are known for reduced fuel efficiency.

Until now, in every production engine ever built, this ratio has been fixed as a result of the dimensions, components and engine layout.

INFINITI’s VC-Turbo engine uses an advanced multi-link system to change the compression ratio seamlessly, actively raising or lowering the height of the pistons’ stroke. Offering any compression ratio between 8:1 and 14:1, the VC-Turbo engine offers both power and efficiency within the same engine.

As well as offering the benefits of true flexibility, VC-Turbo technology negates the downsides posed by fixed compression. INFINITI’s engine neatly sidesteps the problem of ‘knocking’, a process of inefficiency which can occur in higher compression ratio engines when the air-fuel mixture combusts prematurely in the cylinder, potentially resulting in damage to the engine. INFINITI’s VC-Turbo engine avoids this with direct injection fuel delivery, and by constantly optimizing the compression ratio. This latter characteristic ensures greater efficiency than many high performance engines with a fixed, low compression ratio.

High performance, high efficiency

  • INFINITI engineers targeting 27% greater fuel efficiency over similarly-powered V6 gasoline engines
  • Dramatic reduction in harmful emissions compared to diesel
  • Development teams targeting 200 kW power output with 390 Nm torque

Due to the advantages of the engine’s variable compression ratio, as well as the multitude of other innovations applied to the four-cylinder VC-Turbo engine, INFINITI engineers are targeting up to a 27% improvement in fuel efficiency over V6 engines of a similar power output, depending on its vehicle application.

In addition, gasoline VC-Turbo technology offers a dramatic reduction in emissions over diesel powertrains, such as particulate matter and NOx.

Development teams behind the VC-Turbo engine are targeting a power output of around 200 kW (268 bhp, 272 ps), and approximately 390 Nm torque. This impressive specific power output is higher than many four-cylinder turbocharged gasoline engines. In terms of performance, the 2.0-liter VC-Turbo engine will offer similar performance to some gasoline V6 powertrains, and with the potential for greater fuel efficiency.

VC-Turbo: a driver-focused powertrain

  • Compression ratio adapts according to driving conditions and driver inputs
  • Wide-range, single-scroll turbocharger for instant acceleration
  • Engine able to transform instantaneously, offering maximum efficiency and immediate acceleration

“INFINITI has created an engine that adapts to conditions, and empowers drivers with the engine they want, when they want it. This is the world’s first truly driver-focused powertrain.” Shinichi Kiga, Chief Powertrain Engineer, Gasoline Engine Project Group

INFINITI seeks to deliver empowering performance in everything the company creates, and the new VC-Turbo engine is no exception. Variable compression ratio technology provides drivers with an engine that makes an intelligent choice between performance and efficiency.

The engine moves seamlessly between compression ratios, detecting the car’s driving condition and driver inputs, and instantly selecting the most suitable compression ratio.

Under hard acceleration or heavier engine loads – for instance, when overtaking another vehicle or driving up a hill – the engine shifts to a lower compression ratio. This results in higher performance from the engine, offering a compression ratio that can be compared with the highest-performing turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engines to appear in a production vehicle.

At steady highway speeds, under slowing driving conditions, at idle, and at low speeds in stop-start traffic, the engine defaults to a higher compression ratio to maximize efficiency.

A wide-range single-scroll turbocharger provides seamless access to the engine’s power and torque reserves and enables immediate acceleration. Combined with a unique ability to vary its compression ratio according to driver behavior, INFINITI’s 2.0-liter VC-Turbo engine delivers the maximum possible efficiency in all conditions, with exhilarating performance just a throttle-opening away.

Revolutionary multi-link technology

  • More than 300 technologies patented
  • Multi-link technology raises and lowers the piston height seamlessly to vary the compression ratio
  • New engine produces a third of the vibrations of a conventional four-in-line engine, and requires no balance shafts
  • VC-Turbo switches between Atkinson and regular combustion cycles

“The VC-Turbo engine represents a new breed of engine which can transform continuously, and will establish new benchmarks for future internal combustion engines.” Shinichi Kiga, Chief Powertrain Engineer, Gasoline Engine Project Group

INFINITI has patented more than 300 new technologies specifically designed for application in the new four-cylinder VC-Turbo engine. Among these is the world’s first multi-link system and an electric motor actuator with Harmonic Drive® reduction gear, which together enable the engine to transform its compression ratio continuously.

INFINITI has created an electric motor, connected to the Harmonic Drive® reduction gear with a connecting control arm. The Harmonic Drive® rotates according to the compression ratio required, which then rotates the control shaft at the base of the engine and, in turn, moves the multi-link mechanism. Changing the multi-link angle adjusts the height of the top-dead-center of the pistons, varying the compression ratio. An eccentric control shaft varies the piston stroke position for all four cylinders at the same time.

The layout of the multi-link mechanism makes the VC-Turbo engine smoother than conventional in-line engines, boasting low noise and vibrations levels similar to those of a V6 engine. The multi-link system means the piston connecting rods are almost vertical during the combustion cycle, rather than moving wider laterally as in a traditional crankshaft rotation.

In addition, the multi-link design operates the ideal reciprocating motion when compared with the traditional connecting rod and crankshaft system. The smooth-running VC-Turbo therefore benefits from uncommonly low levels of vibration and does not require any balance shafts. Conventional four-cylinder engines require a pair of balance shafts to reduce second-order vibrations.

INFINITI benchmarked the 2.0-liter VC-Turbo’s vibration characteristics against other four-cylinder turbocharged engines. In the VC-Turbo, engine vibration noise was reduced from a benchmark average of approximately 30 dB to just 10 dB. Such a low level of vibration makes the VC-Turbo four-cylinder engine almost as smooth and refined as a V6. INFINITI’s benchmark V6 engine for the latter stages of VC-Turbo development – the manufacturer’s 3.5-liter ‘VQ’ engine – produces 3 dB of vibration noise, only slightly lower than the new engine.

With a variable compression ratio, the VC-Turbo engine is able to switch between both Atkinson and regular combustion cycles, without interruption. Each cycle enables greater combustion efficiency and optimal engine performance as the combustion ratio transforms.

Under the Atkinson combustion cycle, air intake overlaps with the compression cycle in the cylinder, allowing combustion gas to expand to a larger volume for greater efficiency. The VC-Turbo engine employs the Atkinson cycle under higher compression ratios, where the stroke of the pistons is longer. The modern Atkinson cycle – employed in many advanced hybrid engines – allows the intake valves to be open for a short time as the compression stroke starts.

As the compression ratio lowers, to enable greater engine performance, the engine is able to operate a regular combustion cycle: intake, compression, combustion, and exhaust, each stage taking place in distinct, separate phases, resulting in greater performance.

Renault Sport Formula 1 expertise

  • Renault Sport Formula 1 involved in latter-stage testing
  • Advanced analysis by Formula 1 engineers ensures durability

INFINITI’s partnership with the Renault Sport Formula 1 team has proved instrumental in accelerating the VC-Turbo’s prototype testing in the latter stages of its development program.

As part of the natural development process for the engine, testing of earlier prototypes saw INFINITI addressing the challenge of component material development and durability.

One such instance revolved around the engine’s bearings. Thanks to its advanced multi-link system, the VC-Turbo engine features around three times as many bearings as a conventional internal combustion engine. VC-Turbo engineers identified a small bearing vibration which manifested at the highest engine speeds under certain conditions.

INFINITI’s VC-Turbo project engineers worked with the Renault Sport Formula 1 team to identify and isolate the vibration, using the team’s expertise in dynamic motion analysis in conditions of up to 20,000 rpm – far higher than any production engine. The team’s experience in movement behavior, and the use of bearing technology in a Formula 1 application, provided valuable insight into developing the engine. This stage of testing has confirmed the durability of the VC-Turbo engine under particularly challenging conditions.

Flagship engine with INFINITI’s latest engine technologies

  • VC-Turbo employs both direct and multi-point injection
  • Single-scroll turbocharger and integrated exhaust manifold
  • Mirror bore coating technology reduces piston friction

The flagship VC-Turbo engine has been engineered to accommodate the latest of INFINITI’s production engine technologies in order to realize – and enhance – its variable nature.

The gasoline VC-Turbo engine employs a combination of both multi-point injection (MPI) and direct injection (DIG), further improving the engine’s ability to balance efficiency and power in all driving conditions. The DIG system improves combustion efficiency and performance due to the heat-absorbing effect of fuel vaporization – which aids cylinder cooling – and allows the engine to avoid ‘knocking’ at higher compression ratios. MPI allows for earlier mixing of air and fuel to increase engine efficiency at low loads. Like the compression ratio, the engine can switch instantly between GDI or MPI at regular engine speeds, while both sets of injectors work in conjunction under a combination of high engine speeds and load.

While the VC-Turbo engine’s multi-link system limits the lateral movement of the connecting rods within the engine – a cause of piston friction – INFINITI’s ‘mirror bore coating’ technology further reduces cylinder friction by 44%. Mirror bore coating technology is a process in which the cylinder walls are sprayed by a special plasma jet. The coating is then hardened and honed, resulting in an ultra-smooth cylinder wall to allow the engine to rotate more smoothly. Mirror bore coating technology has recently been used in INFINITI’s new VR30DDT 3.0-liter V6 twin-turbo engine.

As the engine shifts to allow greater performance or efficiency, a wide-range, single-scroll turbocharger works in conjunction with the VC-Turbo system to maximize acceleration response at any engine speed or compression ratio. For instance, if the driver is cruising at a steady speed but needs to accelerate to overtake, the turbocharger reacts instantly to boost acceleration as the engine shifts seamlessly to a lower compression ratio. The turbocharger enables the four-cylinder VC-Turbo engine to benefit from greater efficiency than a larger, naturally-aspirated six-cylinder engine, yet ensures equivalent performance. The single-scroll turbocharger improves the loss of thermal energy and exhaust pressure, and keeps weight and cost low.

An integrated exhaust manifold is built into the engine’s aluminum cylinder head to further improve packaging, performance and efficiency. The compact size and neater packaging of the cylinder head enables engineers to position the catalytic converter next to the turbo. This reduces the length of the flow path for hot exhaust gases, allowing the catalytic converter to heat up quickly and start the emissions control process sooner. The close proximity to the turbo facilitates the VC-Turbo engine’s immediate accelerative responses.

An electronically-controlled wastegate actuator maintains boost pressure by closely controlling the flow of exhaust gases through the turbocharger. This ensures fuel efficiency and performance under all conditions, even as the compression ratio and engine speeds change.

As the turbocharger recirculates hot exhaust gases back into the engine, the VC-Turbo’s high capacity intercooler lowers the temperature – and therefore the density – of the air, further enhancing the efficiency of the forced induction system.

The four-cylinder VC-Turbo’s high specific power results in greater lubrication and cooling requirements than conventional four-cylinder turbo engines. Development teams addressed this with a two-stage variable displacement oil pump, which enables low-pressure oil distribution at engine speeds below 3,000 rpm. The engine automatically increases oil flow pressure as engine speeds or loads rise (and the compression ratio lowers), ensuring optimum running temperatures at all times.

A multi-way flow control valve (MCV) provides further thermal management. The MCV optimizes the distribution of coolant to the radiator, cabin heater, and oil cooler depending on current conditions and compression ratio. The MCV’s ‘zero flow’ coolant flow mode cuts coolant distribution during a cold start to reduce frictional loses while the engine warms up.

Innovative engineering delivers efficient packaging

  • Weight-saving measures contribute to a 25 kg reduction over earlier INFINITI V6 engines
  • Advanced multi-link layout ensures efficient packaging in relation to other four-cylinder in-line engines

INFINITI’s downsized 2.0-liter VC-Turbo engine benefits from more compact packaging and weight-saving measures compared with the company’s award-winning 3.5-liter ‘VQ’ V6 engine.

The new engine’s block and cylinder are made from lightweight aluminum alloys, with the multi-link components manufactured in a high-carbon steel alloy. Compared to the ‘VQ’ V6 engine, the VC-Turbo engine weighs 25 kg less, and occupies a smaller engine bay footprint.

In addition to its downsized nature compared to the larger, naturally-aspirated V6, the layout and design contributes to improved packaging and weight savings throughout the powertrain.

The cylinder head with integrated exhaust manifold is compact in size and enables more intelligent integration with the turbocharger and catalytic converter. Cast in aluminum, the cylinder head and manifold union contributes to the engine’s overall reduction in weight. The mirror bore cylinder coating technology also negates the need for cast iron cylinder liners.

With the multi-link system’s minimal lateral movement, development teams were able to do away with the pair of balance shafts that conventional four-cylinder engines require in order to minimize vibrations. With efficient packaging of its new multi-link components, the VC-Turbo engine will therefore occupy a similar space under the bonnet in relation to other four-cylinder in-line engines.

VC-Turbo will drive INFINITI’s next stage of growth

  • Innovative powertrains will drive INFINITI’s global expansion
  • INFINITI offers a compelling alternative to diesel during a period of global scrutiny into powertrain emissions
  • Year-on-year global sales increase of 16% in 2016

“In future, new INFINITI products will benefit from the application of downsized, high-efficiency engines, such as VC-Turbo, which do not compromise performance. INFINITI’s progressive customer base is receptive to new technology, and the VC-Turbo engine is designed to meet this desire to buy innovative products.” Roland Krueger, President of INFINITI

Innovative powertrains such as the VC-Turbo engine will drive INFINITI’s global growth ambitions, and sustain the ongoing expansion of its product portfolio. With VC-Turbo technology, INFINITI has enhanced the prospects of the very idea of the gasoline engine, at a time when the sustainability of diesel combustion is under question.

Significant powertrain innovations will drive INFINITI’s next phase of growth. The new 2.0-liter VC-Turbo engine is the latest – and most momentous – of these innovations. INFINITI has improved corporate average fuel economy by 36% from 2005 to 2014, and future powertrain innovations will see the company improve efficiency further.

INFINITI continues to lay strong foundations for the continued growth of the company in every market around the world. New products have formed the basis of INFINITI’s recent sales momentum. The company sold a record 215,249 vehicles globally in 2015 – a year-on-year rise of 16%. INFINITI sold over 110,000 vehicles during the first half of 2016, a 7% year-on-year rise and another sales record for the company.

 

 

 

 

 

QX Sport Inspiration: A daring new SUV vision from Infiniti

Hong Kong/Beijing – The Infiniti QX Sport Inspiration is an elegant and powerful expression of progressive SUV design. Laying down markers for future Infiniti QX models, the QX Sport Inspiration explores the brand’s vision for a next-generation, premium mid-size SUV.

Inspired by Infiniti’s acclaimed “Powerful Elegance” design philosophy – characterized by flowing sculptural lines and strong, muscular proportions – the QX Sport Inspiration lays down markers for the brand’s vision of a next-generation, mid-size premium SUV. Featuring the brand’s signature design cues and an array of innovative details, the concept boasts a powerful, purposeful exterior with an elegance that is uniquely Infiniti.

Inspired by Infiniti’s acclaimed “Powerful Elegance” design philosophy – characterized by flowing sculptural lines and strong, muscular proportions – the QX Sport Inspiration lays down markers for the brand’s vision of a next-generation, mid-size premium SUV. Featuring the brand’s signature design cues and an array of innovative details, the concept boasts a powerful, purposeful exterior with an elegance that is uniquely Infiniti.

The QX Sport Inspiration stands out in its segment with its taut lines, muscular haunches, high visual center of gravity, long bonnet and raked, coupe-like silhouette. Immediately recognizable as an Infiniti, the QX Sport Inspiration is inspired by Infiniti’s “Powerful Elegance” form language and bears the brand’s design hallmarks – including the signature double-arch grille, focused “human eye” headlamps, “crescent-cut” C-pillar and masculine, fluid body sculpting.

Flowing lines and advanced craftsmanship characterize the spacious and beautifully appointed interior, which follows Infiniti’s “driver-centric, passenger-minded” approach to cabin architecture. The interior’s color palette – predominantly black and white with flashes of the hide’s natural tan color – is striking, yet harmoniously blended through careful use of line, form, and texture.

“The QX Sport Inspiration is a statement of intent from Infiniti, showcasing a daring design philosophy and a demonstration of our capabilities in the mid-size SUV segment.”
Roland Krueger, President of Infiniti

QX Sport Inspiration in detail

Exploring Infiniti’s vision for a next-generation SUV
With the QX Sport Inspiration, Infiniti has started to explore the potential to expand its portfolio in the mid-size SUV market – one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing premium segments.

Infiniti boasts a strong history in SUV design – the pioneering Infiniti FX45, launched in 2003, set the template for sporting SUVs over the following decade. Regarded as the world’s first mid-size multi-purpose sports vehicle, the FX is still considered an SUV design icon today. In an increasingly crowded and popular market segment, the QX Sport Inspiration seeks to build on Infiniti’s SUV heritage and generate further excitement for the brand.

“The QX Sport Inspiration comes at a time when Infiniti continues to expand its product portfolio globally – into new and popular segments. We design concept cars with true production potential, and the QX Sport Inspiration offers a vision of how Infiniti could bring something exciting and new to the mid-sized SUV segment.”
Francois Bancon, Infiniti Vice President Product Strategy

Exterior design that expresses power and purpose
“The QX Sport Inspiration expresses power and purpose through what we describe as its ‘proportional clarity’, with an elegance that is uniquely Infiniti. The exterior design will appeal to an artistic sensibility. It has a more flowing, natural aesthetic than that evident in traditional premium SUVs.”
Alfonso Albaisa, Infiniti Executive Design Director

Inspired by Infiniti’s Powerful Elegance form language, taut lines, short overhangs and muscular haunches endow the QX Sport Inspiration with a purposeful aura that hints at its dynamic capability. The long, smooth hood draws the eye back over the vehicle and the visual weight builds over the car’s haunches to reinforce the “lean-forward” stance.

The concept promises off-road versatility, aided by its raised, 230 mm (9.1 in) ground clearance, as well as the empowering, in-control on-road driving characteristics and cruising comfort that is expected of any Infiniti. The concept features a lean, purposeful form, with a short front overhang and wide stance – total width (excluding rear-view cameras) is 1,900 mm (74.8 in), while length is 4,600 mm (181.1 in).

Infiniti has launched a number of new models recently which adhere closely to the form and philosophy of concept models – notably the Q30, the QX30 and the Q60. All share a suite of signature design cues that help ensure each is immediately recognizable as an Infiniti.

The QX Sport Inspiration evolves these signature design elements, including a new interpretation of Infiniti’s hallmark “crescent-cut” C-pillar, where the leading edge of the crescent is raised – echoing that of the acclaimed Q80 Inspiration Concept. Bringing added emphasis to this feature, the curvature of the C-pillars is mirrored in the lines of the rear hatch window.

In profile the bodywork tapers down from the Concept’s roof (1,650 mm – 64.9 in – maximum height) toward a rear hatch that has been angled to accentuate the vehicle’s “lean-forward,” coupe-like silhouette.

At the front, the line from the top of Infiniti’s familiar double-arch grille extends through the sharp, high-performance, focused “human-eye” headlamps – another Infiniti signature design theme – around the edge of the hood to form a character line that runs over the wide, flared front wheel arches and along the flanks to the tapered rear.

Three-dimensional “blade-shaped” tail lamps taper inwards to the center of the hatchback panel, echoing the organic forms apparent elsewhere on the exterior.

Stand-out elements blend form and function
“For Infiniti, the definition of ‘elegance’ can be the most sophisticated solution to a complex engineering or aerodynamic challenge, as well as a statement of striking aesthetics. This drives our instinct to create designs that are both beautiful and useful.”
Alfonso Albaisa, Infiniti Executive Design Director

The exterior of the QX Sport Inspiration is notable for numerous design details that are visually striking while also fulfilling a clear functional purpose. For example, located above the sills on both sides of the car is a recessed step. As well as aiding ingress and egress for driver and passengers, this step – finished in gloss-black – reduces the apparent depth of the bodywork and raises the Concept’s visual center of gravity for a “go anywhere” SUV-like appearance.

Large vertical “blade-shaped” vents are integrated into the front fender, highlighting the width of the Concept while also admitting cooling air to the front brakes. Another pair of vertical vents, located behind the bold front wheel arches, reference those found on previous Infiniti concepts and also serve an aerodynamic purpose, extracting turbulent, drag-inducing air from the front wheel arches.

Another design feature artfully blending form and function is the performance-inspired rear diffuser, which aids aerodynamic efficiency and is careful integrated with the exhaust outlets.

At the base of the slim “floating” A-pillars, small rear-facing cameras in sleek housings replace conventional rear-view side mirrors. The A-pillars rise to flank the panoramic glass roof, which extends from the header rail to the rear hatch. The roof features a Cosmic Chrome™ gradation, visually blending the glasshouse into the rear roof spoiler, creating a distinctive aesthetic feature that also helps manage temperature within the cabin.

Handcrafted interior lays down guiding principles for future Infiniti cabins
In line with one of the core tenets of Infiniti design, the beautiful, handcrafted cabin of the QX Sport Inspiration is both “driver-centric and passenger-minded.”

Laying the foundations for future Infiniti models, the striking interior is based around distinct zones for the passengers and the driver. The front section of the vehicle is focused on the needs of the driver, endowing a true sense of confidence and control. At the same time, the horizontally-biased interior architecture, with lines that wrap around the upper portions of the cabin, promotes a feeling of togetherness throughout.

The four-seat layout emphasizes the designers’ desire to give all passengers their own personal space within the cabin, while a fifth seat in the center of the rear bench is available if needed. Despite the relatively compact footprint of the car and the coupe-like roofline, the floating front and rear seats – suspended to allow more space on the floor of the cabin – and the generous 2,800 mm (110.2 in) wheelbase allow all passengers to travel in comfort.

When the doors are opened it is possible to see how the recessed sill-step is level with the floor of the cabin, emphasizing a sense of openness and referencing the harmonization of interior and exterior design.

A strong, twisting character line flows from the front of the cabin to the rear, tumbling downwards at the B-pillar, inspired by and echoing the organic lines of the exterior.

Echoing the organic, natural contours of the exterior and interior, Infiniti’s designers have experimented with different cabin materials, using them to dictate some of the resulting forms. The QX Sport Inspiration features a two-tone black-and-white interior, with black surfaces resembling the appearance of body armor, playing off against the soft and gentle forms of the brighter white surfaces.

“We experimented with a range of tailored and handcrafted materials throughout the interior, and our designers have used these different materials to dictate the form, contours and finish of the cabin. The combination of different types of leathers – both hard and soft to the touch – result in a more organic, natural finish.”
Alfonso Albaisa, Infiniti Executive Design Director

Many of the cabin’s surfaces are wrapped in robust black saddle leather, which designers used to dictate the structure and shapes of the central control stack, as well as the lower dashboard, armrests, and luggage-space cover. The thickness, finish, and shaping of the material is used to accentuate the rich, natural feel of the leather and to emphasize the cabin’s handcrafted appearance. Some of the hard black saddle leather surfaces are scored to replicate the sharp angles found in a crystal prism. Hard black saddle leather also lines the floor and kickplates, with laser-cut, back-lit Infiniti logos visible upon entry.

White leathers are used across the upper dashboard, including harder matt leather with a concave finish which lines the doors and adds visual texture – of shade and light. The multi-function steering wheel is finished in Nubuck leather, while the A-pillars and lining around the panoramic roof are all finished in black Ultra-suede®.

Contrasting black and white leathers are sewn together with silver stitching. Modelled on the Q80 Inspiration Concept, a contrasting tan edging – the hide’s natural color – also runs around the top of the dashboard and doors, as well as around the leather that lines the floor.

The color gradation of the panoramic glass roof acts as a shade for passengers in the rear in bright sunlight, while still affording a light and airy ambience.

The cabin’s driver-centric layout and minimalist controls are designed to allow the driver to focus more of their attention on the simple pleasure of driving. Clear and simple ventilation controls are embedded in the mesh of the air vents themselves.

Drivers can switch driving modes with a dial on the center console, and change gears with metal paddle-shifters mounted on rear of the steering wheel. Within easy view of the driver, a pair of compact monitors integrated into the A-pillars project the images captured on the two rear-facing cameras that replace the door mirrors. Between the front seats a small touchscreen panel provides rear-seat passengers with their own ventilation controls.

Infiniti Q80 Inspiration Concept

HONG KONG – The Infiniti Q80 Inspiration concept, representing the daring vision of the brand’s future design language, has been awarded one of the most prestigious cross-industry design prizes.

Infiniti_Q80_Inspiration_SHMS_2015_08

The concept car, unveiled at the 2014 Paris Motor Show, has received an iF Design Award in the “Professional Concept” category, with the Q80 Inspiration’s striking fastback design winning over the 58-strong international jury. The concept vehicle was chosen to receive the accolade from total list of 5,295 entries from 53 countries.

Established in 1953, the annual iF Design Award is one of the most prestigious and important international prizes for design excellence across a wide range of industries.

Alfonso Albaisa, Infiniti Executive Design Director, commented: “As we set out to design Q80 Inspiration, we challenged ourselves to bring to life the purest expression of Infiniti: a challenger at heart, daring to strike a unique signature into an established and aspirational segment, tireless innovators in our drive to express power, gesture and artistry in a unique and unmistakable way. The Q80 Inspiration’s combination of power and elegance set future design cues that are now surfacing in recently launched models such as the Q30 and Q60. The award by iF Design is the seal of outstanding design quality, and we are delighted that our talented design team have been given this accolade.”

The Infiniti Q80 Inspiration is a bold concept that hints at future Infiniti design language with powerful proportions, an elegant fastback silhouette and an artistically tailored interior.

The official iF Design Award ceremony took place on February 26 in Germany during the 2016 Munich Creative Business Week.

Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge Concept: Muscular, Purposeful, Refined

Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge Concept

The Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge, revealed at the 2014 NAIAS Detroit Motor Show, is a concept car that expresses Infiniti’s design vision of a high-performance Q50 premium sports sedan.

The Q50 Eau Rouge embodies the arresting design features of the Q50 premium sports sedan – infused with the enticing spirit of Formula One.

Featuring bespoke aerodynamic carbon fiber bodywork, Q50 Eau Rouge is lower and wider, possessing genuine road presence. This striking design is inspired by muscularity, aerodynamics, refinement, and understated power.

“If we built this car I would expect it to feature over 500hp and 600lb/ft of torque. Through our various alliance partners we have access to a range of engines featuring this performance capability which, with a fair amount of engineering effort, can be developed to exhibit Infiniti character and accommodated within the Q50 engine bay. The engine we are evaluating for the Q50 Eau Rouge is a big personality, V-cylinder engine with forced induction. I think our engineers have been waiting for a project like this,” said Johan de Nysschen, President of Infiniti Motor Company Limited.

Hints at powerful intent

The Q50 Eau Rouge was born out of competition at the very pinnacle of motorsport, mirroring components from the successful RB9 race car. Almost every exterior panel is bespoke to the Q50 Eau Rouge, with only the front doors and the arch of the roof pillars retained as standard components.

Q50 Eau Rouge visibly hunkers down with menace and intent. New front and rear fenders extend the current Q50’s already broad-shouldered stance by 20mm, while a larger deck lid spoiler creates air-pressure downforce. All of this dynamic width is wrapped in a tailored coat of customized red paint.

Framing the paintwork across the Q50 Eau Rouge’s athletic physique is dark-chrome detailing to replace the chrome bright work of the production Q50, darkening the concept’s demeanor dramatically.

Q50’s signature double-arch front grille too takes the dark-chrome’s matte finish, as do the glasshouse surrounds, door handles and deck lid accents. The curving hood is double air-vented as a further suggestion of the capability and purpose of the Q50 Eau Rouge.

“From our shared passion for performance with Infiniti Red Bull Racing grew a collective desire to produce an ambitious and powerful Infiniti Q50 design study. The overall design creates a feeling of refined muscularity,” said Alfonso Albaisa, Infiniti’s Executive Design Director.

“The design has a number of distinctive Formula-One inspired touches. In particular, the sculpted front wing assembly and the rear aerodynamic packaging take their cues from the RB9 race car. The rear fog light packaging is unmistakably Formula One.

“The Q50 Eau Rouge is a combination of the seductive lines of the Q50 but with a fiercer design urge in keeping with a high-performance vehicle. The Q50 Eau Rouge is Infiniti to the power of four; like a bull with its shoulder muscles flexed, a bull in Infiniti clothing.”

Part of the concept’s exterior treatments include lightweight 21-inch forged alloy wheels which fill the wider arches.

Premium interior. Sporting inspiration

Further underlining the sporty character of the design study, the interior was designed to offer command and comfort.

Further precision control is afforded by a high-grip sports steering wheel and Formula One-style paddle-shifters.

Red-infused carbon fiber detailing to the doors and center console complement the exterior style, and dark-chrome again replaces silver-chrome in the red cockpit.

The breadth and depth of capability is self-evident; the Q50 Eau Rouge is a design concept that clearly indicates what Infiniti could achieve if it was to build a performance version of the Q50 sports sedan.

“Performance is a key ingredient of Infiniti vehicles such as the Q50 sports sedan. Our involvement in Formula One provides inspiration and excellence to our designers and engineers. Q50 Eau Rouge provides not only a glimpse of the design language, but also the performance capability of a future special series,” de Nysschen added.

About Infiniti:

Infiniti Motor Company Ltd. is headquartered in Hong Kong with sales operations in approximately 50 countries. The Infiniti brand was launched in 1989. Its range of premium automobiles is currently built in manufacturing facilities in Japan and the United States. Production in China and Europe will start soon along with the expansion of the brand’s portfolio.

As the Title Partner and Vehicle Performance Partner of Infiniti Red Bull Racing, Infiniti has a far-reaching technical collaboration with the Formula One team, and Sebastian Vettel, its four-time World Champion driver, serves as Infiniti’s Director of Performance.

More information about Infiniti, its Total Ownership Experience® and its industry leading technologies can be found at www.infiniti.com. For the latest news on Infiniti in Formula One, visit www.infiniti-gp.com, www.youtube.com/InfinitiGP or follow on Twitter @InfinitiGP.

The Q30 Concept

 Q30Concept

Infiniti has provided a first look at the Q30 Concept which will have its world premiere at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show as the next step in Infiniti’s foray into new premium segments.

The Infiniti Q30 Concept signals the contemporary design vision for a compact Infiniti vehicle which will target a new generation of premium customers. It is set to be unveiled at Infiniti’s press conference, scheduled for 10:15 am CET on September 10 in Hall 5 at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

Q30 Concept embodies Infiniti’s vision to deliver head-turning design, innovative materials with precise fit and finish and passionate craftsmanship, while provoking a radical shift in the premium compact segment.

The shape of the Infiniti Q30 Concept deliberately challenges categorisation – not a coupe, not a hatch and not a crossover but a fusion of the three body styles. It is designed for younger customers seeking an alternative to traditional premium compact vehicles and open to convention-challenging approaches.

Infiniti is confident this merging of the dynamic design and sportiness of a coupe, the roominess of a hatch and the higher stance of a crossover will resonate with these customers.

The Q30 Concept design language reflects the brand’s vision to deliver new levels of design, materials, fit and finish, craftsmanship and performance. The Infiniti design team, led by Executive Design Director Alfonso Albaisa, has explored bolder, sensual sculpting and enhanced muscularity with the Q30 Concept as the brand’s design language continues to evolve.

The Q30 Concept signals the next step in an aggressive strategy to extend the Infiniti brand into new premium segments.