Infiniti has overhauled the QX50 to offer more advanced technologies, premium features and better fuel economy courtesy of a new engine design. The 2019 Infiniti QX50 slots between the entry-level QX30 and the 3-row QX60. The model also becomes the first production vehicle to use a variable-compression-ratio engine which has been under development for around 20 years and subject of about 200 patents. The engine will be offered to other Infiniti as well as Nissan vehicles in future. Infiniti has taken a long time to hook up the QX50 which was previously known as the EX35 with a second-generation model unlike other brands in the segment. Sales of the outgoing model had plummeted significantly in recent years despite the growth in the crossover market segment. The new model is therefore as an early “Christmas gift” for the Infiniti QX50 enthusiasts.
2019 Infiniti QX50 Exterior and Interior
Infiniti engineers switched to a transverse front-engine, front-drive architecture from the previous front-engine, rear-drive architecture that critics said made the crossover look like a hatch. The new platform is 4.2 inches taller and 3.9 inches wider; despite this increase in size, engineers managed to reduce the model’s coefficient of drag by 6%. The model’s wheelbase is 110.2 inches long (3.2 inches shorter than the outgoing model). Despite the shorter wheelbase, the additional height and width and the shift to a transverse front-drive platform have helped make the rear seats more comfortable and also offer more cargo space. Behind the rear seats, there is 31.1 cubic feet of storage room. Space expands to 37 cubic feet when the rear seats slide in front (a unique feature for the model) and 60 cubic feet when they are folded flat.
The cabin is very pretty, perhaps the best ever to come from Infiniti. The excellent finishing makes it look as if every detail was handcrafted. The leather is used unsparingly; the dash is wrapped in leather while the seats feature quilted leather upholstery. Surfaces not wrapped in leather feature open-pore maple wooden trim.
The automaker retains the dual-screen display design that features an 8.0-inch touch-screen on the upper part for the vehicle’s navigation system and other information related to driving while the lower, 7.0-inch touch-screen is used for infotainment functions and climate controls. That is not all; there is also a head-up display and another screen on the gauge cluster that displays details about the variable-compression engine.
The interior is quiet courtesy of an upper engine mount that cancels out unwanted engine noise from the cabin. The crossover is also equipped with a Bose sound system that features sound-enhancement and noise-canceling functions to ensure the VC-Turbo engine makes an excellent impression.
The torsional rigidity of the QX50 body structure has been enhanced by 23% which has boosted handling and ride comfort. The model also has a new suspension design that offers a better ground clearance. The crossover also features Active Trace Control and Active Brake Limited Slip. Infiniti offers a suite of advanced active driving assist technologies dubbed “ProPilot Assist”. The suite includes driving aids such as blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control and forward collision warning among other common driving aids. Buyers can also add the automaker’s direct adaptive steering system to improve the driving experience.
Engine and performance
The 2019 Infiniti QX50 is powered by a sole 2.0 L, turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. The engine has however been tuned to vary its compression ratio, a first for any production vehicle power-plant. Varying compression refers to the ability of an engine to adjust amount of air-fuel mixture it compresses within its cylinders. This functionality enables the engine to maximize fuel economy by running a high compression when carrying light loads; it can also plummet the compression to prevent “knocking” (fuel pre-detonation) when more power is required and/or in case of an increase of the turbo boost pressure.
The variable compression enables the engine to produce more power as well as be more frugal compared to a standard engine. The mill produces 268 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. Infiniti rates the engine’s fuel economy at 27 mpg on combined drives for front-wheel-drive models and 26 mpg for AWD models which place it almost at the top of the segment. In terms of acceleration, the AWD QX50 takes 6.3 seconds to hit 60 mph and 6.7 seconds for FWD models which is right in the same range with other models in the segment.
Price and release date
When it hits showrooms at a date yet to be announced but within the first half of 2018, the QX50 will surely be a compelling choice for enthusiasts. Pricing details are also yet to be announced but considering it has been upgraded almost at all fronts compared to the outgoing QX50, it will definitely be more expensive.