Infiniti QX50 Concept Preview

INFINITI QX50 Concept front.jpg Infiniti QX50 Concept | Manufacturer image


Looks like: A production version of Infiniti’s QX Sport Inspiration concept at the Beijing Auto Show last spring.

Defining characteristics: Infiniti’s grille and crescent C-pillars

Ridiculous features: Slit-like “human-eye” headlights, no physical door handles

Chance of being mass-produced: A solid bet for 2018 to freshen Infiniti’s SUV lineup

Infiniti will unveil a QX50 Concept SUV at the 2017 North American International Auto Show in Detroit that is likely a preview of a fresh, more competitive entry for Nissan’s premium brand in the hot mid-size SUV market.

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Renderings of the QX50 Concept reveal a more production-ready evolution of its QX Sport Inspiration concept unveiled at the 2016 Beijing Auto Show last spring. Infiniti calls the QX50 Concept a “vision” for a next-generation mid-size SUV; the QX50 designation now indicates the model it would replace in a freshened Infiniti SUV lineup.

The current QX50 two-row SUV was renamed for 2014 but already was becoming dated by then. Formerly badged the EX, it dates to 2007 as a 2008 model. Infiniti’s current SUVs also include the new compact QX30, the three-row QX60, the QX70 (formerly the FX and even older than the EX) and the full-size QX80.

The QX50 Concept retains the QX Sport Inspiration’s taut lines and muscular big-wheel look, while only slightly taming the dramatic side sculpting. It also retains the big, pinched Infiniti grille and the Sport Inspiration’s slit-like “human-eye” LED headlights for an aggressive front end, while adding more sculpting to the rear end with its blade taillights. The roofline tapers to Infiniti’s now-signature “crescent” C-pillar. We’ll have to wait for the unveiling to see what changes have been made to the futuristic show-car interior of the QX Sport Inspiration; Infiniti said only that the QX50 will have a ”driver-centric, passenger-minded” premium cabin.

INFINITI QX50 Concept side.jpg Infiniti QX50 Concept | Manufacturer image

Infiniti said the concept also will preview Nissan’s ProPilot suite of existing and near-future autonomous driver-aid technologies that it says can act as a “co-pilot,” taking over some routine tasks for the driver, such as dealing with stop-and-go traffic.

Along with the QX50 Concept, Infiniti will display in Detroit its new variable-compression, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. The production-ready engine changes the piston travel to vary the compression ratio as needed from 8-to-1 for performance to 14-to-1 for highest efficiency. Infiniti says the 268-horsepower VC-Turbo engine will achieve 27 percent greater efficiency than a V-6 with similar power output.

The automaker did not promise that the new engine will show up in a future QX50 production model, but described it as “perfectly suited” to the “packaging” shown in the concept.

INFINITI QX50 Concept back.jpg Infiniti QX50 Concept | Manufacturer image


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