TWO DECADES IN THE MAKING FOR INFINITI’S GROUND-BREAKER
Nissan’s premium arm Infiniti has released initial details of its new variable compression-turbocharged (VC-T) engine, ahead of the unit’s public debut at the Paris motor show on September 29.
Touted as the world’s first production-ready variable compression ratio engine, the Infiniti VC-T is not limited by a fixed compression ratio, allowing it to raise or lower the height that the pistons reach.
In a statement that appears to take aim at the ongoing Dieselgate saga and the questions it has raised over the future of diesel engines, the company says the new 2-litre powerplant “combines the power of a high-performance 2-litre turbo gasoline [petrol] engine with the torque and advanced efficiency of an advanced turbo-diesel – without the equivalent emissions”.
An engine’s compression ratio refers to the ratio of maximum to minimum volume in the cylinders of an internal combustion engine.
Infiniti’s new engine has been two decades in the making and is able to vary its compression ratio anywhere in between 8:1 for high performance and 14:1 for high efficiency.
The technology is able to determine the optimum ratio depending on what the driving conditions demand.
Benefits of the variable compression engine technology include “significantly reduced” fuel consumption and emissions, reduced noise and vibration levels (NVH), along with being lighter and more compact than comparable conventional engines.
Roland Krueger, president of Infiniti, said: “VC-T technology is a step change for Infiniti. It is a revolutionary next step in optimising the efficiency of the internal combustion engine. This technological breakthrough delivers the power of a high-performance 2-litre turbo gasoline [petrol] engine with a high level of efficiency at the same time.”
Reports out of Europe say the new engine will debut in Infiniti’s next-generation QX50 SUV – the company’s BMW X3 rival – which was previewed by the QX Sport Inspiration concept at the Beijing motor show this year.
The UK’s Auto Express adds the VC-T unit claims outputs of about 200kW/390Nm, and is expected to replace the company’s ageing 3.5-litre naturally-aspirated V6 engine – which features across numerous models in the Infiniti and Nissan line-ups.
The new engine is currently Infiniti-branded but the technology could soon spread into Nissan and Renault models as well, thanks to the Renault-Nissan Alliance.