Infiniti pulled the wraps off the QX50 Concept at the Detroit Auto Show, showing us its vision for the replacement of the existing compact crossover. As far as concepts go, the QX50 doesn’t break too much ground — its styling is right in line with the rest of the manufacturer’s portfolio.
The grille is larger and more upright than Infiniti’s current designs, while the bodywork features a sharp crease that almost runs from nose to tail, accompanied by deep curves cut into the sides. Inside, the QX50 Concept is more notable with its minimalistic approach and unique dimpled leather textures.
Outside of appearances, the QX50 Concept’s mechanical and technological features are more significant. Infiniti touts the QX50 Concept as the next step toward autonomous transportation but one that still keeps driver engagement as a priority. Under the hood, an innovative variable compression 2.0-liter engine adjusts the piston stroke to deliver strong performance or improved fuel economy, depending on driver inputs. Infiniti is targeting a 27 percent increase in fuel efficiency over V6 engines with similar output.
Overall, Infiniti’s QX50 Concept isn’t as forward-looking as other interpretations of the future; rather, it’s a glimpse of what we can expect in the short term. The company says the variable compression engine is production-ready and the autonomous driving systems are progressing at a rapid pace.
That’s when we can really strike INFINITI, this blend of technology and humanity. As we develop these cars in clay and I’m watching the sculpting, especially the teams we have, the artistry, it’s just a process that I really love.
Alfonso Albaisa, INFINITI Executive Design Director