Infiniti's new 2.0-litre petrol engine promises significant economy gains for future models, and could make its way into the Q30 hatchback and QX30 crossover in time
14 August 2016

Infiniti will become the world’s first car maker to sell an engine with a variable compression ratio when its new VC-T unit goes on sale in 2018. 

The all-new 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol unit promises “diesel economy and V6 power and smoothness”. It will, in effect, replace a 3.5-litre V6 in future Infiniti transverse-engined models. 

It’s expected to make its debut in the upcoming GX80, a global mid-sized seven-seat crossover. In time, the engine could also be fitted to the compact Q30 and QX30 models. The engine will be shown in public at the Paris motor show in October.

Infiniti engineers say the production turbocharged unit develops around 270bhp and 288lb ft of torque while being around 27% more economical than an equivalent conventional petrol engine. That makes it roughly as frugal as a typical 2.0-litre diesel unit. 

 

Infiniti engineers told Autocar the new engine’s NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) characteristics are similar to a petrol V6’s. Autocar understands the VC-T is also cheaper to build than a typical Euro 6-compatible diesel unit.

Our Verdict

Infiniti Q30

Infiniti looks to a premium hatch to make its breakthrough in Europe, but faces stiff competition from established brands like the BMW 1 series and Audi A3

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

The VC-T has two parallel fuel injection systems, one direct and one into the intake manifold, and can switch between the standard combustion and fuel-saving Atkinson combustion cycles.

The VC-T’s compression ratio is altered seamlessly from 8:1 (ideal for high performance) to 14:1 (for high efficiency) by a mechanical actuator arm that is connected to the piston’s conrods through a slot in the side of the engine block. 

The conrods are made in two halves and joined together by a lever-type link. The actuator arm - which is operated by an electric motor mounted on the outside of the engine block - pushes these links, changing the effective length of the conrods. Longer gives a higher compression ratio and shorter a lower one.

Infiniti engineers also said the VC-T engine, which has been under development since 1998, could be hybridised for an estimated further 10% improvement in economy.

Join the debate

Comments
10

14 August 2016
This is an incredible feat of engineering. But alas it is Infiniti and alas a British media outlet. The US magazines are detailing excellent coverage of this potential game changing technology from Infiniti. If only JLR or VW had done it.....Autocar would be frothing at the mouth! This is huge in engineering terms.

14 August 2016
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxR-3Un6WkU

14 August 2016
people think all they used to do was rebadge vauxhalls!!

14 August 2016
So it's cheaper to build than a 2.0 diesel and cheaper to run? Then why are they not putting them in the Nissan range and destroying the competition in their mass market models? Unfortunately I've seen too many of these revolutionary engine announcements that end up marginally better than the previous models and on par with the competition. Ingeniun was billed as revolutionary and the 1.0 ford engine with a big turbo was meant to change the game. I can't see this changing much.

15 August 2016
ridnufc wrote:

... Unfortunately I've seen too many of these revolutionary engine announcements that end up marginally better than the previous models and on par with the competition. Ingeniun was billed as revolutionary and the 1.0 ford engine with a big turbo was meant to change the game. I can't see this changing much.

Yea cause no one followed suit and build a 3 cylinder turbo small lightweight engine like the Ford one.

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

15 August 2016
Exactly.

14 August 2016
Power and torque figures are nothing to write home about in a day and age when AMG is getting 100bhp more from their 2L unit. However the efficiency figures are very impressive on paper. A good reason to look forward to Paris.

15 August 2016
Nice to see such a big change to ICE tech. 27% will make it as economic as a 180 hp diesel but without adblue, pdf, smoke, noise and vibration. They won't have to undercut the price of a equivalent diesel car on the floor court as this will be the preferred engine now that's economy being the same

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

15 August 2016
Would like to see it achieve all the claims. If it allows them to move away from diesels without losing economy and performance then the deserve to succeed.
I was curious who would and how they would get this tech to work. Seems a simpler option to the one Saab were working on.

"Why is http://www.nanoflowcell.com not getting more media attention? It could be the future... Now!"

15 August 2016
Perfect timing if Infiniti can produce a cost effective petrol engine with the true economy of a diesel, without all the drawbacks associated with diesel. I am sure Mercedes will be keen to draw closer their relationship with Infiniti if it means they can get access to this engine / technology?

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Our Verdict

Infiniti Q30

Infiniti looks to a premium hatch to make its breakthrough in Europe, but faces stiff competition from established brands like the BMW 1 series and Audi A3

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week