The 2.0-litre, four-cylinder VC-Turbo produces 268bhp and a maximum 380Nm of torque and will be the only engine offered in the QX50. Kiga says the unit reduces fuel consumption by around 25% compared to the firm’s similarly powerful V6 engine.
The QX50, and in particular the new engine, makes a good first impression on a test drive. We completed several laps of Nissan’s six-mile high-speed test oval in Arizona, and sampled it on slower endurance and handling sessions.
Despite having a CVT transmission fitted as standard, the all-wheel-drive car hands well on the throttle.
Impressively, you won't notice the variable compression switching, unless you’re looking at the small information display that displays the 8:1 and 14:1 status. When the combustion varies, the cylinder changes by up to six millimetres, which means a capacity of 1970-1997cc. The variable compression is achieved through a 0.15kw, 4000rpm electric motor that acts on the crankshaft.
The VC-Turbo technology will eventually be adapted for other engines, and while it will make its first appearance in an Infiniti, it will eventually be used in other Renault-Nissan Alliance brands.
The QX50 will be officially launched at the Los Angeles motor show later this month, and is due to go on sale in the USA in early 2018, following by a European launch next autumn. It will initially be assembled at Nissan’s Mexican plant, with the VC-Turbo engines built in Japan.