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Nissan’s premium arm Infiniti has released initial details of its new variable compression-turbocharged (VC-T) petrol 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 2.0-litre powerplant “combines the power of a high-performance 2.0-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.

More than 20 years in development, Infiniti’s new four-cylinder turbocharged gasoline VC-T engine represents a major breakthrough in internal-combustion powertrain technology. VC-T technology signifies a new chapter in the story of the internal combustion engine – engines are no longer limited by a fixed compression ratio. The ingenuity of VC-T engine technology lies in its ability to transform itself and seamlessly raise or lower the height the pistons reach. As a consequence, the displacement of the engine changes and the compression ratio can vary anywhere between 8:1 (for high performance) and 14:1 (for high efficiency). The sophisticated engine control logic automatically applies the optimum ratio, depending on what the driving situation demands.

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 2.0-litre turbo gasoline (petrol) engine with a high level of efficiency at the same time,” he added.

Infiniti QX Sport Inspiration

Reports out of Europe say the new engine will debut in Infiniti’s next-generation QX50 SUV – the company’s BMW X3 rival not currently sold in Australia – which was previewed by the QX Sport Inspiration concept at the Beijing motor show earlier this year.

UK’s Auto Express adds the VC-T unit claims outputs of around 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.

While the new engine is currently Infiniti-branded, it’s likely the technology could soon spread into Nissan and Renault models as well, thanks to the Renault-Nissan Alliance. The alliance’s new partnership with Daimler could also see Mercedes-Benz models pick up the new technology.

The first VC-T-powered Infiniti model will be available from 2018 – likely to be the new QX50.

More details on the new VC-T engine will be presented by the company on September 9 in Paris, so stay tuned to CarAdvice for updates.

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