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by Matt Campbell

The Infiniti QX Sport Inspiration concept could point the way to the most important model in the brand’s history.

It isn’t new – the brand showed it off way back in April this year – but it reappeared at the 2016 Paris motor show in matte black, and it presages a new model due in 2018 to compete in the highly competitive luxury mid-size SUV segment against the Land Rover Discovery Sport, BMW X3, Audi Q5 and Mercedes-Benz GLC.

It is 4.60 metres long, 1.90m wide, 1.65m tall and has a 2.80m wheelbase, making it smaller than the existing QX50 SUV (an ageing model that was never built in right-hand drive). And while it is a show car and some elements are expected to change before the production version rolls off the line, there is no denying that its short overhangs, massive wheels and svelte body make it stand out.

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Roland Krueger, president of Infiniti Motor Company, confirmed the new production SUV would launch internationally in 2018.

“It’s another very important step – every car is important, and this is another very important step forward. It’s the fastest growing segment, the crossover SUV, so yes it is going to be definitely something to look forward to,” he told CarAdvice at the 2016 Paris motor show.

The production model is set to bring a new drivetrain to the Infiniti line-up, a variable compression turbocharged (VC-T) unit that is capable of raising or lowering the height that the pistons reach, changing the displacement of the engine – the compression ratio can vary between 8:1 for performance driving to 14:1 for economical driving.

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Krueger described the new engine as “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 engine with a high level of efficiency at the same time.

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“We’re combining the best of both worlds, we’re going to be putting it in the SUV and more vehicles to come, and it’s definitely something that is special to us and the positioning of the brand,” he said. “We’re the first to have this engine, and we will have a very interesting position with it.”

It is not expected that the VC-T engine will be the only offering. The brand has introduced new 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged six-cylinder engines to the Q60 and Q50, so expect the production QX50 to do the same.

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