Nissan’s know how has led to a milestone vehicle: the 2019 INFINITI QX50. But not so much the vehicle itself as what power’s it, the first production Variable Compression engine.

The 268-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo is joined with a CVT. And here’s how it works. The variable compression turbo is on the left… a conventional engine is on the right. A control shaft at the bottom moves a multi-link, which raises or lowers the piston’s top-dead-center by about a quarter of an inch in each of the 4-cylinders. Altering the compression ratio adjusts power and efficiency.

This mid-size luxury crossover debuted as the Infiniti EX concept in 2007. During production it became the EX35… and eventually the QX50 in 2014.

Beyond the engine, the biggest QX50 change is trading a rear-drive layout for a front-wheel drive crossover architecture with optional all-wheel drive.

Despite this, the QX50 remains very nimble, with steering that is lighter but still quite direct, even through the challenging curves of the Santa Monica Mountains. 

The 2019 INFINITI QX50 is at dealers now starting under $37,000.


  • Engine: 2.0 liter
  • Horsepower: 268
  • Price: Starting under $37,000