A fortnight ago I was in a fairly sorry place. I was staring down my last week of university and what seemed like an unscalable wall of essays. Late nights, poor diet, and Hail Mary google searches would make up the bulk of my week. Fortunately, my mind was elsewhere, with dreams of trading in my 2011 Mazda 2 and the backstreets of Brisbane for the luxury of the 2019 Infiniti QX50 and the gorgeous greenery of back-country Taiwan. Excited would be an understatement.
Like Taiwan itself, Infiniti has experienced a range of changes in recent decades and the culmination of this progress is the 2019 Infiniti QX50. Though the car has many points of discussion, the manufacturer wants us to highlight one phrase:
‘Evolve at will.’
This evolution came in the form of the VC-turbo engine, an industry first. The 2019 Infiniti QX50 is in a competitive market of mid-size SUV (such as Audi Q5 and BMW X3) so standing out is essential. If Infiniti wanted to garner some attention with their latest addition, they’ve certainly done it with the VC-turbo.
VC stands for ‘variable compression’ and enables the compression ratio to move between a powerful 8:1 and a more fuel-efficient 14:1. Whether the driver is overtaking stragglers on the highway or cruising city streets, the 2019 Infiniti QX50 can evolve in accordance with the driver’s behaviour. The South of Taiwan, namely the beaches of Kenting in Pingtung county, would serve as the perfect canvas to put this innovative new feature to the test.
Stepping out of the hotel lobby on a fresh Taiwanese morning, I was greeted by the QX50 that would be assigned to me in the coming days. The colour was a light, space-grey which was accented perfectly with subtle blacks. The body is unmistakably Infiniti, prioritising sleek lines and tight angles. What I would later learn is that the suspension platform was built with world-exclusive 980 Mpa tensile strength steel. Not only was the outside gorgeous, but she also provided top-tier safety, ride comfort, noise reduction, and handling. It was time to see if the 2019 Infiniti QX50 was just as beautiful on the inside as it was on the outside.
The first thing I noticed when I took the driver’s seat was space. Heaps of it. Leg-room is far from an issue and elbow-rests are neatly established above the middle-console. Even for a lumbering oaf like myself, I had plenty of headspace and areas to spread myself. I couldn’t shake the feeling that this seat was made just for me. It was NASA’s ‘zero-gravity’ seats that gave me this feeling, as well as the welcoming leather cushioning. As for the rest of the car, a series of mahoganies and micro-fibre suede reminded I was indeed sitting in a premium-level SUV.
Although I was pretty chuffed with the space I was given, this didn’t impinge on any passenger comfort. The 2019 Infiniti QX50 is driver-centric but passenger-minded. Back seats recline and have a movement capacity of six inches, meaning that everyone could enjoy the ride. I fit like a glove and felt as if I could drive into the sunset for a very long time. So, that’s exactly what I began to do.
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I took to the slightly confusing roads of Pingtung county and made my way through the steady motorways that connected the various townships. I hadn’t had an opportunity to brush up on the geography of the south of Taiwan so employed the use of the easy to use GPS system that covers the large upper screen. Once my route was set, my soundtrack was next. My iPhone connected easily via USB or Bluetooth, and sounded great coming out of the Bose speakers. The dash display wasn’t overwhelming and displayed only what it needed.
As I steadily manoeuvred the tight streets I’m not ashamed to admit that collision warnings and a clear reverse camera came in handy many times. Once we were on the highway, lane departure warnings alerted me of the constant stream of scooter enthusiasts whizzing by. In a world where more isn’t always better, Infiniti really nailed it with their display systems.
When I was going fast, I didn’t know I was going fast. No heavy vibration, no uncomfortable kick, and no reluctant groan from the engine. Now, depending on your driving preference, this can either be good or bad. But with the orange-tinted backdrop of the Kenting beaches, I was happy to sacrifice a brutish mechanical driving experience for the calming smoothness of the QX50. This smoothness can be attributed to the balanced control of the suspension platform but what we care about most – as well as what is most revolutionary about the 2019 Infiniti QX50 – is the engine.
I already briefly touched on the variable compression engine that Infinity hopes will change the motoring world for the better. The self-adjusting nature of this engine allowed me to cruise behind fleets of scooters in busy streets while saving fuel, but also gave the appropriate nudge on minimally-policed motorways. What this results in is a competitive ability to generate power as well as industry-leading fuel efficiency. Expect to juice about 9 litres for every 100km – not bad for an SUV.
Another point of interest I couldn’t shake was how the QX50 drove like a V6. It certainly didn’t feel like a 2 litre, 4-cylinder engine. I later learned that this was due to the car’s incredible power output to torque ratio of 200kW/max 390 Nm. The result of this heavy investment in torque is a considerable reduction in noise and vibration. This partnered with the QX50’s light but sturdy body means a smooth and calming drive every time.
The 2019 Infiniti QX50 is hoping to start a revolution through evolution. Their ground-breaking variable compression engine enables the vehicle to literally evolve at will – from an eco-friendly cruise to a powerful charge. But no matter the compression ratio, the QX50 is constantly smooth, sturdy, and robust in its driving. As I drove through the thin back-country roads of Taiwan, I understood why Infiniti believed this is the most important car they’ve ever launched.
Although no Australian prices have been revealed, American releases suggest we can pay about $50,000AUD for the 2019 Infiniti QX50’s base model come the new year.