This is the Infiniti QX50 Concept, which will be unveiled at the Detroit Motor Show on 9 January 2017. It’s an updated version of the 2016 QX Sport Inspiration concept, which was shown at the Beijing Auto Show earlier this year, and in Infiniti’s own words it 'showcases the brand’s vision for a next-generation mid-size premium SUV’. Or in our words, once you’ve given it number plates, toned down a bit of the chrome brightwork, and fitted a more sensible set of wheels, what you’re looking at is the next QX50 SUV. Done.

But what’s more interesting than another thinly-veiled-concept-that-will-become-a-production-car-in-the-very-near-future is that under the bonnet of this concept is Infiniti’s VC-Turbo engine. It's claimed to be the world’s first production-ready variable compression ratio engine, and apparently combines the performance of a 2.0-litre turbo petrol with the torque and efficiency of a diesel. It works by adapting the compression ratio, raising or lowering the reach of the pistons, and can adjust from a ratio of 8:1 for performance up to 14:1 for maximum efficiency.

Infiniti’s aiming for 268bhp and 288lb ft, plus a 27% improvement over V6 petrol engines that produce similar levels of power. If it works, it'll offer the best of both worlds, with decent mpg but none of a diesel's dirt, plus the performance of a potent petrol engine – and then we'll see it rolled out across the Infiniti range, as well as into various Nissans, Renaults and Mitsubishis. If not, it's just an expensive and complicated version of a 2.0-litre turbo, and it'll join Infiniti's drive-by-wire Direct Adaptive Steering as a nice idea but one that just doesn't work.

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