Infiniti VC-Turbo



The Paris Motor Show was a showcase for sexy cars and
exciting new concepts. But while all that was going on, Infiniti
revealed a breakthrough new engine technology.

It’s called the VC-Turbo, and it’s important.

The world is busy these days thinking about an electric-car
future, but the vast majority of the vehicles on the road are
powered by internal combustion engines and will be for decades.

And before you start thinking that IC engines are yesterday’s
dirty tech, don’t forget that automakers have been continuously
innovating them for a century. They no longer belch plumes of
black smoke, and in many cases, automakers have been able to
extract impressive MPGs from them. Ironically, with all the extra
weight that modern safety and technology features are adding to
vehicles, fuel-economy from efficient IC motors has gone down.

So car companies are working hard to claw back good gas mileage,
in large part because they’re up against more stringent
government fuel-economy and environmental regulations.

The new VC-Turbo is a great example on how much innovation is
underway. In a statement, Infiniti said the 2.0-liter,
four-cylinder power plant “promises to be one of the most
advanced internal-combustion engines ever created.”

The VC stands for “variable compression,” and it means that the
new motor can modulate its compression ratio to optimize its
performance. According to Infiniti, it combines the torque of a
diesel motor with a high-performance gas engine — minus the
emissions problems that small-displacement diesels confront.

The CVT of turbosInfiniti QX Sport Inspiration ConceptThe VC-Turbo could wind up in Infiniti’s newest

The VC-Turbo is to engines what a continuously variable
transmission is to shifting gears: It can locate the ideal
compression ratio for a given driving condition. Infiniti has
been working on the technology for 20 years and thinks it will
enable the automaker to offer better performance with a
four-cylinder motor, replacing six-cylinder power plants.

CVTs are somewhat controversial — auto enthusiasts don’t much
like them. But they do serve up superior gas mileage. The
VC-Turbo isn’t likely to incur similar complaints because it
could solve a problem with turbocharged engines: the “lag”
between hitting the accelerator and the power coming on. This
issue has long been seen as a compromise that just has to be
dealt with if you want turbo advantages. But automakers have been
getting better and solving the turbo problem.

The VC-Turbo will go under the hoods of Infiniti vehicles in