The current motoring climate demands both power and a daisy-cossetting respect for the environment. The only problem is that those two things seldom go hand in hand. We’ve seen a shift to small capacity engines with turbos. We’ve seen the more widespread use of variable valve timing. Catalytic converters are better. Fuel is being burned more efficiently. It’s all getting there, basically.
Infiniti, however, has upped the game. A lot. It thinks it’s done the impossible by build an engine that can alter the compression ratios as it functions. That’s a big deal, a very big deal. But only if it works. Though Infiniti assures us it will. We remain skeptical. There’s a lot to go wrong in our eyes!
The idea is that, as per the illustration, the multi-link that sits on the crank can move, changing the distance the upper link can move. Or the con-rod, in old money. This means that the displacement of the engine changes and the compression ratio can vary anywhere between 8:1 (for high performance) and 14:1 (for high efficiency). It’s very clever indeed.
This won’t be controlled via a dial on the dash. The engine management will do it, adjusting to the driving conditions and style. It’s a revolutionary advance in engine tech. There’s no denying that. However, much like the first rotary engines, this is a massive break from the norm.
If it works, it’s revolutionary. The modern motoring landscape has more money for R&D, so Infiniti can be confident. But as with anything, the proof is out in the field, in the real world. The potential applications are huge, and performance implications are exciting, too. But only when or indeed if, it works.
It’s a solid advance. There’s no denying that. More information will be available once the engine is unveiled at the Paris Motor Show later in September. We’ll have more info as soon s it’s available.