When You Get Excited About Engines

09.23.16 - Infiniti Logo

If you love grease under your nails and the smell of fumes around the garage you might be a gearhead. If you happen to enjoy the turning f a wrench and understand what compression ratios mean in an engine you might be a gearhead. When you’re more likely to give your wife a small block V8 for her birthday than a necklace you might be a gearhead (and a soon to be divorced one unless your wife’s a gearhead as well).

All this may sound like a bad spin on the Jeff Foxworthy “you might be a redneck if” jokes, but it seems the team at Infiniti is truly full of gearheads, although they might prefer to be called automotive engineers. In recent news Infiniti is now ready to reveal their new engine which has been in the making for the past twenty years. Not only is that an amazing amount of time to develop the engine technology that will be revealed at the 2016 Paris Motor Show in October, but this new engine does something that we’re not used to seeing, giving us a new engine that could work for a variety of applications.

This new engine from Infiniti is called a variable compression ratio engine. Called the VC-T we still haven’t been given the specifics yet, those will be revealed in Paris next month, but this engine does just what the name implies, the compression ratio changes to give you an engine that offers either the performance you need or the fuel efficiency. This will make it an engine that can give you the compressions you want to accelerate quickly when entering traffic and then dial the compressions to the most efficient for the drive along any highway where you want the fuel mileage to be the best.

This little 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine has a compression range from 8:1 for the best performance to 14:1 for higher efficiency. It’s capable of doing this because the pistons are able to change their stroke height in a way that won’t jar the vehicle or cause any issues with other components of the vehicle. Right now we don’t know what vehicle will show up with this technology under the hood, but the expectation is the VC-T engine will be under a production model as early as 2018, making the Infiniti lineup even more attractive than it already is.

Will this be an engine technology that others will follow? That’s probably going to depend upon the numbers. If the engine makes a significant difference in the fuel mileage or horsepower that you have based upon the compression changes then it will easily become a technology that’s copied soon. In the meantime we get to look forward to the Paris Motor Show where we can have the specs of the engine and see just what it’s capable of. Until then think about the fun of building your own car and engine while working in the garage and come up with some more “you might be a gearhead if” jokes that will help me make it on stage at the local open mic night.

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