Infiniti has become the world’s first car manufacturer to mass-produce a variable compression ratio engine, thus offering customers improved fuel efficiency without sacrificing power.

Involving some 20 years of research and development work, this engine technology was a long time in the making; however, Infiniti believes its new technology will pay dividends in the long run.

By varying the maximal stroke of the piston during the compression stroke, Infiniti has managed to vary the compression ratio of its new engine from 8:1 to 14:1.

This ratio signifies how much atmospheric air is compressed inside the engine’s cylinders–for instance, at a compression ratio of 8.1:1, a volume of 8.1 litres of air will be compressed into the space of one litre for the combustion stroke.

A lower compression ratio is required for turbo boost to be dialled in, but when drivers are light on the throttle, a low-compression ratio limits the engine’s efficiency, compromising fuel economy.

By altering the compression ratio, Infiniti can now offer low compression ratios while spooling up maximum turbo boost for maximum performance without sacrificing efficiency during the majority of driving.

Dubbed “VC-T Technology” by Infiniti (for “Variable Compression-Turbocharged”) the new technology will likely be studied closely by competitors keen to improve fuel economy figures without resorting to expensive and complex hybrid or electric drives.

“VC-T technology is a step change for Infiniti,” said Roland Krueger, president of Infiniti Motor Company. “It is a revolutionary next-step in optimizing the efficiency of the internal combustion engine.”