Infiniti has announced a new engine technology that cuts CO2 emissions and boosts fuel economy on downsized petrol engines.
It is bound to appeal to company car drivers and private motorists alike, closing the emissions gap between petrol and diesel engines, making petrol power more appealing under current benefit-in-kind (BIK) and road tax (VED) rules.
The new feature, called variable compression ratio, lets the engine characteristics be tuned by varying the height the piston reaches in the combustion chamber.
The engine can therefore be set up for more power or cleaner emisisons on the fly, according to Infiniti.
How variable compression ratios cut CO2 and boost mpg
This gets a little bit technical, but bear with us. Most engines have a fixed compression ratio; this describes how much a piston compresses the fuel/air mixture in the cylinders.
So if a combustion chamber has a capacity of 1,000cc with the piston at the bottom of its travel, and 100cc when at the top, its compression ratio is expressed as 10:1.
Infiniti's new technology lets the engine vary the ratio from 8:1 to 14:1, so the engine can behave differently depending on the driver's needs.
The Japanese car maker claims its new VC-T feature (Variable Compression-Turbocharged) is the world's first application in series production, although numerous manufacturers have been developing the technology for decades, including Mercedes-Benz, Saab and Infiniti's parent company Nissan.
Great! When can I choose VC-T in my next company car?
The VC-T feature will be rolled out across the Infiniti car range, starting with the 2.0-litre petrol turbo engines in the forthcoming QX50 crossover from 2018.
We expect the technology to filter through to other engines in the Infiniti car range in due course.
More details will be announced at the 2016 Paris motor show. Click here to read more about this autumn's major car show on our sister website CAR.