HONG KONG — Infiniti plans to begin offering car shoppers a new type of gasoline engine in 2018 that could rival turbocharged diesel engines in power and fuel economy.
Nissan's Infiniti brand will unveil the engine, called VC-T for Variable Compression-Turbocharged, in late September at the 2016 Paris Auto Show.
Infiniti describes the engine as "one of the most advanced internal-combustion engines ever created."
Nissan and its competitors have been working on such engine technology for decades, according to the SAE International, a global association of engineers and technology experts.
"The VC-T engine combines the power of a high-performance turbo gasoline engine with the torque and efficiency of an advanced turbodiesel — without the equivalent emissions," Infiniti said in a statement on Sunday.
Infiniti said it plans to be the first automotive brand to bring this technology to showrooms.
The 2.0-liter four-cylinder VC-T engine provides performance that's equivalent to a non-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 gasoline engine, but with much better fuel economy.
"The ingenuity of VC-T engine technology lies in its ability to transform itself and seamlessly raise or lower the height the pistons reach," the company said.
Sensors detect the car's driving condition and use the inputs to instantly select the most suitable compression ratio. The displacement of the engine changes and the compression ratio varies between 8:1 for high performance and 14:1 for high efficiency.
Compression ratio is the measure of how much the air-fuel mixture is reduced in the engine's cylinders before being ignited to produce power.
Infiniti spokesman Nick Twork told Edmunds that the automaker is not providing information at this point on which Infiniti vehicles will feature the new engine.
The new technology is calculated to make Infiniti more competitive against Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
Edmunds says: This new type of internal-combustion engine has been something of a Holy Grail for auto engineers and something that car shoppers who want the best of both worlds — performance and fuel economy — will appreciate.