Muscular Infiniti QX50 concept is one of the best looking Detroit debuts

The concept showcases a more aggressive evolution of the Infiniti's SUV design with a front fascia that draws cues from the automaker's sports coupe.

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Infiniti debuts its muscular QX50 concept at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show today. The premium midsize SUV is both a follow-up to the QX Sport concept and a thinly veiled preview of a production QX50 model that's just around the bend.

The current production QX50 -- the crossover formerly known as the EX -- was never a bad-looking vehicle, but this new model preview's more muscular and upright stance that makes the old one look a bit deflated by comparison. If the new model sticks close to the current footprint, that more upright greenhouse could mean much more real-world head and shoulder room and certainly a boost in cargo capacity. I'm still not a fan of the automaker's Q/QX naming convention, but I love almost everything about its most recent concept and production designs.

Speaking of sports sedans, I think I see a bit of the Q50 Eau Rouge concept's design in the QX60's front fascia. The concept showcases a much more aggressive evolution of the automaker's SUV design with deep air intakes flanking Infiniti's unique grille.

Compared to the QX Sport concept, the QX50 is taller and wider, with proportions more suitable for a production car competing in the midsize SUV class.

Beneath the hood of the concept is the new (and, according to Infiniti, production-ready) VC-Turbo variable compression ratio engine which sends its power to the road through an all-wheel drive system. Powertrain specifics don't get more detailed than that for the concept, but the automaker did state that the engine influenced the design. The VC-Turbo's compact design allows for a very short hood and a "cabin-forward" silhouette, contributing to the QX50's more upright silhouette.

Infiniti QX50 concept
Infiniti

The premium interior features high-quality upholstery with sporty seat designs up front and on the second row. Leather and wood give the dashboard a luxury look and surround what appears to be a redesign (and hopefully simplification) of the automaker's infotainment. Infiniti calls the cockpit "driver-centric, yet passenger-minded," which is basically just marketing-speak but the design behind those terms looks attractive and well thought-out.

The "concept" veneer on this new model is a thin one. The SUV looks very close to production ready from here. Infiniti could slap some door handles on, swap in working headlights and have a production-ready QX50 SUV based on this design within the next year. I'm personally hoping the Forged Bronze paint, with three times the amount of metal flake compared with standard production paint finishes, makes an appearance on the options list.

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