When the Renault-Nissan Alliance announced its decision to establish Infiniti as a global player, it was a no brainer that in order to succeed in key markets like Europe, the luxury brand had to offer buyers the option of a diesel engine, especially on SUV/Crossover models where diesel represents the bulk of sector sales.
And true enough, Infiniti has now presented its first ever diesel engine with the arrival of a newly developed 3.0-litre V6 that will be launched this year in Europe on the EX and FX SUVs as well as the M sedan.
Designated V9X, the new 238HP V6 diesel has been developed in Europe by Infiniti engineers working with other engineers from Renault and Nissan and it can be used to power front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive models. It is manufactured in Cleon in France, some 100km west of Paris.
Renault premiered its version of the 3.0-liter V6 dCi turbo diesel in the Laguna Coupe at the 2008 Paris Motorshow, in October. On this model it produces 235HP and 450 Nm (332.9 lbs-ft) of torque.
There are a number of key differences between the Infiniti engine and the version used in front-wheel drive applications.
As used in Infiniti models, the V6 diesel has a different cylinder block, a new design of crankshaft as well as new or revised intake manifold, fuel injection system, exhaust gas recirculation, turbocharger, oil sump and manifold catalyst. Furthermore, Infiniti claims that it is tuned differently for more responsive performance.
In the EX30d and FX30d, the 3.0-liter V6 diesel produces a maximum output of 238 horsepower and a heft 550Nm or 405 lb-ft of peak torque available from 1,750 rpm to 2,500 rpm, while as much as 500 Nm or 368.7 lb-ft is available from a mere 1,500 rpm.
In order to fit under the the bonnet of both the EX and FX models, Infiniti went ahead and created a new front subframe, altered the front bumper designs to enhance air flow into the engine bay and redesigned the sheet metal within the engine bay to house additional radiators needed for cooling.
Matted to a standard 7-speed Automatic transmission, the V6 turbo diesel propels the EX30d to 100km/h (62mph) in 7.9 seconds and the FX30d in 8.3 seconds.
The EX30d returns a combined fuel figure of 8.4 lt/100km (28mpg US or 33.6mpg UK) in the European cycle with 224 g/km of CO2. The equivalent figures for FX are and 9.0 lt/100km (26.1mpg US or 31.8mpg) and 240 g/km.
"The new diesel engine allows us access to a far greater sector of the market without compromising on our core values. More than that, it's an exceptional engine, with impressive torque from very low revs helping to deliver progressive, linear acceleration with autoofcars2011.blogspot of the typical disadvantages of unwanted noise and vibrations," says Jim Wright, Vice President, Infiniti Europe.
"By creating a bespoke sporting diesel, we have been able to maintain the combination of performance and luxury expected from an Infiniti with the added bonus of lower emissions and improved fuel economy. It's a win-win position," Wright added.
Infiniti's European division will first launch the EX30d and FX30d onto the market with the M30d to follow later in the year. The diesel models will have their world premiere at the Geneva Salon in the beginning of March.
The Renault-Nissan Alliance has said in the past that it wants to offer its new V6 diesel engine on certain Nissan and Infiniti models in the States, but the company has yet to announce specific plans.