Petrol power is under pressure in the face of increasingly strict emissions laws and ever-more-capable battery technology that threaten to render conventional engines obsolete in the not-too-distant future.
But Infiniti says it has an answer to that in its new variable compression engine that will make its production debut under the bonnet of the new QX50 SUV this year. The turbocharged engine is capable of squeezing just about every last joule of energy from a squirt of petrol in fuel-saving mode, or to reduce its compression ratio to allow large amounts of turbo boost and, by extension, extra power.
While the car in front of you is officially a concept for the Detroit motor show, the model is understood to be a close representation of the finished article.
Infiniti president Roland Krueger says the new car will offer world-first engine technology alongside next-level autonomous driving features to rival the best brands on the road.
"With this car it's the next step of autonomous drive functions, with not only steer-by-wire but shift-by-wire for stop-and-go traffic," Krueger says.
"We don't want to take the driver out of the equation.
"Driving is fun – we should have a passion for it. The technology we are offering is enabling. It's a way of having the driver stress-free and more relaxed, but we don't take the driver out of the conversation."
Kruger says engineers are also considering a high-performance version of the car, one that could rival Porsche's Macan compact SUV. On sale in the US this year, the model could make it to Australia in the near future.
While he stopped short of confirming its local appearance, Infiniti Australia spokesman Peter Fadeyev says the car would be a great fit for Australia.
"The QX50 Concept is our vision for a next-generation mid-sized premium crossover," he says.
"Even though the vehicle that has been unveiled in Detroit is conceptual we are excited by the possibility of such a model for our range.
"Globally, this vehicle segment is the fastest growing and vehicles of this type are popular in Australia and we would be thrilled to have the opportunity to compete using such a great-looking vehicle."