You can thank the little green and pink lines on the cutaway for making the whole idea a little more clear. Click through the gallery to see two lines – one green and one pink – that represent the different strokes allowing for different compression ratios. Remember, the compression ratio is the amount of volume in the cylinder on intake compared to the amount at the end of the compression stroke. Leave more room at the end and you lower that ratio. The length of the stroke doesn't change with this system, but where it sits along the cylinder does. Hence those two lines.
The variable compression ratio allows this new turbocharged engine to maximize fuel economy when the turbo isn't needed by raising the compression ratio. It will see its first use in the next Infiniti QX50 crossover, previewed by the QX Sport Inspiration concept that's also on display in Paris, and has performance targets of 268 horsepower and 288 pound-feet of torque. After, it will migrate to other Infiniti and Nissan vehicles, with transverse front-drive-based applications first in line. Eventually, it's likely to completely replace Nissan's corporate 3.5-liter V6.
We'll be poking around the engine a little more in Paris today to try and get some more info. For now, enjoy those cutaway images and those friendly little lines.