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Infiniti QX80: Mild Off-Roader, Bold V-8 Engine

By Arv Voss, May 19th, 2018

The new Infiniti QX80 displays a dramatic and dynamic presence, with styling cues that relate strongly to, and identify with, the rest of the Infiniti lineup's DNA.

Manufacturer photo: The QX80, with its bold design and agile performance, attracts on average the youngest buyers in the full-size SUV segment
Manufacturer photo: The QX80, with its bold design and agile performance, attracts on average the youngest buyers in the full-size SUV segment

The QX80 is not a dressed-up Nissan Armada; rather, it is a sophisticated and superbly luxurious full-size SUV. The QX is the way that Infiniti defines immersive luxury, with standards that provoke elevated emotional levels.

The 2018 QX80 brings to luxury SUV buyers state-of-the-art technologies and features, ensuring the ultimate in heightened levels of luxury travel. It's fully capable of transporting up to eight passengers and their gear in comfort.

The bold presence of the reworked QX80 starts at the front end with its new front fascia and prominent grille, flanked by low-positioned, swept-back headlamps and domed, wave-like hood.

Decorative side vents appear between the hood line and fender arch, just ahead of the front door's leading edge. The driver's side vent is functional, providing engine air intake. Other functional design elements include the front and rear spoilers that enable zero lift and improved handling stability, and the specially shaped exterior mirrors that reduce wind noise. The built-in running boards and low roof rails, along with the standard 20-inch wheels that substantially fill the wheel wells, all add to the athleticism of the QX80.

Manufacturer photo: The QX80, with its bold design and agile performance, attracts on average the youngest buyers in the full-size SUV segment

The inspired performance of the Infiniti QX80 is available courtesy of a 5.6-liter, 32-valve V-8 engine that is shared with the Infiniti M series, but tuned specifically for the QX80. The engine produces 400 horsepower, along with 413 lb.-ft. of torque. Fuel economy in city driving yields 14 mpg, while highway travel registers an estimated 20 mpg.

The engine couples to a seven-speed automatic transmission with driver Adaptive Shift Control, a manual shift mode, and Downshift Rev matching. The 4WD system is Infiniti's All-Mode 4WD, which in its automatic mode is rear-drive biased and continually adjusts power between front and rear wheels, delivering up to 100 percent in the rear and a maximum of 50 percent motive force up front. For additional control, 4 High locks the center differential at 50:50 and is operational up to 60 mph, while 4 Low locks the center diff in low range.

Drivers can customize the 4WD system via a dial in the center console, according to Infiniti. The high-range setting allows for moderate off-road driving and snow; the low-range function empowers drivers to tackle more demanding off-road conditions, with steeper inclines and declines, when more traction is needed.

Hill Start Assist prevents roll back on an incline for up to 2.5 seconds, Snow Mode modulates the throttle for smooth starts under slippery conditions, and Tow Mode automatically tailors gear changes to maximize engine torque when towing. The available Hydraulic Body Motion Control System further reduces body lean during turning or cornering, as well as helping to minimize vehicle bouncing on rough road surfaces.

The 2018 INFINITI QX80 2WD model is expected to account for 40 percent of QX sales with the remaining 60 percent being the 4WD version. My test 2018 INFINITI QX80 was a 4WD model with a base sticker set at $67,850.

Manufacturer photo: The QX80, with its bold design and agile performance, attracts on average the youngest buyers in the full-size SUV segment

The QX80 showcases a distinctively elegant look, especially for a vehicle of its mass. The lines are fluid and flow smoothly. Yes, it's big and it serves a definitive purpose to transport as many as eight occupants from point "A" to point "B" in sumptuous luxury and security.

The interior is not unlike that of an executive jet. While the acceleration isn't as rapid as a personal jet, it certainly more than answers the call, with sedan-like handling and stability. The QX80 stays flat under spirited maneuvering conditions on challenging roadways.

The Premium Bose Sound System fills the cabin with superlative audio quality for those who are not appreciative of the pleasurable mechanical sounds served up by the vehicle itself. It allows the driver to customize settings, linking them to the Intelligent Key.

strong>Bottom line: Even for those who are not enamored with full-size SUVs, the QX80 makes a sound case for the existence of such a vehicle, particularly for those who wish to travel in a heightened state of luxurious surroundings.

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