First Drive: 2015 Infiniti QX80 AWD Limited
After a long generation of eco-hippie extremists attempting to take down the large luxo-ute market, its SUV’s like this Infiniti QX80 that spits out hundred-dollar bills from its exhaust that make us happy to see they’re still around causing mayhem and disparity in this world.
However, it takes a fat stack to cause mayhem and at $90,000 this QX80 fits right in with those other money-hungry wallet eaters Cadillac Escalade, Lexus LX570, and the six-figure king Range Rover. But Houston, we have a problem. You see, the Escalade and Range Rover have been updated due to new demands on technology, design ecstatic’s, and ultimately self-prestige – the LX570 isn’t too far behind either with a new refresh coming for 2016. So let’s see if the Infiniti QX80 still has what it takes to earn its spot at the valet’s V.I.P. section or if it should be parked in the back with the other lower peasants of society.
2015 did bring out a lot of changes to the QX80 – first and foremost its name sack, rebadged from the QX56, the QX80 has been rebranded to fit in with Infiniti’s new crossover signature. Following the new badge adds that new freshened Infiniti aggressive face with design cues from the Infiniti Q50 incorporating new LED daytimes-, LED head- and LED fog lights with LED integrated turn signals. Bathed in a delicate Mocha Almond paint, it’s new look is a pleasing aspect of modern flair – until you get to the back where suddenly the designer died and forgot to finish.
Long before this update, the QX80’s design was, ummm, different… it attracted certain attention, not all positive, but hey, as they say in show biz, “bad publicity is good publicity.” Mind you, we could have gone either way, but this new design is killer, we like it. And with our top-of-line, decked out Limited featuring dark chrome 22-inch gangster-status wheels, we were suburbia royalty!
Besides just an updated face, part of the 2015 update brought in that aforementioned Limited badge, which comes standard with an All-Mode All-Wheel Drive platform and an options list as far as the eye can see with a price tag toping at $89,945. This package also includes Infiniti’s newest safety system with Blind Spot Warning, Distance Control Assist, Forward Emergency Braking, Lane Departure Warning, and Lane Departure Prevention – it’s a system that works fairly well overall with automatic braking and full stop capability, but only if you remember to engage it whenever you start the engine.
Hitting the 90-grand mark, there are certain luxuries you expect, besides the usual amount of cows that laid their lives to be such a quality interior. Our quilted stitched truffle brown semi-aniline leather for example is divinely sensational and covers just about every surface available. Our featured open pore matte Ash Wood finish is stunningly gorgeous and very well executed throughout the cabin. And of course, what’s luxury if every knob and trim isn’t doused in chrome.
The biggest problem to face the QX80 is the lack of the little things we expected – things like the poor quality navigation system and around-view camera, the 10-way power adjustable seats were limited in their controls (whereas we’ve seen 20-way adjustable seats), the power folding third-row takes a life-time and half to finish, and the overall feel for technology like the digital readouts in the instrument clusters is like having that old Nokia flip phone with the extended antenna. It’s these kinds things that put the QX80 far behind its class and not something you’d want when signing a check for ninety thousand dollars.
If you’re able to look beyond the lack of technology, the QX80 is all the luxury you’ll ever need with features such as a heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seats, heated second row seats, and first class, lounge styled second row captain chairs with rear seat entertainment embed in the headrests.
Naturally with something that weighs more than the moon at over 6000lbs, its honkering 5.6-liter V8 and seven-speed automatic is up for toting this fashion accessory anywhere desired. 400-horsepower will get you to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds but will also drink its required premium fuel like its liquid gold at an average of 12 miles to the gallon and will take you as far as 200 miles. At least taking nearly 60 yards to stop all 3-tons isn’t half bad by industry standards.
Even though we’re rolling on 22’s, the QX80’s plush ride never hesitates to provide the utmost smoothest ride possible thanks to its Hydraulic Body Motion Control System. Surprisingly, the QX80 carries it 3-ton weight quite well considering its sheer size but does lumber around like a umpa lumpa. The chassis though is quite good having a solid feel; however, not much can be said for the steering as it comes off vague and sluggish in its responsiveness… but again the QX80 is bigger than our house – surprised it doesn’t require a Commercial Driver License to operate.
Paying nearly six-figures for something is a tough check to write (at least in our eyes.) And when it comes to something falling behind the techno curve, there are better alternatives to be had. However, none of them will provide that plush luxo private-first class feel than the Infiniti QX80.
|Price (As Tested):|
|2015 Infiniti QX80 AWD Limited:||$88,850|