Perhaps the smallest naming change yet, but the QX80 remains Infiniti’s most audacious, Escalade-humbling machine, ever.
No hybrids here, just a standard 5.6-liter V8 that makes 400 horsepower, which is necessary for hauling around three tons of luxury, aided by a seven-speed automatic transmission.
Perhaps the least significant change in terms of identity in Infiniti’s major naming shuffle for 2014 is the QX80, nŽe the QX56. You’ll still never lose it in a parking lot thanks to a footprint that’s possible visible from low orbit. The eight-passenger tall wagon is a sleek, strong and sexy all-weather three-ton tourer. The taste police have no quibbles with the QX80′s design, especially an interior that features three rows of leather-covered seats (including a pair of pillowy front buckets) along with a smidgen of wood-like trim. There’s room for up to seven souls, or eight if you delete the two second-row chairs in favor of a split-folding bench. The one and only engine is the 400-horsepower 5.6-liter V8, a level of strength that’s useful when towing up to 8,500 pounds of Airstream trailer or Bayliner powerboat. The seven-speed automatic transmission comes with a fluid warmer that helps reduce fuel consumption during start-up. The optional all-wheel-drive system is a dual-range unit that can direct up to 50 percent of the torque to the front tires when the rears start to slip. Although the QX tips the scales at more than 5,500 pounds, that amount includes at least a ton — literally — of convenience and safety content. Suffice to say, you can opt to be fully monitored front to back and side to side with various electronics designed to protect you from a number of external threats or driver-initiated goof-ups. Adding to this impressive panoply of keep-safe items is a Blind Spot Intervention that prevents the QX from turning into a lane that’s currently occupied by another vehicle. Entering the QX’s inner sanctum with pink slip in hand will require a bit more than $62,000, or more if you attack the option sheet a bit too enthusiastically. However, a burbling V8, the smell and feel of perforated cowhide engulfing your posterior and the too-numerous bells and whistles could ultimately win you over to the QX80 way of living large.
Base price (incl. destination): $62,350
Type: Four-door sport-utility vehicle
Base engine (hp): 5.6-liter DOHC V8 (400)
Layout: Front-engine, rear- /four-wheel-drive
Transmission: Seven-speed automatic
MPG (city/hwy): 14/20 (RWD or FWD)
Safety: Front airbags; side-impact airbags; side-curtain airbags with rollover sensor; anti-lock brakes; traction control; stability control
Weight (lb.): 5,960