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First Look Review: 2015 Infiniti QX80 AWD on Everyman Driver

2015 Infiniti QX80 AWD

Infiniti’s flagship SUV, the 2015 QX80, is a 3-row, 7- or 8-passenger luxury hauler that competes with the Lexus LX, Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, Range Rover Sport, Cadillac Escalade and Lincoln Navigator. Like those rivals, the QX80 is big and brawny on the outside, plush and sophisticated within. Its handling and capability also have a split personality. It boasts smooth road manners given its size, while its big V8 engine enables this high-end SUV to tow heavy loads and venture off the beaten path.

Deeper beneath its skin, this Infiniti is available with innovative safety and technology features. The QX80’s $64,000 starting price definitely puts it in premium territory, yet it still undercuts some rivals in the full-size luxury-SUV segment.

After a name change last year (from QX56), the QX80 luxury SUV returns for 2015 with a face-lifted exterior and interior, innovative safety features that include Predictive Forward Collision Warning, and a new top-line trim: the QX80 Limited.

Unlike some competitors, only one engine choice is available in the QX80, but it’s a strong and capable one. Infiniti’s flagship SUV employs a 5.6-liter V8 that makes 400 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque. Both rear-wheel drive (RWD) and all-wheel drive (AWD) models have Hill Start Assist and Snow Mode to help you get moving when roads are slick. AWD models operate with a rear bias but constantly adjust power between the front and rear wheels as necessary. All models feature a 7-speed automatic transmission with a manual-shift mode and downshift rev-matching. Towing capacity is a stout 8,500 pounds. One compromise to such a big and powerful SUV is fuel efficiency, or lack thereof. The big Infiniti’s combined EPA rating is just 16 mpg.

5.6-liter V8
400 horsepower @ 5,800 rpm
413 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/20 mpg

Interior

The 2015 Infiniti QX80 luxury SUV offers seating for seven or eight across three rows. The former setup is especially impressive, with a pair of captain’s chairs in the second row separated by a thick leather-and-wood armrest and loads of legroom below. That leather/wood theme is prominent throughout the cabin. Up front, driver and passenger have plenty of room to spread out, and they also are separated by a thickly padded armrest/storage bin. On the other end of this long rig is a pair of small 3rd-row seats that have a power-operated folding feature. For additional space, the 2nd-row seats/bench also fold.

Exterior

Currently in its second generation, the QX80 no longer is based on the Nissan Armada, nor does it look merely like an upscale version thereof. The QX80 is now far more eye-catching, with numerous design aspects that range from a massive honeycomb grille to an angled-side rear-window treatment and those questionable portholes above the front wheels. Love it, like it or dismiss it, the QX80’s exterior is as big and brash as the engine under the hood. Indeed, at nearly 209 inches in length, the QX80 outstretches most rivals. The new Limited model stands out with tinted taillights and dark chrome accents.

Standard EquipmentStep into a “base” QX80 and you’ll still be showered with amenities and features. Highlights include leather seating, navigation system, power liftgate, tri-zone climate control, moonroof, heated front seats and steering wheel, and 1-year complimentary subscription to the Infiniti Connection telematics system with concierge service and vehicle information sent to your phone. Entertainment is provided by a 13-speaker Bose AM/FM/CD/DVD audio system with USB connection and Bluetooth streaming. Other notable features are the Around View bird’s-eye camera system, front and rear sonar parking sensors and power-operated tilt/telescoping steering column with entry and exit assist.

Optional EquipmentAfter choosing between standard rear-wheel drive and the optional all-wheel drive, you’ll have far more tempting ways to upgrade your new QX80 SUV. Most options are bundled in packages, starting with the Driver Assistance option that includes blind-spot monitoring, the slick backup-collision prevention system, intelligent cruise control, Forward Emergency Braking and Predictive Forward Collision Warning. The Theater Package offers rearview monitors and heated 2nd-row seats. The Deluxe Technology Package includes Hydraulic Body Motion Control, climate-controlled front seats, semi-aniline leather and Blind Spot Intervention. Top-line Limited models have all that plus leather interior coverings, 22-inch wheels and unique Ash wood trim.

The 2015 Infiniti QX80 has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting just over $64,000 for a RWD model. Adding AWD is roughly $3,000 more. The most desirable option packages increase the QX80’s price by several thousand dollars. In its top form, the loaded-to-the-gills Infiniti QX80 Limited nearly touches $83,000. At its entry price, the QX80 is in line with the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, Range Rover Sport and Lincoln Navigator and undercuts the starting prices of the Cadillac Escalade and Lexus LX 570. The Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price will show you what others in your area are paying for the 2015 Infiniti QX80. The QX80’s long-term resale value is expected to be similar to that of the Mercedes but trail that of the segment leader, the Lexus LX.

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