2018 Infiniti QX80: Three-ton luxury SUV continues its evolution

By Mike Blake Carlisle Events
Thursday, March 1, 2018

An upgrade from the QX56, the 2018 Infiniti QX80 evolves Infiniti’s presence in the luxury SUV segment.

Built by Nissan’s luxury division (Infiniti), QX began as the QX4 mid-size SUV in 1996, when it was based on the unibody Nissan Pathfinder. QX56 started in 2004 with its sister, the Nissan Armada, and Gen-3, which first came out in model-year 2011, upped the luxury ante. Carrying the name QX56 through last year, the naming convention had followed the trend of using a numeric version of engine size, with “56” standing for its 5.6-liter engine. But this year, the car was renamed QX80 as part of Infiniti's model name rebranding. The new name carries no meaning beyond suggesting that the vehicle is larger than smaller models such as the QX60.

QX80’s evolution involves what Infiniti says is “a modern interpretation of upscale luxury.” Strengthening the manufacturer’s position in the global full-size SUV segment, QX80 is built in Kyushu, Japan, and sold internationally.

For 2018, Infiniti redesigned the QX80’s sheetmetal from the A-pillar forward, featuring a taller, more prominent and more upright grille with a new LED headlamp and foglamp design. Sheemetal of the liftgate has been redesigned, as well as the taillamps and rear bumper finisher. Loaded in virtually every category, key features include a Class IV tow hitch, a 400-hp 5.6-liter V-8 engine mated to a 7-speed automatic transmission, leather-appointed seating, Infiniti Intelligent Key with Push Button Ignition, Bose® 13-speaker Premium Audio, Streaming Audio via Bluetooth®, USB port for iPod® and compatible devices, Tri-Zone Automatic Temperature Control System, a moonroof, Infiniti InTouch™ Navigation, Infiniti InTouch™ Services Safety, security and convenience features with complimentary 4-year Select package trial, Around View® Monitor with Moving Object Detection and front and rear Sonar Systems.

The three-row, five-door, seven- or eight-seater is a full-size SUV with an all-steel unitary construction bodyshell. With its muscular lines and generous proportions, the 2018 QX80 sees Infiniti’s “Powerful Elegance” design language applied on a new scale. And with a forward-looking new appearance, the new QX80 expresses modern luxury SUV design.

QX80 measures 208.9 inches long, 75.8 inches high and 79.9 inches wide, with a ground clearance of 9.2 inches, and with AWD and the Deluxe Technology package, QX80 has a curbweight of 6094 lbs. Created by Infiniti’s design studio in Atsugi, Japan, the QX80 exterior incorporates geometric and organic shapes to combine power with elegance. As the largest vehicle Infiniti makes, the new model conveys solidity and power from all angles yet eschews the more aggressive styling espoused by rival SUVs. Despite its scale, the design communicates a clear sense of elegance and human artistry.

The smooth, rounded curves of last year’s model have given way to more modern, angular and sculptural forms along with a more upright, athletic stance. The impression is one of greater height and length, despite the car’s footprint and 121.1-inch wheelbase remaining unchanged from the previous model.

QX80 gets its power from a naturally aspirated 5.6-liter V-8 that delivers 400hp and 413 lb.-ft. of torque. EPA rated at 14mpg in the city and 20mpg on the highway with 22-inch tires, QX80 is not an econocar, and in mixed-use driving, my test ride averaged 15.5mpg.

The engine performs well, and even at three tons, the system propelled my test QX80 to a 6.8-second zero-to-60mph sprint and a stable and confident 15.3-second quarter-mile. The fully independent front suspension with subframe-mounted MacPherson struts, coil springs and gas-filled amplitude sensitive shock absorbers and anti-roll stabilizer bar works with the fully independent rear with subframe-mounted double wishbones, coil springs and gas-filled amplitude sensitive shock absorbers, with anti-roll stabilizer bar for an elegantly smooth ride. And the rack-mounted electric power steering is attentive, responsive and helps establish adequate body control and good maneuverability.

The 2018 QX80 has a refined and spacious cabin that features high-quality materials, a hand-crafted finish and advanced drive-assist technologies. Inside, the roomy three-row sports-ute provides 39.9 inches of front head room, with 40.0 inches in row two and 36.8 in row three. Legroom is 39.6 up front, 41.0 in the middle and a child-worthy 28.8 inches in the rear seats. Shoulder room measures 63.8 inches in row one, 63.5 in row two and 60.5 inches in the third row.

The 2018 Infiniti QX80 starts at $64,750 for the 2WD version and $67,850 for AWD. My Smokey Quartz QX80 in AWD added the Driver Assistance Package for $2900 –Backup Collision Intervention, Blind Spot Intervention, Blind Spot Warning, Intelligent Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning, Distance Control Assist and Forward Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection. The Theatre Package added $2450 for dual 8-inch color monitors for multimedia video playback, wireless remote control, heated second row seats and remote tip-up second row seats. We also had 22-inch tires in a tire and wheel package that added $2800; the Split-Seat Package that added an eighth seat for $250; Infiniti 4G WiFi for $450; and the Deluxe Technology Package for $5700 that was loaded with Hydraulic Body Motion Control, climate-controlled front seats, adaptive front lighting with auto-leveling headlights and Bose® Cabin Surround® sound system with 15 speakers.

Destination and handling charges of $995 put the sticker-as-tested at $83,395.

> Visit www.CarlisleEvents.com for more on the automotive hobby.

Mike Blake, former editor of KIT CAR magazine, joined Carlisle Events as senior automotive journalist in 2004. He's been a "car guy" since the 1960s and has been writing professionally for about 30 years.

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