Modest modifications, great metamorphoses
"The big whale survives a few more years before the full revamp."
"Bold proportions and a commanding exterior design."
"QX80 features the latest incarnation of the brand’s ‘human-eye’ headlamps."
"QX80 is now closer to the brand’s actual identity," said Issam.
I still remember years back when I drove the QX56, people would tell me at first sight, "What an ugly SUV," although I was convinced that in terms of driving, comfort and even spaciousness, it was among the best in its class! This facelifted QX80, whose design dates back to 2010, needed a full revamp. But Infiniti decided to run a facelift on it. This was their decision and it seems it worked out fine for them. First shown at the Dubai Motor Show 2017 and previewed by the QX80 Monograph Concept, the facelifted QX80 swaps sheet metal and refines its luxury treats to better contend with rival full-size luxury SUVs.
Here we are in UAE in a place far away from the city of Gold, Dubai, to try the 2018 QX80.
What are the changes on the facelifted 2018 QX80?
The aging big whale receives a cosmetic makeover from the outside, the powertrain remains unchanged. It looks better from the inside than the outside. Even for an old design which dates back to 2010, Infiniti’s good leather quality and material envelops the seats while the door panels and steering wheel are decorated by beautiful stitches.
With its muscular lines and generous proportions, the new QX80 sees INFINITI’s ‘Powerful Elegance’ design language applied on a new scale. With a forward-looking new appearance, the new QX80 is the ultimate expression of a modern luxury SUV design.
At 5,340 mm (208.9 inches) in length, 1,925 mm (75.8 inches) tall with roof rails, and 2,030 mm (79.9 inches) wide, the new QX80 has a truly commanding on-road presence. Created by INFINITI’s design studio in Atsugi, Japan, the exterior of the new QX80 incorporates geometric and organic shapes to combine power with elegance. As the largest vehicle INFINITI makes, the new model expresses 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 the outgoing model have given way to more modern, angular and sculptural forms and a more upright, athletic stance. The impression given is one of greater height and length, despite the car’s footprint and 3,075 mm (121.1 inches) wheelbase remaining unchanged from the previous model.
The new QX80 appears longer, with more clearly defined character lines, and the ‘face’ appears more purposeful, with large, functional fender vents maximizing air delivery to the engine. A thin strip of aluminum beneath the grille emphasizes width, while the grille itself sits more upright. The leading edge of the hood extends 90 mm further forward and sits 20 mm higher, creating a more squared-off, vertical front section and a visibly longer, flatter hood when viewed in profile. The lower section of the bumper is raised, elevating the QX80’s visual center of gravity.
The headlamps wrap around the front corners of the hood and into the wings. As they taper, the lamps lead into a strong, straight shoulder line that runs from the grille all the way to the rear. Paired with upright air vents aft of the front wheel arches, and a 20 mm-wider aluminum sill step running between the axles, these geometric lines convey a muscular, almost architectural statement in profile.
Like the rest of the car, the rear exhibits simple, clearly defined details designed to raise the visual center of gravity. With sharper, thinner tail lamps, straight character lines for bodywork and light units, and a raised lower bumper section, the QX80 appears wider, taller and more athletic than its predecessor.
The QX80 boasts a new interpretation of INFINITI’s ‘double-arch’ grille and, with a larger area to work with; the company’s designers have made the grille taller and wider. Combined with the more upright front aspect, the effect is to make the car more visually striking.
The cabin of the new QX80 is one of the most luxurious, highest quality passenger compartments created by INFINITI to date. Finely tailored and crafted by hand, there is an enhanced human artistry throughout the interior. INFINITI’s designers have created a cabin with a more contemporary execution, both in terms of how it looks and how it feels to the touch. The high quality tailoring is matched by contrasting colors, new materials for seats and paneling, and more precise attention given to the details. The main issue was the outdated center console and infotainment that needed to be changed.
Safety and technology
The new QX80 offers a range of drive assist technologies-proactive safety innovations that support the driver in identifying and responding to other vehicles and potential hazards. Drawing on inputs from five cameras and three radars to read the road ahead and monitor the vehicle’s surroundings, the system allows the car to react accordingly.
The QX80 is newly available with a range of technologies to inform the driver of their surroundings, help them avoid potential hazards and ease the monotony of driving in certain conditions. These technologies include: Lane Departure Warning and Prevention, Intelligent Cruise Control, Distance Control Assist, Predictive Forward Collision Warning, Forward Emergency Braking, Blind Spot Warning and Intervention and Backup Collision Intervention.
The drive assist technologies can operate between 32 km/h to 145 km/h (certain right-hand drive markets operate up to 180 km/h), while Intelligent Cruise Control can operate down to just 1.7 km/h. INFINITI has long been a pioneer in changing public perception of active and protective safety technologies. The brand led the way with a range of world-first applications of proactive safety innovations, including Backup Collision Intervention, Lane Departure Warning and Prevention, and Predictive Forward Collision Warning.
QX80 also features the car’s new Smart Rear View Mirror. The new ‘digital’ mirror allows the driver to use the rear-view mirror as a standard mirror, or turn it into a monitor at the touch of a button. In the latter mode, it displays video from a camera mounted in the upper rear windshield.
Production of the QX80 is underway at INFINITI’s Kyushu production facility in Japan.
What’s my take on it? Well, it is the family SUV of seven to eight seats. Fuel consumption numbers are not the best in its class but if fuel is still cheap around our Middle East region it shouldn’t be a problem for the targeted customers. Other than that I can tell you frankly that the QX80 has the best price tag versus the competition so it is surely worth looking at-especially now with the facelifted model.
Rivals: Cadillac Escalade, Lincoln Navigator, Lexus LX570, GMC Yukon Denali, and Range Rover
Pros: V8 engine, renewed and fetching new design, ride quality, handling, price tag
Cons: Center console and infotainment system need to be changed, no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto
one word: makeover
5.6L DOHC V8, 400 hp @ 5,800 rpm, 560 Nm @ 4,000 rpm
7-speed automatic, 4WD/RWD
0-100 km/h: 7.5 secs, top speed: 210 km/h, fuel consumption: City: 17.4 L/100 km, Highway: 12.2 L/100 km
Weight: 2,608 – 2,721 kg