Commentary

Test Drive: Infiniti QX80 Offers Superb Tech, Luxury

Editor's Note: This story ran in a previous edition

Infiniti is targeting “power couples” with its luxurious and dramatically restyled QX80 three-row SUV. 

The Nissan luxury brand is imagining a client demographic with both partners as key decision makers. They are married with children and put family first. But they appreciate bold, enduring designs and seek technology that integrates with their lives. They consider their vehicle an extension of hospitality to family and friends. 

That couple is the centerpiece of the “Just Right” campaign from the brand that broke recently. 

I drove the QX80 recently as part of a media event. The automaker said it aims to provide a “commanding, rewarding driving experience” with the vehicle. All models feature a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged engine, rated for 450 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque, an increase of 50 horsepower and 103 lb-ft versus the outgoing QX80, which make it feel more than adequately powered during freeway merging and when passing. 

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Despite its large size and heavy weight, the SUV handles well and almost feels like a sports car in the way it hugs curves. Unlike some full-size SUVs, it doesn’t feel top-heavy.

Available Electronic Air Suspension provides varying vehicle heights for different scenarios, including lowering when parked for easier loading of cargo and people. And Dynamic Digital Suspension constantly reads the road and adjusts damping force to deliver smoother and more in-control lane changes, and enhanced ride quality.

There is a lot of technology, but it is intuitive to use. 

I love using cameras to aid in parking, especially when backing into a space, so I was happy with the multitude of options.

The innovative Invisible Hood View is unique and could prove useful if you inadvertently drive over something and want to see where it is under the vehicle. The photo above shows a skateboard in front of the vehicle. When I drove over it, I was able to stop and use the camera to see exactly where it was so I could steer away from it, even though it was out of my actual range of vision. 

The camera views enhance visibility for maneuvering in parking lots, tight city streets or in a drive-through lane.  The available Ultra Wide View mode extends those camera views over the vehicle’s dual 14.3-inch displays for even greater visibility.

One huge point of difference is the Klipsch audio systems, headlined by a 24-speaker Klipsch Reference Premiere audio system on Sensory and Autograph trim packages. 

The speakers deliver outstanding clarity to all three rows. One distinct feature is individual audio, which allows for focusing only certain audio elements  like navigation directions, music or phone calls to the driver’s seat.

It is highlighted in one of the campaign commercials, and I can attest that it works like a charm. No one in the rest of the vehicle can hear your phone call, and the person on the other end of the phone can't hear the music or other noise from inside your vehicle. 

Other luxury touches in the interior also include available semi-aniline leather upholstery, open-pore ash wood trim featuring laser-cut metal inlays, an available 64-color ambient lighting and available first- and second-row massaging seats.

Between the audio system and the massaging seats, owners aren't going to want to leave the car when they get to their destination. I certainly didn't. 

Second-row passengers benefit from available biometric cooling. An infrared sensor, integrated into the vehicle’s headliner, detects when a passenger is hot and near-instantly adjusts the temperature and air flow to send cool air to the second row. It’ll take the edge off an overheated loved one, without those in the front row needing to lift a finger. An available cool box in the center console helps keep drinks and treats cold even in the hottest weather. 

The 2025 Infiniti QX80 goes on sale at Infiniti retailers nationwide at the end of July with a starting MSRP of $82,450 for RWD, $85,550 for 4WD.

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