Infiniti QX56 is big, bold – and beautiful
Last year, Infiniti redesigned their flagship SUV, the QX56 – and it couldn’t have come at a better time. The previous model was looking dated and the fact that it didn’t stand too far apart from its corporate cousin, the Nissan Armada, was always an issue.
No longer based on the Armada’s platform, the QX56 now rides on its own unique platform that improves handling, performance and overall refinement. As you’ll soon learn, the QX56 is a much improved vehicle.
The QX56 is one big handsome machine. It’s tall and narrow with swells around the fenders and a slight upkick at the rear. The front end appears tall and the fender vents – well, you either love ‘em or hate ‘em. At least they are functional by allowing cooler air into the engine bay.
Inside that bay sits a 5.6 liter V8 engine. Now before you go on muttering, “oh, that same V8 that Nissan has been using in the Titan and Armada,” hold your breath. This V8 is new and boasts 400 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque versus 320 horsepower and 394 lb-ft of torque for the old one. Even better, it is more fuel efficient, managing to get 14 mpg in town and 20 mpg on the highway out achieving the old motor’s 12 mpg in town and 27 mpg highway rating. A seven-speed transmission is the only transmission offered and the QX56 continues to be rear-wheel driven with four-wheel drive (with low-range gearing) available as an option.
If the looks and motor don’t win you over, the inside of the QX56 surely will. The seven (or eight) passenger interior is downright plush with high-quality materials and a mind-boggling array of technology available. Bright gauges along with a huge 8-inch dash mounted touchscreen and controls that are thoughtfully laid-out makes everything very user-friendly.
If you are into gadgets and electronics, you’ll want to try out the QX56, especially one well equipped like my tester. Into movies? There is the Theater package that adds a rear seat dual-screen video entertainment system, heated rear seats and a 120-volt power outlet. Techno-geeks will like the Technology Package which includes adaptive cruise control, adaptive headlight and a lane departure warning and prevention system. The Deluxe Touring Package adds massive 22” wheels, heated and ventilated front seats, special wood trim, a sophisticated Hydraulic Body Motion Control system and a 15-speaker Bose audio system. It’s nice to know that standard on all QX56s is leather interior, voice activated navigation system, 3-zone climate control, power folding third-row seat and a 360-degree camera.
Driving the big Infiniti, the first thing I noticed was the great gobs of low-end torque the V8 puts out. This made launching from a stoplight, or passing as cruising speeds extremely easy – and the QX sounded good doing it with its throaty exhaust note.
The ride and handling is also worth noting. The benefits of the long wheelbase come to play by absorbing – and squashing – bumps like bugs. The Q56 handles like a big truck, because it is, but it does an admirable job at coping with its size and weight, thanks in part to the Hydraulic Body Motion Control system and the 22” wheels which combined give the driver a good sense of confidence behind the wheel.
And just living with the QX56 is amazing. It looks flashy and elegant, and the interior makes you feel the same. And I must add – the sound system in nothing short of amazing. While Bose has been known to make great sounding audio systems, the one in the QX56 is by far over-the-top.
The Infiniti Q56 is big, and not just in its physical size. It’s big on luxury as well as power. Unfortunately it is also big on price as well – those packages I mentioned, add up. My 4×4 tester had them all and brought the $61,800 price tag up to a whopping $75,340. That puts the QX right in line with the Cadillac Escalade, Lexus LX570 and Range Rover.
–– Christopher A. Randazzo
By The Numbers:
2012 Infiniti QX56 4WD
Base Price: $61,800.00
Price as Tested: $75,340.00
Layout: front-engine / four-wheel drive
Engine: 5.6 liter V8
Transmission: 7-speed automatic
Horsepower: 400 hp
EPA Fuel Economy: 14 city / 20 highway mpg
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