Upmarket Japanese marque Infiniti is bullocking its way into the large luxury SUV segment with the QX80, a giant among whopping wagons. It’s more than five metres long and weighs in at three-and-a-half tonnes.

With a starting price of $110,900, its sights are set on the Mercedes-Benz GL ($114,900), Lexus LX570 ($134,700), possibly even the Range Rover (starting at $179,800 and heading upwards past the quarter-million mark).

Touches of luxury include huge 22-inch alloy wheels, a heated steering wheel, Bose surround sound system with 15 speakers, inclu
ding two sub-woofers, 10-way power driver’s and eight-way passenger seats, adaptive front lighting and no-cost metallic paint.

The Infiniti QX80 features an impressive list of safety intervention technology including predictive forward emergency warning, forward emergency braking and back-up collision intervention.

There is nothing subtle about the big Infiniti wagon’s looks. The QX80 is straight from the Stonehenge school of styling, from front to back, with angular architecture as if carved out of stone.


Looking beyond the Flintstone fabric, there is an undeniable sense of power and strength. The prominent chrome grille is flanked by the latest in dusk-sensing bi-functional Xenon headlights with integrated washing system and front fog lights. The adaptive front lighting with auto-levelling headlights also has an automatic high beam function.

Other exterior features include LED taillights, heated, folding exterior mirrors with integrated turn signals, courtesy lights and reverse tilt-down feature, body colour integrated front and rear splashguards built into the wheel arches, roof rails, power sliding tinted glass sun roof and a power-operated rear tail gate.

Infiniti QX80 rides on good looking 22-inch x 8-inch, 14-spoke forged aluminium wheels with 275/50 R22 all-season tyres and features a full-size spare wheel.

Inside, it’s first-class all the way for up to eight occupants. Three rows of seats are arranged in a two-three-three format with third-row passengers able to take their seats via the electrically controlled second-row, 60:40 split-fold seats, which flip into position at the touch of a button. The second-row seats also recline for optimum comfort. The cargo area will take up to 470 litres with the third-row seats in position.


The climate-controlled and power-operated driver and front passenger seats offer heating and cooling and the outboard second-row seats are heated.

Convenience features include nine cup holders and four door-pocket bottle holders; triple-zone automatic temperature control; Infiniti intelligent key with push button ignition; electroluminescent gauges and Infiniti’s signature analogue clock.

Among the QX80’s premium entertainment and technology features are an eight-inch WVGA colour touch-screen display, Infiniti controller for use with vehicle information systems and comfort and convenience features, and Infiniti hard drive navigation. Bluetooth hands-free phone and audio streaming are also standard.

Standard is the 5.1 Bose Cabin Surround sound system featuring 15 speakers, including two sub-woofers, produces concert-standard sound. The system comprises a single-disc CD with MP3/WMA compatibility and the Infiniti Navigation System with traffic message channel.

A rear-seat entertainment system features two seven-inch colour monitors, two pairs of wireless headphones, remote control, auxiliary input jacks and power outlet.

The system allows playback of games or movies in the rear, while front occupants can listen to audio, at the same time. The two monitors include an auto-bright system that adjusts for daytime, clouds/evening and night/tunnel lighting.

The huge QX80 is powered by an equally huge 5.6-litre V8 petrol engine. It pumps out 298 kW of power at 5800 rpm and a substantial 560 Nm of torque at 4000 rpm.

The engine is matched with a seven-speed automatic that senses how the vehicle is being driven and adapts accordingly. Manual overrides can be selected for more inclusive driving.

The Infiniti All-Mode 4WD system with computer controlled transfer case offers Auto, 4-high and 4-low settings, making the high-end large SUV a genuine off-roader.

Steering is speed sensitive and four-wheel ventilated disc brakes with brake assist are equal to the task of pulling up a vehicle weighing in at close to three tonnes, while a turning circle of 12.6 metres is not over the top for a wagon more than five metres long with all of its 4×4 gear front and back.

The QX80 enjoys a plethora of safety features including distance control assist as part of the cruise control, this prompts the driver to ease off the throttle and applies the brakes in slowing traffic if it detects the distance between the vehicle and other traffic is closing too rapidly.

Also available are blind spot warning and intervention, lane departure warning and prevention and back-up collision intervention, which comes into operation when reversing.

Infiniti QX80 is replete with useful passenger aids not found in every large 4WD wagon, including upper luxury models – grab handles, for example, an oft forgotten basic feature make the big climb up into the cabin less arduous. The second row of seats tumbles forward to give easy access to the back row.

Surprisingly nimble and agile for such a big vehicle, parking in the average shopping centre slot requires more than a pinch of patience. However, help is at hand through the Around View Monitor, which displays a combination of different views of the vehicle, from above (a bird’s-eye view), front, rear and side, on the eight-inch colour touch screen.

In one tight spot due to the proximity of a neighbouring latecomer, the driver’s door would not open enough to let me in. I had to climb up through the front passenger door and across to the driver’s seat. Not ideal. Ewan Kennedy could not use the first two spots he spotted in Coolangatta’s tight airport parking as neither front door could be used. Fortunately, the third spot wasn’t hemmed in by others.

With such a big vehicle fuel economy is an oxymoron – a combined urban / highway cycle figure of 14.8 litres per hundred kilometres is the order of the day, we are told by the maker. However, a 100-litre fuel tank takes care of extending the time between visits to the pump.

The test vehicle slurped close to 20 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres in stop / start city traffic, while consuming half that on a highway run at 100 km/h with the motor humming at just 1500 rpm.

With ground clearance of 245 mm, the QX80 is a genuine off-roader. With a default on-road program, a wheel on the centre console enables the driver to dial up driving modes to suit tougher going – sand, rocks or snow, for example.

The big Infiniti QX80 gives the impression it could ‘climb every mountain, ford every stream’. It can’t. It may be big but there’s no room for a false sense of security.
The giant Japanese wagon is covered by a four-year warranty, plus premium roadside assistance.

In these days of space saving sedans, compact hatches and SUVs with parsimonious powerplants, Infiniti QX80 is anathema. However, for those of the ‘mine’s bigger than yours’ persuasion, the supersize wagon is for you.

Infiniti QX80 S Premium $110,900
Note: This price does not include dealer or government charges. Contact your local Infiniti dealer for drive-away price.

Active Head Restraints (front seats)
Airbags: Advanced Air Bag System (AABS) (six airbags in total: driver’s airbag, front passenger airbag, front side impact airbags (seat-mounted), curtain airbags from A- to D-Pillar (roof-mounted)); roll-over sensor
Anti-lock Brakes
Backup Collision Intervention
Blind Spot Warning
Blind Spot Intervention
Child safety rear door locks
Distance Control Assist
Electronic Brake force Distribution
Emergency Braking
Brake Assist
Cruise Control
Lane Departure Warning
Lane Departure Prevention
Predictive Forward Collision Warning, which monitors the relative speed of the vehicle ahead as well as the next vehicle ahead
Remote keyless entry system
Traction Control
Tyre Pressure Monitoring
Vehicle Dynamic Control
Zone Body construction with reinforced passenger compartment and front and rear crumple zones
5.1 Bose surround sound system with 15 speakers (including 2 subwoofers)
MP3 playback capability, Radio Data System and speed-sensitive volume control Bluetooth hands-free phone
Streaming audio via Bluetooth wireless technology
USB connection port for iPod interface and other compatible devices

(5.6-litre direct injection V8 petrol engine)
Capacity: 5552 cc
Configuration: DOHC 32-valve eight cylinders. Variable valve event and lift, and continuously variable valve timing
Maximum Power: 298 kW @ 5800 rpm
Maximum Torque: 560 Nm @ 4000 rpm
Drivetrain: Electronically controlled 7-speed automatic with Adaptive Shift Control. Driver-adaptive algorithm senses driving style and adjusts automatic shifting accordingly. Selectable manual gearshifts and Downshift Rev Matching. Infiniti All-Mode 4WD with computer-controlled transfer case

Length: 5305 mm
Width: 2266 mm
Height: 1945 mm
Wheelbase: 3075 mm
Track: 1720 mm (front); 1715 mm (rear)
Ground clearance: 245 mm
Overhang: 970 mm (front); 1260 mm (rear)
Approach angle: 24.3 deg
Departure angle: 25.4 deg
Ramp angle: 23.6 deg
Tare mass: 2837 kg
Gross vehicle weight: 3500 kg
Towing capacity: 3500 kg (braked) / 750 kg (unbraked)
Seating capacity: 8
Cargo capacity: 470 litres (with third row seat backs raised)
Fuel Tank Capacity: 100 litres
Turning circle: 12.6 m

Suspension: Independent, double-wishbone. Hydraulic Body Motion Control system helps decrease body lean for a more comfortable and controlled ride
Brakes: Ventilated discs. ABS anti-skid brake system with Brake Assist. Electronic Brake-force Distribution, Vehicle Dynamics Control. Traction Control
Steering: Speed sensitive power assisted rack and pinion
Wheels / tyres: Alloy 22in x 8in, 14-spoke forged aluminium alloy / 275/50R22 all-season tyres. Full-size spare

Acceleration 0 to 100 km/h: N/A
Top speed: N/A

Fuel type: 91 RON unleaded
Combined Cycle (ADR 81/01): 14.8 litres per 100 km

Four years / unlimited kilometres

About Derek Ogden

On graduating with an honours degree in applied science in London, Derek Ogden worked for the BBC in local radio and several British newspapers as a production journalist and writer. Derek moved to Australia in 1975 and worked as a sub-editor with The Courier Mail and Sunday Mail in Brisbane, moving to the Gold Coast Bulletin in 1980 where he continued as a production journalist. He was the paper's motoring editor for more than 20 years, taking the weekly section from a few pages at the back of the book to a full-colour liftout of up to 36 pages. He left the publication in 2009.
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