2015 Infiniti QX80 Limited

Infiniti: there’s no end to it. Since returning to Australia three years ago, Infiniti has planned to drop off a stream of new product, from sleek sedans to sporty coupes and crossover vehicles.

Recently, a special edition has been added to the company’s QX70 crossover range. The QX70 S Design is based on the V6-powered top-grade QX70 S Premium variants and adds a number of stylish touches inside and out.

Now, the QX80, which heralds the start of Infiniti’s next phase of new releases Down Under, is muscling in on the large luxury SUV market here. Based on the popular Nissan Patrol, the QX80 is a genuine eight-seater and takes 4×4 luxury and safety to new levels, all at competitive pricing.

Jean-Philippe Roux, managing director of Infiniti Cars Australia, says, “A number of buyers have asked us for a model at least one size up from the QX70 crossover. Adding the QX80 to our local catalogue in small volumes will meet this opportunity.”

As well as adding little touches of luxury over the Patrol Ti-L, such as 22-inch alloy wheels, heated steering wheel, Bose surround-sound system with 15 speakers and 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.

2015 Infiniti QX80

The QX80 is also covered by a four-year warranty, as opposed to the Patrol’s three-year protection, plus premium roadside assistance. With a starting price of $110,900, this puts the Infiniti in the lower regions of the upper large luxury SUV market against the likes of the Mercedes-Benz GL ($114,900), Lexus LX570 ($134,700) and the Range Rover ($179,800).

Infiniti QX80 is powered by a 5.6-litre V8 petrol engine pumping out 298 kW of power at 5800 rpm and a substantial 560 Nm of torque at a relatively high 4000 rpm.

Fuel consumption on the combined urban / highway cycle figure is a high 14.8 litres per hundred kilometres. A 100-litre fuel tank takes care of extending the time between visits to the pump.

The engine is matched with an electronically controlled seven-speed automatic transmission which senses how the vehicle is being driven and adapts accordingly. Manual gearshifts can be selected for a more inclusive driving experience.

An Infiniti All-Mode four-wheel-drive system with computer controlled transfer case offers Auto, 4-High and 4-Low settings, arguably making it a 4WD not simply a large SUV.

Steering is speed sensitive and four-wheel ventilated disc brakes with brake assist are equal to the task of pulling up a vehicle weighing close to three tonnes. A turning circle of 12.6 metres is not over the top for a wagon more than five metres long with all the 4×4 tackle hanging from the front and rear axles.

With weight distribution of 51 to 49 per cent front and rear, and Infiniti’s innovative Hydraulic Body Motion Control System helping to decrease vehicle lean when turning it’s no wonder the QX80 rides so well on uneven surfaces, including dirt, and a dusting of snow in the Highlands, features well supported in an extensive launch drive in Tasmania.

While active safety is a part of most modern vehicles, warning of impending accident doom, it is the ability of systems to intervene to minimise effects that sets the QX80 apart.

For example, Forward Emergency Braking and Predictive Forward Collision Warning senses relative speed and distance of a vehicle directly ahead, as well as the vehicle travelling in front of this preceding one.

If the driver does not adequately respond to the Predictive Forward Collision Warning and a crash is unavoidable, IBA will automatically engage the brakes to help reduce crash speed and thus impact.

Lane departure warning advise the driver if the vehicle begins to drift out of a lane without indicating. Infiniti QX80 goes beyond that, with its Lane Departure Prevention lightly applying appropriate braking to help ease the vehicle back into the travel lane.

As well as front and rear parking sensors, an 8.0-inch colour touch screen mounted on the central dashboard incorporates a 360 degree vehicle Around View Monitor with moving object detection, while also projecting Infiniti Navigation with Traffic Message Control.

An Infiniti Controller takes care of navigation, audio, climate control, fuel economy info, maintenance and various comfort and convenience systems.

Monitors are also integrated in front seat headrests for multimedia video playback to act, among other things, as kid quieteners on long journeys.

With ground clearance of 245 mm, the QX80 is a genuine off-roader and like the Patrol Ti-L features Nissan’s all-terrain system. 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.

Entry into the third row of seats is relatively easy. At the press of a button the middle seats tumble forward, leaving plenty of room to climb in.

With the back row in use there is limited cargo space but with the seat backs folded flat large items of luggage can be accommodated. A power tailgate adds to loading convenience, while a full-size spare wheel is easily accessible underfloor.

Infiniti first came to Australia in 1989 with the Q45 luxury sedan in direct competition with the Lexus LS400. The latter was the harbinger of the success of Toyota’s luxury arm, the Q45 failed to do likewise here for Nissan.

So why the new Infiniti interest Down Under? Jean-Philippe Roux says European sales are flat, and with the expansion of the Asian market, led by China, Australia, as part of that expansion, is considered a premium point for investment.

From early next year, three all-new models are scheduled to be released: the Q30 active compact, the QX30 active crossover, and the production version of the Q60 Concept 2+2 coupe, which made its world premiere at the Detroit Motor Show in January.

“Expanding the Infiniti vehicle range is a key part of our plan for sustainable growth in Australia,” Roux said. “These next four new models to join our range will see the Infiniti brand cover a much broader range of the local premium market. And we have even more new models planned.”


Infiniti QX80 SUV from $110,900
Note: This price does not include dealer or government charges. Contact your local Infiniti dealer for driveaway prices.

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.
Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *