Infiniti just took the wraps off another new nameplate in its family – the QX55, a five-seater sport-utility vehicle with a sleek coupe-like profile. It’ll play in a competitive, growing segment that’s smoking hot these days.
Design is key to the all-new QX55′s success. It’s bold, beautiful and stylish, yet practical.
“An automobile is not purely a functional purchase; itʼs emotional,” says Alfonso Albaisa, senior vice-president for global design at Nissan. “And in the premium sector, customers want something very special,” Albaisa says.
But is the QX55 special enough to take on its German competitors? Judging by its looks, it has a fighting chance. One could argue it is the best-looking SUV in the Infiniti lineup to date. On the outside, the QX55 is elegant and attractive, with flowing lines that stretch from its long hood, across its deeply sculpted body sides to its squat rear end. The front grille is big and bold, yet delicate with an origami-inspired mesh pattern that, according to the designer, plays homage to Infiniti’s Japanese roots.
Look closely and the front fascia resembles a human face; the LED headlights the sparkling eyes. Likewise, the rear tail lights share a dramatic, intense design. Dubbed “digital piano key” tail lights by the vehicle’s designers, each tail light has 45 separate LEDs to create a look that’s unlike anything else on the road. The Infiniti name and logo span the centre of the tailgate. The logo seamlessly hides the power liftgate-release mechanism. But if you prefer, there’s an option to kick under the rear bumper to activate the motion-sensor liftgate.
At 1,902 millimetres wide, the QX55 is roughly the same width as its QX50 sibling, but the QX55 is slightly longer and lower in height. Given its sloping roofline, itʼs not surprising thereʼs less cargo space in the QX55: 761 litres versus the QX50′s 880 litres of cargo room.
The QX55′s cabin is a cut above the competition. It’s decadent and daring – a welcoming environment intended to showcase the designersʼ artistry and attention to detail, according to Albaisa. “The expectations of our customers are increasing. … People want the car to feel fresh, dynamic and personal. In the interior, they are demanding that because they live in that space,” he adds.
The space is inviting and looks stunning when coupled with bright colours such as Monaco Red set against Dark Graphite in the launch vehicle. Not only adorning the leather upholstery, a bold red accent line runs along the centre console and dashboard to distinguish the driver’s seat from the passenger’s.
“It’s not just about the colour,” Albaisa says. “It’s the feeling of the hand of the artist in the interior cockpit. It’s something that customers are embracing and loving,” he adds.
The vibrant shades play a vital part in the overall design, not only on the inside, but on the outside, too. Eight exterior colours are available, including two standout shades called Dynamic Sunstone Red and Hermosa Blue. That’s in addition to the traditional – some might say boring – black, white and grey templates.
Targeted to a younger market, the QX55 is well-equipped with technology, including two high-resolution touch screens (an eight-inch upper and seven-inch lower), wireless Apple CarPlay compatibility, four USB ports for Android Auto compatibility and charging, over-the-air software updates, a roaming WiFi hotspot that can support up to seven devices, a head-up display that projects vital driver information directly onto the windshield and an advanced ProPilot Assist driver-assistance system, which helps steer, brake, accelerate or centre the vehicle in its lane to reduce driver stress and fatigue.
Powering the QX55 is the same variable-compression turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine found in the QX50. It produces 268 horsepower and 280 lb.-ft. of torque and is mated to a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) and all-wheel drive. Sure, those numbers aren’t too impressive, but that’s not concerning to Albaisa.
“Infiniti’s differentiation is the sense of the artistry and the sculpture and expression of power and drive. Even if we are not always the most powerful in the segment, this impression of the desire to drive – this is more natural. It’s part of our daily bread,” he says.
With luck, that will be enough to make a mark and generate sales in the growing, competitive and lucrative SUV-coupe segment.
The 2022 Infiniti QX55 will come in three trims: Luxe, Essential ProAssist, and Sensory. It’ll arrive in dealerships next spring. Prices aren’t available yet.
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