Riaz Naqvi | Staff Writer
In a worldwide premiere, Infiniti has revealed the new QX80 for the first time at the 2017 Dubai International Motor Show. Further advancing the Japanese brand’s presence in the full-size luxury SUV segment, the 2018 QX80 takes Infiniti’s “Powerful Elegance” design language in a bold new direction, creating a powerful, contemporary and commanding aesthetic.
The new QX80 stands apart with a refined and spacious cabin that features high-quality perforated leather, a handcrafted finish and advanced drive-assist technologies – all combining to promote a sense of inclusive, modern luxury and set new standards for upscale sophistication.
With a taut but comfort-oriented suspension and ample performance from its 5.6-litre V8 engine, the new SUV gives drivers an assured feeling of control and confidence at the wheel.
Production of the new QX80 is underway at Infiniti's Kyushu production facility in Japan, and it will go on sale in select markets across the Middle East, North America, Asia and Western Europe next month.
“The new Infiniti QX80 has been designed and engineered to allow customers to travel everywhere in luxury,” says Christian Meunier, Vice-President of Infiniti Global Division. “Our flagship SUV features a high-quality, hand-crafted interior, creating a driver-centric, passenger-minded space for inclusive, modern luxury travel.
“The fact that we held the global reveal in Dubai reinforces the strategic importance of the Middle East for Infiniti.”
Designed to stand out
With a refreshed exterior that accentuates the vehicle’s angles – as opposed to 2017’s more rounded look – Infiniti has redesigned the QX80 for a more contemporary audience. The SUV’s iconic double-arch grille has had a makeover, with an aluminium strip just underneath emphasising the QX80’s width.
The headlights wrap around the front corners of the hood and into vehicle’s fenders, leading into a strong, straight shoulder line from the grille to the rear. Paired with upright air vents aft of the front wheel arches, these geometric lines are a muscular statement.
“The 2018 QX80 combines its commanding new presence with powerful muscularity and enhanced horizontal movement," explains Alfonso Albaisa, Senior Vice President, Global Design. "Our designers raised the visual height of our iconic double-arch grille and signature headlamps, striking an unrivalled on-road premium tonality.”
Looking to the rear, clearly defined details designed to raise the visual centre of gravity. With sharper, thinner tail lamps, straight character lines for bodywork and light units, as well as a raised lower bumper section, the 2018 QX80 appears wider, taller and more athletic than its predecessor.
The QX80’s “human-eye” headlamps employ triple light guide technology for maximum lighting and visibility from multiple angles. Like a telescope with multiple lenses, a series of reflective channels disperse light evenly throughout the long signature LED eyebrow, and are placed high on the front of the vehicle to accentuate its elevated stance. At the rear the slim, sharp combination tail lamps echo the headlamp shape, also employing LED technology.
Pleasures of the interior
There’s nothing better than being able to shut out the noise and heat of the outside as you step into a cabin of comfort. The QX80’s interior has been built to absorb and block out high-frequency noise from the road. The flagship SUV’s articulation index score – a measure of speech audibility between vehicle occupants – has been improved by 5 per cent, so you can look forward to clearer conversations.
On that note, the QX80 can comfortably fit eight adults in its vast cabin. Second-row passengers can enjoy 41 and 40 inches of leg and headroom respectively. Even with the third row of seats open, 16.6 cubic feet of room is enough to store two full-sized suitcases stood upright. Fold the seats and the storage space triples to allow four large suitcases, four golf bags, or a baby stroller stored lengthways – without disrupting the driver’s rear view.
The cabin is finished in a range of rich, new materials, with seats, door panels and armrests wrapped in perforated and quilted leather. Depending on specs, the backs of each seat are also skinned in quilted leather, harmonising the effect throughout the cabin, with the upholstery sewn together with contrast double-stitching. Infiniti’s interior designers have reportedly turned to haute couture for inspiration, using leather piping to create sharper, more angular edges to seats and headrests.
For parents worried about shielding their car from the rigours of family life, the new QX80’s upholstery features a new hydrophilic soil-resistant coating on the seats, door trim, centre console, instrument panel and rear armrest. It protects surfaces from denim dye transfer, staining and spills. More importantly, the micro-coating means surfaces can be easily wiped clean with a damp cloth.
Whether for safety, convenience or comfort, the new QX80 is brimming with technological innovation. Its exterior houses three radars and five cameras to keep eyes on the surroundings. These sensors enable safety features such as Lane Departure Warning and Prevent, Intelligent Cruise Control, Distance Control Assist, Predictive Forward Collision Warning, Forward Emergency Braking, Blind Spot Warning and Intervention, and Backup Collision Intervention.
In the cabin, a remote-controlled infotainment system gives second-row passengers better connectivity than previously, with supported input from the new HDMI auxiliary port, in addition to a media USB port. The system can draw upon a wide variety of sources, including portable Blu-ray and DVD players, game consoles, smartphones, tablets, USB sticks and video cameras. Both screens are controlled via remote control. Two further USB ports have added to the rear of the cabin to charge mobile devices. The high-res screens can also display individual content, putting an end to sibling squabbles over what to watch on long road trips. If younger passengers are getting out of hand, their guardian can mute or disable the screens from the front seat.
At the front, Infiniti’s InTouch infotainment system has been updated, allowing drivers to personalise driving characteristics and the cabin environment. Adjusted via the eight-inch touchscreen, the intuitive system is controlled with multi-touch smartphone controls and voice control, as well as physical buttons under the screen and on the steering wheel.
The revised layout of dashboard buttons, and customisability of apps and icons on the touchscreen, make the new QX80’s InTouch system easier to use than ever before. Map coverage of countries across the Middle East has been expanded, while the system also features voice recognition and vocal navigation in Arabic.
Paired with the 2018 QX80's smart key, InTouch memorises more than 200 settings for two drivers in 31 languages, including customised settings for navigation, seat positions, audio, safety systems, climate control presents and configuration of the infotainment system. The car automatically adjusts when it detects each smart key.
With a bold exterior, cutting-edge technology and beautifully finished cabin sitting atop a powerful engine, SUV buyers won’t find a more well-rounded vehicle in this category than the new Infiniti QX80.