by Tony West and Daryl Payne
Infiniti’s redesigned QX80 is unlike any other full-size lux SUV on the market. The 2015 model boasts a chic new look, muscle bound big-body frame, and a plush sanctuary fit for a king. The Limited model adds 22 inch wheels, blacked-out chrome accents, and powerful new performance and safety features. The Limited QX80 is poised to be one of the most luxurious SUVs Infiniti has ever produced, and fall close behind the Porsche Cayenne and edge out the Lexus LX.
The whip backs up every penny of its $88k MSRP and allows for optional add-ons that transform the SUV into a stealth-mobile. We reviewed the 2015 Infiniti QX80 Limited on a sunny Fall day in Chicago and Olympia Fields, IL. The 2015 QX80 Limited exceeded expectations with its powerful road prowess and agile handling.
Refined Design Commands Attention
The base model 2015 Infiniti QX80 got a major facelift and now has a bigger grille with chrome trim. The whip’s fascia has been reimagined to evoke the Q50. Now, the grill is more pronounced with an added lower area.
The new front fascia also features a new bumper and LED high/low beam headlights, LED turn signals and LED fog lights. Three new colors have been also been added: Hermosa Blue, Graphite Shadow, and Majestic White.
Two new wheel designs are offered, standard machine-finished 20 inch aluminum-alloy wheels and 14-spoke 22 inch forged aluminum-alloy wheels. Chrome plated outside rear mirror caps have been added to the QX80 Deluxe Technology Package.
The top-of-the line QX80 Limited AWD model offers 3 additional exterior colors, Imperial Black, Mocha Almond and Darker Bronze, along with a slew of exterior aftermarket-like enhancements. The Limited has a new bumper shape and grille insert, LED fog lights and turn signals and LED tail lights along with power-folding, auto dimming heated outside mirrors with integrated turn signals, courtesy lights and reverse tilt down feature.
Dark chrome finish is added to the LED headlights and rear combination tail lights are tinted. Dark chrome trims the upper and lower grille surround, fog light surround, lower bumper, side vents, roof rails, crossbars, the A-Pillar covers, side mirror caps, and license plate surround. The standard 22 inch wheels also feature a dark finish.
Stainless steel running board caps with rubber grips and under running board welcome lighting is also offered with the QX80 Limited Package.
With or without the Limited Package the 2015 QX80 is a stuntastic SUV. Chrome door handles and window moldings are standard along with optional headlight washers, front UV reducing, noise insulating privacy glass, and dark privacy glass for the rear doors, quarter glass and lift gate.
Also standard is a power moon roof, power rear lift gate, and roof rack with available crossbars.
The QX80 Limited is a head turner. The whip commanded attention everywhere I went with fans complimenting the refined style that’s both masculine and sophisticated and sexy. People who were only considering buying and SUV were completely sold on the QX80 and thought the $88k MSRP was well worth it. The whip is tricked out with add-ons, chrome and stainless steel accents, and has a sultry paint job, but marries power and indulgence in perfect harmony.
The Infiniti QX80 body is composed of high-strength steel. The high-stiffness body-on frame chassis enhances ride comfort while reducing noise, vibration and harshness. A front underbody spoiler, functional rear lift gate spoiler and redesigned side mirrors help the big-body achieve its 0.36 coefficient drag and zero lift.
The 2015 Infiniti QX80 is offered in rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive, with the AWD model featuring the nimble All-Mode AWD system with Auto, 4H and 4L modes.
World-Class Inner Sanctum
The new QX80’s cabin is a mini mansion with personal comfort controls for seven or eight passengers. The interior has standard Truffle Brown semi aniline quilted leather seats with silver accent piping. The Open Pore Matte Finish Ash Wood Trim matches it perfectly. The headliner and pillars are covered with Ultrasuede leather. The 4-spoke steering wheels is wrapped in a special high-grade Mocha Burl leather. Grab handles are also leather wrapped.
Standard is the keyless entry, sequential welcome lighting and cool ambient lighting.
Space is abundant in the QX80’s interior. Options include a 7-passenger arrangement with 2 captain’s chairs, or 8-passenger bench seats for both the 2nd and 3rd rows. The 2nd row has 41 inches of legroom, and the 3rd row has 28.8 inches. Both have a fold-down feature, with 2nd row having an available tip up feature for easy access to the third row, and the 3rd row having a 60/40 feature. Drivers have a heated and ventilated 10-way adjustable seat, and the front passenger has an 8-way power heated and ventilated seats. Both have Active Head Restraints. The 2nd row seating is heated too.
The driver’s dash kinda old-school with fine vision electroluminescent meter gauges and no customizable settings and . A small digital(ish) info display shows average fuel economy, average speed, range, and outside temperature. A Tri-zone Automatic Temperature Control system is standard with auto recirculation, Plasmacluster air purifier, and Grape Polyphenol microfilter. There are also heater ducts for the rear under the front seats.
I dig how the QX80 door handles and the stainless steel running boards light up when the driver approaches. The running boards are too short for someone wearing a shoe size over 10 to step up without having to turn sideways.
The interior of the 2015 Infiniti QX80 is decked out with the finest materials and cutting-edge media technology. Chrome is everywhere! On the windows, door handles, vents, leather and stitched shifter, and throughout the center stack. The driver and passengers sit in ultimate comfort and tranquility in this mobile mansion. But because there’s no border on the A-Pillar, rain falls inside the car when the windows are open after it rains.
I like the quilting on the center console, and how it shifts forward. The center stack is clean and sophisticated with the top portion containing the 8 inch WVGA color touchscreen, the lower rows for audio setting and the 3rd tier reserved for climate controls. Also cool is the chrome lined clock at the center of the stack. The Infiniti Controller adjusts the vehicle info systems along with comfort and convenience features.
Storage is great but misleading in the Infiniti QX80. There are 9 cup holders , 4 door cup holders, a big center console in the front, two smaller ones in the 2nd row, and small storage areas in the doors. But some of the cup holders are too small for a thermos, and the center console looks deeper and wider than it is. It can’t hold a laptop or tools, just smaller items. Storage is abundant in the 3rd row. A 16 cubic foot cargo space for luggage is provided with the 3rd row seat up.
The new QX80 features Infiniti Hard Drive Navigation, excellent with traffic and construction info displayed on the map in a clean/ succinct layout. The only issue was that it doesn’t display all of the street names.
The system features NavTraffic with real-time traffic information, NavWeather with real-time weather, and 3 day forecast. I like how the Home screen displays important info like average fuel economy and range split with the navigation. I also love how the navigation shows color codes for traffic issues – green for good traffic flow, red for congestion, and dashes for construction.
Also available is Sirius XM Satellite radio, though only 6 present stations can be programmed. The QX80 also has Bluetooth, two auxiliary ports, multiple USB ports, and a 120 volt outlet.
Two advanced audio systems are offered in the 2015 Infiniti QX80. A 13-speaker Bose Premium Audio System with two subwoofers, chrome tweeters, and rear headliner mounted 3rd row speakers is standard. Also available is the Bose Cabin Surround Sound system with 15 speakers as part of the Deluxe Technology Package.
The Theater Package features dual 7 inch color monitors, two pairs of wireless headphones, wireless remote control, auxiliary jack, and 120 volt outlet. The system can play games and movies in the rear. I like how the driver can play media in the rear exclusively, and play separate media on each rear monitor if they choose – dopeness! The two monitors also include an auto-bright system that adjusts for daytime, clouds evening and night/ tunnel lighting.
The 2015 QX80 also has cool functions that add flair and increase comfort and convenience. Rain-sensing wipers are on-point. And the steering wheel has easy-to learn controls for audio and phone on the left and cruise control settings on the right. The side mirrors are long and thin, but that expanded view virtually eliminates blind spots.
The Around View Monitor with Front and Rear Sonar System uses four superwide angle cameras to provide a virtual 360-degree view of the truck. Drivers can select which view of the side, front or back of the whip suits their parking needs, and the side view is automatically displayed when a car creeps into to the QX80’s blind spot.
Performance Boasts Power and Indulgence
The performance of the 2015 QX80 could be as adventurous as trekking up mountainous landscape or blowing down the highway at 80+ mph. But it can also be a tranquil cruise through the country.
The big-body new QX80 offers the unique combination of utility, performance and luxury that stands out in its class.
The 2015 QX80 has a 5.6 liter naturally aspirated engine with Direct Injection Gasoline and Infiniti’s Variable Valve Event & Lift to produce 400 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque. The advance V8 is matched to a smooth 7 speed automatic transmission with Adaptive Shit Control and manual mode with Downshift Rev Matching.
The Infiniti QX80 Limited AWD unfortunately, requires a lot of gas. The combined EPA for city and highway is a meager 15 mpg (19 mpg highway, 13 mpg city.)
The standard Infiniti All-Mode AWD system is designed to distribute torque to all 4 wheels when road conditions warrant. A Drive Mode Selector in the big-body’s center stack can adjust AWD to Tow Mode, and a Snow Mode along with 4H and 4L modes.
Responsive handling is provided by independent double wishbone front and rear suspension with Dual-Flow Path twin tube shock absorbers. Suspension is automatically controlled by hydraulic chambers in each shock absorber. Advanced Hydraulic Body Motion Control is available on the 2WD and AWD models and helps reduce body lean in turns. The automatic rear leveling system helps to maintains uniform ground clearance and departure angles by auto adjusting air pressure in the system’s air bladders. The AWD QX80 is pretty nimble, with a 52/48 weight distribution.
The rugged QX80 can tow a load up to 8,500 lbs with the same superior comfort as a Sunday drive with the family. I like how the deep muscle lines in the hood allow for even a short driver to see the car ahead’s tires.
The 2015 Infiniti QX80 is really easy to drive with great acceleration and handling. But cornering and turning is wide. Parking is also wide and not as fluid is I expected. Braking is scary at times because the nearly 3 ton SUV’s acceleration doesn’t downgrade as much as other lux SUVs. But the 4-wheel hydraulically assisted disc brakes stop on a dime. Also standard is the ABS, Vehicle Dynamic Control, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, and Active Brake Limited Slip systems.
First-Class Safety Technology
The 2015 Infiniti QX80 Limited has the full suite of safety technology contained in the Driver Assistance Package and the Deluxe Technology Package. Along with vehicle stability control, traction control and high beam assist, standard safety features with the Driver Assistance Package include a Blind Spot Warning, Distance Control Assist, Backup Collision Intervention, Intelligent Cruise Control, and Predictive Forward Collision Warning. The Predictive Forward Collision Warning can detect potential collision two cars ahead.
The Deluxe Technology Package includes the Blind Spot Intervention, Lane Departure Warning, and Lane Departure Prevention. Adaptive Front Lighting and auto leveling headlamps with washers. This package also adds chrome mirror caps, 2nd row footwell courtesy lights, and the 15-speaker Bose Cabin Surround Sound System.
The Around View Monitor system features advanced Moving Object Detection which detects moving objects and provides the driver visual and audible warnings.
Forward Emergency Braking and Backup Collision Intervention are both innovative safety features that could use some fine tuning. They would activate and brake the SUV while I was pulling from a parking spot – sometimes just because a person or car was near my vehicle. One of these three functions beeps nearly every time I backed up which can cause a distraction.
Other cool safety innovations include Intelligent Key and the Infiniti Immobilizer.
The 2015 Infiniti QX80 Limited far exceeded my high expectations. For $90k drivers can have top-notch luxury and performance, plus stunt on life. Look for this to be a major contender for the top selling luxury performance full-size SUV in 2016.