Infiniti is finding new followers with the addition of a full-size off-road wagon to its Australian line-up.
The company that wears its name on the side of Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull Formula 1 racer as a key sponsor goes to the opposite motoring extreme with the luxurious V8 QX80.
Priced from $110,900 plus on-roads, the QX80 becomes the flagship of the growing Infiniti fleet.
The Hong Kong-headquartered maker, which has had a strong following in the United States for many years, had only to knock on the door of its parent company Nissan to source the QX80. Local buyers still learning about Infiniti should be reassured to know the QX80 is an upscale, re-branded version of the familiar Nissan Patrol.
As well as therefore-proven capability and reliability, value for money appears tempting, considering that until mid-year the most expensive Patrol cost almost $3600 more than the new Infiniti. Nissan then re-specified and re-priced the Patrol down to a maximum of $86,990.
So if even a top-line Patrol isn’t enough for buyers, they can move on to one of Infiniti’s boutique showrooms for a fully-loaded QX80 alternative.
When SUVs are getting smaller and increasingly on-road focused, the QX80 is one of only a very few full-size, genuine off-roaders for sale in Australia – and especially with a comprehensive luxury specification.
The body will be recognisable as based on the current Patrol, but has been re-styled to incorporate Infiniti’s unique features, including the grille, headlights and front bumper.
Inside, it’s all leather and loaded. There’s a BOSE entertainment system, two seven-inch video screens keep rear passengers entertained and tri-zone climate control keeps them comfortable.
The QX80 seats seven people. The centre-seat row folds electrically to allow access to the rear-most pews.
The driver is supported by a very long list of driving and safety aids. Among these are 360-degree cameras for parking and off-roading, emergency city braking, reversing warning system, lane departure warning, active cruise control and automatic Xenon headlights and wipers.
The V8 engine is a sophisticated unit for an off-roader. Related to the one running in the Nissan Altima V8 Supercars, it’s all-aluminium with quad camshafts and produces 298 kiloWatts of power and 570 Newtonmetres of torque.
The QX80 needs all this grunt as it’s a heavy vehicle, evidenced by average fuel consumption of 14.8 litres per 100 kms. Befitting its bulk, however, towing capacity is 3500 kg with a braked trailer; a built-in towing package is standard.
Transmission is a seven-speed automatic connected to four-wheel drive with driver-selectable modes for different driving conditions.
Underneath, the QX80 rides on a separate chassis but breaks with 4WD convention by using all-independent wishbone suspension. Hydraulic suspension control helps keep the body level.
Wheels are a massive 22 inch diameter, but the QX80 still manages to find space for a full-size spare. A tyre pressure monitoring system is standard and an especially valuable feature when travelling off-road.
Sales of soft-roaders are booming, but there’s still an important place for the genuine article, a big machine like the Infiniti QX80 that literally can take the rough with the smooth.