Infiniti Updates QX80 For 2018, Releases Pricing for New Flagship
Restyled Interior and Exterior Help SUV Fit in With Brand’s Sports Sedans
Infiniti’s lovely Q50 sport sedan and Q60 coupe, along with the brand’s QX30 compact crossover, have done a great job with moving the brand forward in terms of design and style. But the accidental effect of that was making the somewhat aged QX80 fullsize SUV look absolutely frumpy in comparison. Not content to allow its sleeker little brothers to steal all the showroom spotlight, the QX80 has emerged for the 2018 model year with new styling and a few functional updates, helping the Nissan Patrol–based SUV remain current.
Taking inspiration from the QX80 Monograph concept that appeared at the New York International Auto Show in April, the facelifted fullsize SUV features totally new front styling that helps set it apart from its predecessor. A 3.5-inch–longer front hood also stands 0.79 inches higher, giving the front end a flatter, less bulbous profile; contemporary wraparound headlights mounted higher on the front fenders help sharpen the look as well.
The QX80’s functional front fender vents are reshaped as well, abandoning the alien-scythe look for a cleaner, more architectural design. Other changes up front include a wholly redesigned front grille, incorporating the latest iteration of Infiniti’s signature “double-arch,” while a new front bumper features a thin strip of aluminum brightwork to emphasize the vehicle’s width.
Changes are slight when viewed in profile, with the bolder front end and new wheel designs making the biggest difference. Yes, this is just a mid-cycle refresh, not a clean-sheet redesign of the QX80. A new rear tailgate and bumper exorcise much of the old QX80’s (née QX56) blobby curves, replacing them with crisper lines. A chrome strip now connects the thinner LED taillights.
Inside, there are a few updates. A new gear selector design and steering wheel both impart a higher-end feel to the interior, and there are three different wood trims available, depending on specification. Added soundproofing in the carpets and dashboard panel reduce interior noise, resulting in improved conversation quality between passengers, says Infiniti. Soil-resistant coating on the seats, door trim, center console, instrument panel, and rear armrests help keep the interior looking clean and stain-free. The available rear entertainment system also sees an upgrade: the two screens can now play their own content, and a new HDMI input joins a USB port. There are also two additional headphone jacks, joining the system’s wireless headphones.
The interior also features revised storage and ergonomics, with space in the center console for large devices like the iPhone X and Samsung Galaxy S8. A deeper armrest cubby up front is now big enough for tablets, and larger cupholders up front make room for two 44-ounce drink containers. Energy drink devotees, say a prayer of gratitude.
The 5.6L V-8 and seven-speed automatic transmission are unchanged, as are the available rear- and four-wheel-drive powertrain configurations. On four-wheelers, a drive-mode select knob features automatic four-wheel drive, as well as locked-in four-wheel high and low ranges. The suspension has been retuned slightly to allow for a better ride on broken, brittle pavement, and the tires' radial pattern has been altered for greater sound and impact absorption.
Starting at $64,750, the 2018 QX80 will ask for $900 more than its immediate predecessor. The premium holds true for the QX80 4WD, which now starts at $67,850. However, that slight price increase is a bargain considering how comprehensively the styling has been improved compared to the 2017 QX80. Whether the new vehicle will attract shoppers away from the smaller, cheaper Lexus GX460 or the more expensive, but totally redesigned, 2018 Lincoln Navigator remains to be seen. Still, with a crisp new design, the Infiniti QX80 finally joins the brand’s other offerings with modern, uniquely Japanese style.