When Infiniti announced that it was stopping production of its fullsize QX56 luxo barge at its Canton, Mississippi, plant, we knew a new vehicle was in the works, but what would it be based upon? As it turns out, the new 2011 Infiniti QX56 bowing at the 2010 New York auto show is a version of Nissan's new Patrol SUV, which is sold outside of North America. As you'd expect from Infiniti, this big boy has been all decked out for the U.S. market.
With its smoother overall lines, the new QX56 is arguably better looking than its predecessor, but we're not prepared to call it gorgeous. One exterior que you’ll no doubt notice are its massive 22-inch wheels, which are available as part of the deluxe touring package that also includes Infiniti’s hydraulic body motion control -- a system designed to keep the big SUV flatter in turns and improve overall handling. Since the last QX was so lumbering in turns, even a moderate improvement in handling will no doubt go a long way toward satisfying enthusiasts.
Motion control could come in quite handy if you’re eager to tap into the 400-hp V-8’s potential. Infiniti is sticking with the familiar 5.6-liter displacement but squeezing 25% more horsepower out of it thanks to direct injection and variable valve timing. We’ve also been told the engine increases fuel economy by 10%, but Infiniti has yet to release the new QX’s EPA numbers. Buyers can choose between rear- or all-wheel drive models and the only transmission offered is a seven-speed automatic. Thanks to the major horsepower and body-on-frame construction, the QX can tow an impressive 8500 pounds in either rear- or four-wheel drive configuration.
Of course most buyers will be more interested in the QX’s interior appointments than how much it can tow, and not surprisingly, there’s a lot of luxury going on in the cabin. With Infiniti’s standard hard drive-based navigation unit, Bluetooth, XM satellite radio, and optional features like semi-aniline leather seats or a pair of 7-inch video screens for passengers in the second row, the QX is as upscale as you’d expect a vehicle in its class to be.