Infiniti also expects the segment's steady sales to go to large, well-off families, or at least well-off families with large, heavy trailers, rather than the image-conscious childless buyers who were going for the "bling." That word may be a decade old, but it still has some life in the QX56, with its standard 20-inch wheels. You get 22s with the $5800 Deluxe Touring Package, which also comes with the new Hydraulic Body Motion Control system. This throws out the anti-roll bars for the double-wishbone front- and rear-suspension for a dual-pipe cross-linked system that uses hydraulic fluid to counteract body roll. The system is pretty effective. Body roll is, indeed, minimal, especially for such a large, comfortable SUV. And it keeps head toss down, as proven by short back-to-back drives of the new QX against an Escalade.
The big, torquey V-8 is significantly quieter and more refined than the Caddy's. Like the Escalade, and most of its competition, power is only enough to overcome the heft of the vehicle. You always feel like you're battling a lot of inertia off the line, with that power really kicking in about the 40-80 mph range. Based on the FX50's 5.0-liter engine, the 5.6 in the M56 makes 420 horsepower; in the QX56, it's rated 400 horsepower (up 80 horses from the old 5.6) and torque is the same 413 pound-feet as the M56, although it reaches maximum torque 400 rpm lower than in the sedan. Coupled to a new seven-speed automatic with rev-matching downshifts, the QX56 is rated 14-mpg city, 20-mpg highway, a 2-mpg city improvement, whether you order rear-wheel-drive or the rear-biased, automatic 4WD system.
The QX56 has lost 2.1-inches of wheelbase while gaining 1.4-inches in overall length, mostly due to a bumper cover that hides the standard, built-in trailer hitch. Along with the subdued engine noise, the cabin lets in minimal wind noise. Designers paid a lot of attention to aerodynamics, and even worked to shape the sideview mirrors to keep wind noise down.
The 4WD version, which traditionally accounts for just 55- to 60-percent of QX56 sales, has lost 161 pounds. It's still 5850 pounds, and it would be more if Infiniti had gone for a panoramic sunroof like most other luxury SUVs.