NY Show 2010 Highlights: 2011 Infiniti QX56


The original QX56 finished mid-pack in a five-SUV comparo back in 2006, falling to two Germans but besting two American behemoths. That first-gen QX was based on the same trucky platform as the Nissan Armada—indeed, it was simply a tarted-up version of the biggest Nissan—but Infiniti has since chosen to further differentiate the two and switched this new QX to the more modern architecture shared with the not-for-U.S.-sale Nissan Patrol.

As a reworked Patrol, the second-gen QX, which debuts at the 2010 New York auto show, has an interesting look. The front-end styling is reminiscent of the current QX’s, but with more flowing fenders and a slightly more athletic look to the headlights. Aside from the styling hiccup of stick-on-looking scallops behind the front wheels—isn’t the fender-vent fad over?—the new design harmonizes pretty well with the rest of Infiniti’s lineup, or at least as well as a big and for the most part blocky SUV like this can. It’s definitely not a leaned-back “bionic cheetah” like Infiniti’s smaller FX crossover, but rather a somewhat softer reinterpretation of hugeness. The interior gets generous amounts of leather and wood, with a continuous ring of the latter around the steering wheel. Perforated semi-aniline leather upholstery will be optional.

As its name suggests, the eight-passenger QX56 again uses a 5.6-liter V-8, but the addition of variable valve timing and direct injection help bump output up to 400 hp from 320. The QX also gets a seven-speed automatic transmission (up from a five-cog unit) and will again be available with either rear- or four-wheel drive. Fuel economy is expected to improve by 10 percent, putting the 2011 at about 13 mpg city/19 highway. Towing capacity is ever-so-slightly diminished at 8500 pounds; the outgoing two-wheel-drive QX could pull 9000 pounds and four-wheel-drivers could tow 8900.

Standard features will include navigation and Infiniti’s trick multi-camera Around View—both of which will be accessed via an eight-inch touch screen in the center stack—a 13-speaker Bose sound system, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, XM satellite radio, and a USB/iPod interface. A DVD entertainment pack with dual seven-inch screens will be an option. A new Deluxe Touring package bundles a new Hydraulic Body Motion Control system to help battle body roll, and also includes 22-inch wheels.

What was the QX missing lo these many years? Lettered abbreviations! (The two in its name don’t count, since they don’t stand for anything.) Falling in line with other modern Infinitis, the 2011 QX56 gets things like lane-departure warning (LDW), lane-departure prevention (LDP), blind-spot warning (BSW), distance-control assist (DCA), intelligent brake assist (IBA), and forward collision warning (FCW), as well as front seatbelt pretensioners and laser cruise control. We’ve grown tired of many of these abbreviations and their associated nannying on our long-term FX50S but can at least take solace in the fact that each can be completely deactivated.

The 2011 QX will go on sale this summer at prices that match those of the outgoing model. As such, the rear-wheel-drive QX56 will sticker for $57,565, while a four-wheel-drive example will command an extra $3100.

Thanks to: Car and Driver

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