Just respect my time, delight my senses, and provide what I need. It’s really not that difficult.
When it comes to mid-sized SUVs, do we really need another one? There are a lot of good choices, after all.
But when it comes to one that is just as delightful to look at as it is to experience, well, that’s a different story. There are never enough of those.
The luxury arm of Nissan, Infiniti, has just introduced a coupe version of its most popular SUV, the QX50, the Infiniti QX55. In the new model, Infiniti fans will see the distinctive influence of Nissan’s global designer, Alfonso Albaisa, who formerly led Infiniti’s design, and the company’s current chief of design, Taisuke Nakamura.
While the QX55 is about the same size as the QX50, the QX55, which starts at $47,000 and tops out at about $58,000, has a design that is a bit more pronounced. All its key features ‘pop:’ the grille is larger and more animated, the wheels push to the edge of their wells, the silhouette is more muscular, sleeker and more aerodynamic—that’s the beauty of a coupe—with a more pronounced slope of the rear roofline. Overall, it is more performance sneaker than fancy footwear, enveloped in a luxury package.
The Beauty on the Outside Also Shines Inside the QX55
But where the Infiniti QX55 really makes your heart beat faster is in looking at all its beautiful lines, which you can see from the driver’s seat.
The hood lines curve through your field of vision, framing the pavement, the road, and the parking lot with a glorious scalloped view. And we know how much we love scalloped edges, because we can’t get enough of Chloe shoes, Sferra linens and Ted Baker handbags.
The scalloped hood line also frames the car’s interior details, which come together in subtle layers of leather, wood, and chrome. None of it is overdone or overly cushy; it’s elegant and soft, working to draw your eye to the things you need to see: the road, the controls, and the infotainment screens. This point of view, seeing the hood from the driver’s seat, is something that Albaisa perfected when he ran Infiniti’s design and a perspective that has continued. And I’m really glad. It’s what I love about Infiniti and what makes the brand stand out.
Luxury Is in the Details, Right?
And it’s not just luxury details, but features that prioritize your time and experience in the car. Thankfully, the QX55 doesn’t skimp on those details. In fact, the QX55 gives drivers and passengers almost everything you could ask for. Including:
- Wireless Apple CarPlay (Android Auto still needs to be connected via a USB cord)
- All wheel drive, which is standard
- Head up display — huge yay for this
- Second row seats that slide forward and back — great for more cargo room or for making kids in car seats easy to reach
- A motion activated lift gate
- Storage under the cargo floor
- Smart key/smart entry system
- Bose Performance Series premium sound system
- 4 USB ports: two up front, one in the center arm rest, one in the rear (next to a 12V power port); one is a USB-C fast charger
- ProPilot Assist driver assist and safety features, which includes adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist
And, there is a standard sized sun roof that is a standard feature on all QX55 models—another thing that Infiniti gets about us: Sunlight makes us happy. So while it’s not the oversized panoramic sun roof that we are seeing more of these days, it’s not an option either. It’s standard.
The dashboard is anchored by two touch screens that allow you to customize your experience and select your information and entertainment options. The dial controller lets you scroll through items on the top screen and set up what you’ll see on the lower screen. Or, you can tap the screen to set up your experience. Along the sides of the lower screen and underneath are hot buttons for climate and radio so you’re never at the mercy of a screen when something completely unacceptable like Kidz Bop is blaring when you get into the car.
Oh, and as if that weren’t enough, Infiniti is tossing in another incentive: The first people to reserve a QX55 can choose from a set of Away luggage (this would be my pick), a Transparent speaker, or a Brew Coffee Collection by Tom Dixon. The early bird gets the goods, right?
Four Drive Modes Let You Focus on Fun or Fuel Economy
The QX55 has the same engine as the QX50, a 268 horsepower turbo charged 4-cylinder that produces 280 torque. And it’s outfitted with four drive modes: Standard, Eco, Sport and Personal, which lets you customize your drive settings.
The QX55 is, predictably, a lot more fun in Sport mode, which delivers a tighter and faster drive experience. In Eco, you can feel the engine dialing the power back to a more conservative level. Eco also demands you to be more thoughtful about your driving: a slight tap to the accelerator in Sport mode sends the QX55 zooming; a slight tap in Eco mode is barely noticed. I needed to put some muscle into the accelerator in Eco mode to get it going. Overall, Eco mode is great for that in-town traffic crawl or tooling slowly through the neighborhood. But merging onto the highway I felt more confident in Standard or Sport mode.
Under the hood, Infiniti touts a technology called variable compression turbo that allows the engine to vary the combustion and optimize fuel use, getting as much power from the fuel as possible. It also has a CVT, or continuously variable transmission, which also helps to maximize fuel economy and power by continuously adjusting the gears for optimal power usage. Altogether, the idea is to give you the power of a V6 but the fuel economy of a 4-cylinder. While the VC turbo performs well, giving me the power I wanted when I needed it, the CVT is a little loud; I don’t mind hearing the engine in a luxury car, but I don’t really want to hear the transmission.
A Size, Shape and Design For Delightful Daily Driving
A car that is beautiful is a must… unless it’s simply impractical. But the QX55 is easy to drive in heavy traffic, easy to park even in tight parking lots, and the sizable cargo space (with a secret compartment under the cargo floor!) makes it easy stow all your day’s goods. The hip height, or the height of the seats as compared to your hip level, is good (this is one of the things that makes SUVs so popular), so getting in and out a gazillion times a day is easy and not taxing.
And, each time you get behind the wheel, turn up the Bose Performance Series sound system and let those beautiful scalloped lines delight you, well, the car has really done something wonderful for you. No wonder it makes your heart swell with happiness when you see it in the driveway.
Disclosure: Infiniti provided the QX55 for this test drive; all opinions are my own.