Emma Jayne Williams

Infiniti updates QX80 for 2015, making it most-luxurious ever

The Infiniti QX80 offers a fresh new exterior design and a more-crafted interior for 2015, plus additional standard features and technology, bringing Infiniti's premium full-size luxury SUV closer in look and feel to the dramatic new Infiniti Q50 sports sedan.
The Infiniti QX80 offers a fresh new exterior design and a more-crafted interior for 2015, plus additional standard features and technology, bringing Infiniti's premium full-size luxury SUV closer in look and feel to the dramatic new Infiniti Q50 sports sedan. Submitted photos/Wieck for Nissan

The full-size Infiniti QX80 sport utility has been redesigned for 2015 with a fresh new exterior, more standard features and technology, and a more-crafted interior.

Adding a new Limited Package makes the QX80 the most-luxurious SUV ever offered by Infinti. Most of the exterior redesign happens in the front, with a new bumper with integrated sonar sensors, new upper grille, an added lower grille, and new LED headlights, fog lights and turn signals.

The Deluxe Technology Package now has chrome-plated mirror caps. The rear gets a larger, standard chrome bumper guard to protect against damage when loading or unloading large cargo such as DIY supplies or recreational equipment.

New technologies include standard advanced High Beam Assist and optional Predictive Forward Collision Warning. This system can warn the driver of risks as far forward as the vehicle in front of the vehicle directly ahead by sensing the relative speed and distance of each vehicle.

Another change for 2015 involves the extensive suite of advanced technology systems previously included in the Technology Package, which have been split into a new Driver Assistance Package and the Deluxe Technology Package.

The Driver Assistance Package for $2,100 includes intelligent brake assist with forward emergency braking and predictive forward collision warning, backup collision intervention, blind spot warning, intelligent cruise control, distance control assist, and a steering wheel switch for Safety Shield technologies. Safety Shield monitors traffic conditions, helping to avoid collisions and protecting occupants if one does occur.

Three new exterior colors are offered, making a total of seven standard colors and three exclusive Limited Package colors. The new colors are Hermosa Blue, Graphite Shadow and Majestic White. The Limited Package colors are Imperial Black, Mocha Almond and Dakar Bronze.

Two new wheel designs are available: standard machine-finished 20-inch aluminum-alloy, and 14-spoke/22-inch forged aluminum-alloy with all-season tires in the Tire and Wheel Package.

Infiniti listened to current owners when refining and revising the interior content of the QX80. They asked for more visual difference between color/wood trims and more choices in the technology packages.

Graphite or Wheat leather seating surfaces, along with two finisher colors, are now available. Tuscan Burl trim is replaced with heavier, richer, more reddish Mocha Burl wood. New steering wheel trim is also part of the interior revisions.

There are two versions: one with rear-wheel drive, listing for $63,250; and the other with four-wheel drive, for $66,350.

Standard exterior equipment includes automatic headlights with windshield wiper interlock and high-beam assist; LED taillights; body-color running boards with integrated front and rear splash guards in the wheel arches; roof rails; power/sliding tinted-glass moon roof with one-touch open/close and a tilt/slide sunshade; power rear liftgate; front underbody spoiler; and a rear liftgate spoiler. A standard three-blink, one-touch turn signal is also added for 2015.

Both models have a 5.6-liter V-8 engine with responsive acceleration and efficiency, producing 400 horsepower. It’s connected to a smooth-shifting seven-speed automatic transmission with Adaptive Shift Control and manual mode.

Both models seat seven passengers in standard configuration, or eight with available second row 60/40-split-folding three-person bench seat.

Standard interior features include leather seating; 10-way power driver’s seat with two-way power lumbar support; dual memory for front seats, steering wheel and outside mirrors; eight-way power passenger’s seat with power lumbar; heated front seats; second-row captain’s chairs with tip-up feature for easy third-row access, second-row center console with cupholders and two storage bins; and a power 60/40 fold-flat/reclining third row.

Also included are a heated Mocha Burl/leather steering wheel, nine cupholders and four door-pocket bottle holders, tri-zone automatic temperature control with microfilter, intelligent key with illuminated pushbutton ignition, Fine Vision electroluminescent gauges, Infiniti analog clock, eight-inch color touch-screen display, and Infiniti controller for vehicle information systems and comfort and convenience features.

The QX80 has impressive standard technology, including hard-drive navigation with voice recognition, real-time traffic and weather with three-day forecast via SiriusXM; Bluetooth hands-free phone and audio streaming; Infiniti’s AroundView monitor with front and rear sonar and moving-object detection; Bose 13-speaker premium audio system, CD/DVD player with MP3 capability, SiriusXM radio, and a USB port for iPod and compatible devices.

The navigation system features lane guidance to indicate the correct lane when approaching an intersection or exit, and enhanced 3-D building graphics. AroundView is displayed on the same screen and gives a 360-degree bird’s eye view using four cameras positioned around the vehicle – helpful in avoiding objects or obstacles on the ground.

Safety equipment starts with the advanced front air bag system, driver and front passenger seat-mounted side air bags, roof-mounted curtain air bags with rollover sensors for all three rows; front and rear crumple zones; vehicle dynamic control with traction control; and tire-pressure monitoring with individual tire pressure displays.

My tester was the AWD model in Mocha Almond with Truffle Brown semi-aniline quilted leather and open pore matte finish ash wood. Silver stitching accented the seating and door panels, with silver piping outlining the seats.

The muted metallic around the controls on the center stack, along with the ash wood, was elegant. The wood extended to the center console and across the dash to the upper door panel and covered the cupholder cubby on the wide rear center console.

Decorative quilting accented both consoles, the front of the thigh cushions, and the headrests. The seat inserts and the door panels had more-subtle fan-shaped quilting. Dark chrome on the console, the shifter knob and surround, the drive mode controller, and door handles echoed the dark chrome on the exterior.

The dark-chrome exterior was part of the $10,000 Limited Package, along with the quilted Truffle Brown/Ash Wood/silver/dark-chrome interior, and gave my tester an air of refined ruggedness with dark-chrome A-pillar covers, three-opening fender vents, front grille and surround, daytime running lights/headlight and fog light housings, mirror caps, door handles, window surrounds, roof rail crossbars, taillight housing, liftgate accent bars, and QX80 badge.

The package also had stainless steel running board caps with rubber grips and welcome lighting underneath, darkened headlight inner lenses, darkened taillight inner lenses, Ultrasuede headliner, leather-covered grab handles/speaker grilles/steering wheel, brown trimmed mats with Infiniti badge, and illuminated kick plates.

My QX80 also included lots of additional features in options packages totaling $12,450. A Driver Assistance Package ($2,100) included blind spot warning and intervention, intelligent brake assist, forward emergency braking, predictive forward collision warning, backup collision intervention and heated outboard seats in the second row.

The Deluxe Technology Package ($5,500) had hydraulic body-motion control; climate-controlled front seats; Bose Cabin Surround Sound System with 15 speakers; second-row foot-well courtesy lights; advanced climate control with auto recirculation, Plasmacluster air purifier and Grape Polyphenol filter; lane-departure warning and prevention; headlight washers; front pre-crash seat belts; and adaptive front lighting system with auto-leveling headlights.

A Theater Package ($2,400) had two seven-inch color monitors, two pairs of wireless headphones, a wireless remote, audio/video jacks and a 120-volt power outlet; and remote tip-up second row seats (button on the front center stack). The package allows second-row passengers to play their own movies or games, while the driver and front passenger enjoy music – or peace and quiet. The second-row center console is designed to store headphones, remote, and whatever digital entertainment passengers bring with them.

The Tire and Wheel Package ($2,450) added the special 14-spoke wheels with all-season performance tires.

My QX80 was powerful, comfortable, and easy to drive – holding curves well, overtaking and merging effortlessly. It also was versatile, luxurious and very easy on the eyes.

With $22,450 in options and $995 destination charges, the total delivered price was $89,845.

The automotive columns of Emma Jayne Williams have appeared regularly in the Star-Telegram since 2007. Contact her at emmajayne1948@gmail.com.