After getting a complete makeover just last year, Infiniti’s signature QX80 full-size sport utility adds a fancy top-end model, the Limited, for model year 2019, with a starting price of $89,900 (plus $1,295 freight).
That’s quite a premium over the base QX80 Luxe model prices of $65,100 for the two-wheel-drive model and $68,200 for the four-wheel-drive.
The Limited comes only with four-wheel drive, but it also gets a lot more that isn’t included on the other two models. That includes exclusive exterior paint and trim, along with custom seating materials and appearance enhancements.
Limited versions also feature several packages that are optional on the entry models, including advanced driver-assistance technologies. Also for 2019, the lower-priced models now come with Forward Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection and Predictive Forward Collision Warning.
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This is the ultimate Infiniti family hauler, with comfortable seating for up to eight (seven with the standard second-row dual captain’s chairs on the Limited).
Other exclusive extras on the Limited model include custom dark machine-finished 22-inch wheels, stainless-steel running board caps, the Infiniti logo projected onto the ground under the running boards (part of the “welcome lighting”), satin-chrome exterior trim and roof rails with cross bars, front and rear lower bumper finishers and a Limited rear hatch emblem.
Heated front seats are standard on Luxe models, but the Limited comes with heated and cooled front seats. All rows of seats are leather in the QX80, but the Limited model has upgraded semi-aniline leather with Alcantara accents and embossed Limited graphics on the first and second rows.
All models have 10-way power-adjustable driver and eight-way power front passenger seats with two-way lumbar adjust. There is matte silver open-pore Ash wood trim on the Limited’s dash, and a black Ultrasuede headliner and door pillars.
Our Limited tester came with the exclusive Anthracite Gray exterior paint ($500) and the Graphite (light gray) interior. Other available exterior colors for the QX80 include Liquid Platinum, Smoky Quartz, Graphite Shadow, Hermosa Blue, Mocha Almond, Black Obsidian, Champagne Quartz, Moonstone White and Mineral Black.
Infiniti says the exteriors are “hand-polished and inspected by Infiniti's Takumi master craftsmen for maximum depth, shine and luster.”
All models come with the advanced 5.6-liter V-8 engine with 400 horsepower and 413 foot-pounds of torque, connected to a smooth-shifting seven-speed automatic transmission with Adaptive Shift Control and manual shift mode with Downshift Rev Matching.
Rear-wheel-drive models have EPA fuel-economy ratings of 14 mpg city/20 highway/16 combined; with four-wheel drive, the ratings are 13/19/15, including the Limited.
With last year’s redesign, the QX80 was given the brand’s "Powerful Elegance" design language, along with a greatly improved interior that features refined components, high-quality materials, a hand-crafted finish and lots of new technology.
This newest generation is 208.9 inches long (up from 208.3 inches), 75.8 inches high (including roof rails) and 79.9 inches wide, with a wheelbase of 121.1 inches, the same as the previous model. Infiniti says the new QX80 looks longer than its predecessor because of its defined character lines, along with new, larger functional fender vents.
The grille is more vertical than before, and the front edge of the hood extends 3.5 inches farther forward and is 0.79 inches higher, creating a more squared-off, vertical front section and a visibly longer, flatter hood.
Headlights wrap around the front corners of the hood and mesh into the fenders. Infiniti says the headlights are the latest take on the brand’s “human-eye” design, with “triple light guide” technology for maximum lighting and visibility from any angle. There are slim combination LED taillights.
With the remake, the QX80 has the newest vision of the Infiniti double-arch grille, which is taller and wider than that of the previous model.
The Luxe models’ 20-inch alloy wheels with dark silver paint have a six-spoke design, and come with 275/60 R20 H-rated all-season performance tires. The Limited’s special 22-inch wheels are fitted with low-profile 275/50 R22 all-season performance tires.
On all models, the QX80’s interior features high-quality materials and looks and feels luxurious. It is hand-tailored and –crafted, Infiniti says. Seats, door panels and armrests are covered with perforated and quilted leather with contrast double-stitching and leather piping. The semi-aniline leather with color-contrast piping is standard on the Limited, but available on the other trims.
A new premium Saddle Brown leather interior on the entry models has black contrast stitching and piping. Besides the Graphite color, also available is Wheat color upholstery, in standard leather or premium semi-aniline leather. The Wheat semi-aniline leather comes with dark gray stitching and piping; the Graphite leather gets medium gray stitching and piping.
The new leather-wrapped shifter also has contrast-stitching, and the steering wheel has the same color-contrast leather as the rest of the interior. Higher-density padding makes leather surfaces firmer to the touch.
Limited models have a 15-speaker Bose 5.1 Cabin Surround premium audio system with satellite radio and two USB ports. A Theater Package with premium rear entertainment system is standard on the Limited, or $2,150 extra on the base models. It includes high-resolution eight-inch screens in the backs of the front seats.
The InTouch infotainment system has been updated, allowing drivers to personalize driving characteristics and the cabin environment using the 8.0-inch dash touch screen, as well as through buttons beneath the screen and on the steering wheel. Also standard are Remote Engine Start and Remote Horn and Lights.
There are multiple interior storage trays and cubbies. The center console has a larger smartphone storage area, and the twin front cupholders can accommodate two 44-ounce cups with handles. The twin USB ports are at the front of the center console just under the dash, open and easy to reach.
Storage under the front passenger armrest has been expanded, with the underside of the lid reshaped to create a 5.4-liter compartment. It’s 9.4 inches high and can hold three upright one-liter bottles. The space is shaped to accommodate tablet devices such as the iPad Air, iPad Air 2 and Samsung Galaxy Tab S3, standing vertically.
There are storage areas for bottles and other items in all four side doors, and a second-row center console on some models to hold mobile devices and other valuables.
Plenty of cargo space is provided, with 49.6 cubic feet when the third-row seatback is folded. With the third seat in place, there is still 16.6 cubic feet of storage space – about the same as a big sedan. With rear and middle-row seats folded, there is 95.1 cubic feet of cargo space. The rear hatch is power-operated.
Driver-assist and safety technologies on our tester included Lane Departure Warning and Prevention, Intelligent Cruise Control, Distance Control Assist, Predictive Forward Collision Warning, Forward Emergency Braking, Blind Spot Warning and Intervention and Backup Collision Intervention.
A Smart Rear View Mirror turns into a monitor at the touch of a button, displaying an uninterrupted view to the rear from a camera in the upper rear windshield.
The QX80 has a smooth, quiet and comfortable ride, even on pavement we encountered on some dirt mountain roads in our area.
There was never a lack of power, even on mountain grades, even though this is a heavy vehicle. It can tow trailers weighing up to 8,500 pounds. QX80’s Rear Auto-Leveling Suspension automatically adjusts to maintain optimum ride height with cargo in the trunk or a trailer on tow.
All-Mode 4WD is a full-feature system with low-range gearing for rugged trail driving.
The low-range gearing is perfect for steep hills, sand and mud. In automatic mode (high range only), the system can send up to half of the power to the front wheels; in normal mode, the rear wheels get the power. All models come with Hill Start Assist, which prevents rollback when the vehicle is stopped on a hill and the driver releases the foot brake.
Among standard safety features are four-wheel antilock disc brakes with electronic brake-force distribution; electronic stability control; roof-mounted side-curtain air bags for all three rows; seat-mounted front side air bags; and tire-pressure monitoring. Also included are self-dimming outside mirrors.
Other standard features include heated/power-folding outside mirrors with integrated turn signals, courtesy lights and reverse tilt-down feature; body-color running boards and integrated front and rear splash guards in the wheel arches; roof rails; a power/sliding/tinted glass moon roof; and a power rear liftgate.
The adaptive self-leveling headlights are designed to move slightly in the same direction as the vehicle to provide illumination of the area into which the car is turning.
The standard Infiniti Hard Drive Navigation System includes a backup-camera along with Nissan’s Around View Monitor system.
Because most of what’s available on the QX80 is already included in the higher price of the Limited model, the only extras on our test vehicle were the premium paint and the all-season floor and cargo mats ($355).
Total sticker price for our 2019 QX80 Limited 4WD was $91,950, including freight.
The automotive columns of G. Chambers Williams III have appeared regularly in the Star-Telegram since 1994. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @gchambers3.
2019 Infiniti QX80
The package: Full-size, seven- or eight-passenger, five-door, rear- or four-wheel-drive, V-8 powered, premium sport utility vehicle.
Highlights: Redesigned for 2018, the QX80 is a premium family hauler with lots of power, a smooth ride, and a long list of available high-tech features.
Negatives: Can get pricey with all the extras.
Engine: 5.6-liter V-8.
Transmission: Seven-speed automatic.
Power/torque: 400 HP./413 foot-pounds.
Brakes, front/rear: Disc/disc, antilock.
Length: 208.9 inches.
Curb weight: 5,644 pounds (2WD), 5,888 pounds (4WD).
Cargo capacity: 16.6 cubic feet (behind third row); 49.6 cubic feet (behind second row); 95.1 cubic feet (second and third rows folded).
Electronic stability control: Standard.
Side air bags: Front seat-mounted, three-row side curtain.
Towing capacity: 8,500 pounds.
EPA fuel economy: 14 mpg city/20 highway/16 combined (2WD); 13/19/15 (4WD).
Fuel capacity/type: 26 gallons/premium recommended, but not required.
Base prices: $65,100 (Luxe, 2WD); $68,200 (Luxe 4WD); $89,800 (Limited 4WD), plus $1,295 freight.
Price as tested: $91,950, including freight and options (2019 Limited 4WD).
Major competitors: Chevrolet Tahoe/Suburban, GMC Yukon, Cadillac Escalade, Lincoln Navigator, Ford Expedition, Audi Q7, Toyota Sequoia, Nissan Armada Platinum.
On the Road rating: 9.3 (of a possible 10).
Prices shown are manufacturer’s suggested retail; actual selling price may vary.