According to Christian Meunier, Infiniti’s Global Division Vice President, the new Infiniti QX50 is quite simply “the most important vehicle we have ever launched.” It embodies everything the brand stands for: “beautiful design, advanced technology and empowering performance.” While the industry trend might be more focused on compact and performance SUVs at the moment, a premium mid-size SUV makes a lot of sense for Nissan’s luxury division which debuted in North America in 1989. Of course, the QX50 boasts world-first technology, outstanding design and incomparable interior space, all on an entirely new platform.
Based on the QX50 Concept and QX Sport Inspiration that Infiniti developed prior to the new vehicle’s release, the QX50 personifies the brand’s signature “Powerful Elegance” design language. The innovative front-engine, front-wheel drive-based layout, with a wider stance and cabin forward silhouette, was engineered for maximum flexibility, setting new standards for refinement, rigidity and interior space in its segment. Craftsmanship and materials put it firmly in the luxury sphere, and it’s no slouch in the powertrain department either, featuring a VC-Turbo under the hood that is the world’s first production-ready variable compression ratio engine.
The 2.0-liter VC-Turbo engine can adjust its compression ratio to optimize power and efficiency, combining the power of a 2.0-liter turbocharged gasoline engine with the torque and efficiency of a four-cylinder diesel engine. Even if you’re not mechanically inclined you can see what a breakthrough that is. The engine delivers 268 hp and 280 lb ft of torque with fuel economy of 27 mpg. Front-wheel drive models offer a 35% improvement in fuel efficiency over the previous V6 gasoline QX50; all-wheel-drive models offer a 30% improvement.
The design of the QX50 is meant to express more creativity than its competitors. “As with all Infinitis, in creating the new QX50 we were inspired by our desire to drive, expressed with power and artistry,” says Alfonso Albaisa, Senior Vice President, Global Design. “With QX50, inspiration comes from striking the perfect balance between lust and logic. At a glance, seamless and sculptural, getting closer to the car reveals an ingenious blend of proportion and space.” Achieving elegance in a vehicle of this size is no small challenge, yet Infiniti has managed it and done it well.
Technology is of course just as important in this day and age, and the QX50’s portfolio of state-of-the-art features are second to none. Chief among them is the ProPILOT Assist suite which react discreetly and autonomously to certain driving situations, supporting the driver with a range of empowering ‘co-pilot’ features and placing them in total control at all times and under all conditions. Advanced headlight technology even lights up the road ahead from every angle.
The interior is just as impressive. “As with Q80 Inspiration, our designers worked with in house artisans to understand the inherent beauty of the materials and allowing the structure of those materials to inspire aesthetic gesture of the design,” Albaisa notes. “QX50’s flow from the center console to the instrument panel is the signature of this spirit and as a result it is the artists inspiration of material that sets Infiniti’s new interior asymmetry and driver-centric DNA.” That equates to a blend of “thoughtful ergonomics and indulgent textiles” creating an infinitely calming environment. Built with a “unique driver-focused geometry,” this is achieved with a harmonious assemblage of supple leathers, wood accents and tailored stitching.
To showcase its many merits Infiniti hosted a media drive for the new vehicle in Hollywood, with the cool new La Peer hotel as home base. Part of the Kimpton portfolio and situated near the iconic WeHo Design Center, the La Peer’s impeccable contemporary style opens a new chapter in boutique luxury for one of Los Angeles’ most alluring neighborhoods. The brand also staged an event at a cool villa in the Hollywood Hills with a beautiful performance by L.A.-based singer/songwriter Moonzz.
Considering all the QX50 has to offer, the base price of $36,550 seems on the low side. No wonder it has won accolades from the automotive and lifestyle press that are usually reserved for cars with impeccable German pedigrees. However the QX50 aims to redefine our notions of what a Japanese car can be, a mixture of refinement and understated elegance that surely will find favor with many buyers.