HD Road Test Review – 2015 INFINITI QX80 Limited AWD



In the global Renault-Nissan portfolio, the QX80 Limited lives among greats like the R35 GT-R or RenaultSport Megane Trophy. Being such an event car and flagship has always been a core part of the massive truck’s appeal among owners.

With all the class of a Range Rover, but all the guts of a Denali — the QX80 is famous worldwide for its bomb-proof chassis toughness married to a standard 400HP V8.

The QX80 is fresh for 2015 with new nose detailing, LEDs and an extra-swanky new Limited option pack. Fabulous opulence inside this cabin rivals any superlux mark worldwide, and might be the most plush cockpit for any Japanese machine, ever.

Is the QX80 still the right answer for big families, cool dads and hot moms in 2015? The competition is certainly stronger than ever, with even trad trucks like the Tahoe or GX460 going high-tech, modern and town-friendly in their drive manners.

Let’s hop up into this truffle brown stunner and go for a drive. Review headings are the standard Exterior, Interior, Performance, Pricing and Summary. Check out the drive videos as well. Surf and turf of a drag-strip airport runway and then off-roading shortly afterward.

2015 INFINITI QX80 Limited ReviewEXTERIOR

Since first meeting the QX80 Limited at Pebble Beach 2014, we’ve been deeply smitten with its dark and sexy makeover.

All QX80’s have fresh grilles, LEDs wrapping the outside edge of the adaptive, cornering xenon low-beams. Another full HID set of bulbs runs the high-beams, while LED fogs and front blinkers complete the update. The new grille features a cool inner element in a wave mesh that looks darker and more chic on both standard and Limited trimlines.

For the $10k Limited option, every bit of the exterior brightwork is dipped in black chrome. Contrasted with this dark exterior shade, the pieces look bright in this photo set. But in real life, they are quite dark. The Limited comes with 22-inch “dark chrome” alloys as standard, but the test truck upgrades these to forged multi-spoke steamrollers for a $2k option price.

The QX80 update outside is very effective and helpful in feeling new and fresh — especially since the QX80 has been on the market for five years with the current silhouette.

 

INTERIOR

If the exterior changes from the new Limited pack are effective, the cabin is a smash hit. Semi-aniline truffle brown leathers wrap every single inch of the dash, doors, consoles. Right down to leather wraps for the speaker grilles and the grab handles!

Open-pore ash takes the place of burl woods in other trims — with craftsmanship and grain quality that is near-sensual in its touchability. Such beautiful grains feel like fine furniture under your hands — with the giant wood pieces themselves being impressive in scale. The center console and passenger dash pieces alone are more than a square meter of sanded coolness.

The finish and beauty is not skin-deep, either, inside the QX80 Limited. Knock on the wood panels and they feel as solid as a banker’s desk. This is in contrast to all other touch points — which are so, so soft and lovely. It almost feels like there is a full QX80 leather cabin under here — wrapped once more in quilted supersoft hides. The dark hypersuede headliner is a fabulous design change that looks sublime, feels silky and even cleans up from stains as easily as a Lululemon microfiber.

The QX80 has twin thrones in back that beat any Escalade for posh and comfort levels in the second row. A giant center console wears yet more woods around its cupholders. The seats are super wide and have an overstuffed designer furniture feel. But you do not sink into them like the best Range Rovers, Bentleys or Rollers.2015 INFINITI QX80 Limited AWD 672015 INFINITI QX80 Limited AWD 66 2015 INFINITI QX80 Limited AWD 65

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So all is well with the Limited upgrade inside.

But there are some issues with the largely carry-over infotainment features in the QX80. The central touchscreen is HDD-based, yet lacks the latest app integrations and map graphics. The mid-gauge screen is extremely disappointing. It is the super basic two-button trip computer in dot-matrix hell. With so much luxury all around the cabin, the analog gauges and some button controls feel dramatically dated.

Yet this simplicity is also a hidden perk for some drivers. The QX80 makes perfect sense and is easy to operate for any driver. The same cannot be said for the Cayenne, Q7 or even the Escalade.

PERFORMANCE

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About The Author

Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly expanding automotive news magazine.He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin - Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)car-revs-daily.com.