2025 Infiniti QX80 : Giving It The Old College Try

Strong points
  • Modernized, powerful and lienar powertrain
  • More stable driving dynamics
  • Lots of style and technology
Weak points
  • Cluttered lower center screen
  • Reliability of new components uncertain
Full report

The Cadillac Escalade, Lincoln Navigator and Mercedes-Benz GLS are the leaders of the full-size SUV segment in our part of the world. Less popular, the Infiniti QX80 is a kind of underdog, trying as best it can to carve out a place in the sun in this lucrative niche where anything goes when it comes to equipment and luxury. Posh cousin to the Nissan Armada (also in the shadows), the QX80 hasn't really polished its physique since 2017. Unveiled at the New York Auto Show earlier this year, the 2025 model has taken a giant leap forward in this regard, with a hefty dose of exterior styling and pretty much every piece of advanced technology available in the Nissan/Infiniti arsenal. A new powertrain also came to the rescue of the aging V8 under the hood.

The Car Guide travelled to California's wine country to drive the newly redesigned QX80.

Photo: Louis-Philippe Dubé

Smooth and Efficient

Technically, the QX80 is “almost” entirely redesigned, as it retains its current ladder chassis, but to which engineers have made iterations for greater rigidity. The biggest non-cosmetic change is under the hood, with the new twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 engine developing 450 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque. This is a good improvement over the outgoing V8 engine, with an additional 50 hp and 103 lb-ft. Infiniti has also swapped the 7-speed gearbox for a new 9-speed transmission. The new hardware also enables the QX80 to retain its attractive 8,500 lb towing capacity.

In addition to its improved chassis, the QX80 is also armed with a new air suspension. Our first impressions of the powertrain were convincing, with good performance at all engine speeds and a transmission that delivers the goods in most situations. In terms of driving dynamics, the QX80's chassis and suspension improvements are successful, offering a driving experience worthy of its price category in terms of ride comfort. The experience behind the wheel is smoother, and less truck-like than in the outgoing model. In normal conditions, ground clearance is 254 mm; in off-road mode, the QX80 can gain an additional 53 mm thanks to this adjustable suspension. It can also be lowered by 70 mm when parked to facilitate loading and unloading.

Photo: Louis-Philippe Dubé

Going All Out Inside

A luxury full-size SUV inevitably has to look like an Ali Baba's cave, not only in terms of finish and materials, but also in terms of technology. In this respect, German and American automakers are taking the lead generation after generation with ever more screen surfaces, gadgets and conveniences in every row. For 2025 Infiniti designers have followed suit with a pair of 14.3-inch screens filled with new functionalities. For example, the QX80 offers a complex system of cameras, including a 170-degree camera at the front to help the driver see what's going on in front of the vehicle's rather large hood. The images can broadcast on the central screen, but can even extend onto the instrument cluster. This is a useful feature, but both screens dominated, the steering wheel in front of the instrument cluster can impede vision.

Photo: Louis-Philippe Dubé

A third screen joins the duo, positioned at an angle in the lower part of the dashboard and incorporating the air-conditioning controls. Although well positioned, this screen with digital controls and haptic feedback seemed unnecessarily complex at first glance.

Rear passengers won't have to worry about this, however, because the QX80 is now available with second-row biometric climate control, which can assess occupants' body temperature and adjust the temperature accordingly. Otherwise, the QX80 offers more space than ever before, with cargo volume behind the third row growing by 28%. This third row is also generous (relatively speaking) in terms of passenger space.

Photo: Infiniti

The QX80 is way behind its rivals in terms of sales. But the pricing strategy adopted is more aggressive, with a starting price of $104,995 for the entry-level Luxe variant, and up to $124,995 for the loaded Autograph model. Could this strategy, along with the QX80 2025's technological, mechanical and styling additions, be enough to steal market shares in its segment where American and German counterparts are still firmly entrenched? Only time will tell.

Share on Facebook