Words: Don Cheng
Photography: Don Cheng
Published: June 30, 2016
It’s hard to imagine that it was only twenty years ago when the Japanese automotive industry was in its heydays. As enthusiasts we don our rose tinted glasses and view the late 80’s and 90’s as some of the best from the big players in Japan. After all, this was the time of the R32 GT-Rs, FC/FD RX-7s, and Supras.
Today, only the GT-R lives on. Mazda’s rotary platform hasn’t seen revival since the last RX-8 rolled off the lot four years ago and well…don’t even get me started on the Supra. Only Nissan has committed to keeping the fun alive in their cars – an ethos that spans across their entire product range, and then some. That’s right, even Infiniti gets a little bit (okay, a lot) of Nissan’s desire for better driving dynamics.
Enter the QX60, Infiniti’s entrant in the seven-passenger mid-size luxury segment. If the body looks familiar, that’s because it has been around since 2013 as the JX35. After Infiniti’s bizarre restructuring of its entire fleet nomenclature, the JX name was dropped in favour of QX, but the body remained largely unchanged.
For 2016 the crossover has received a small nip tuck on the outside with a slightly reshaped front fascia that shows off the redesigned headlights, LED fog lamps, and the lower air intake grill. Out back, the tail lamps have been massaged to flow better with the overall design language.
The inside has seen some minor changes as well, chief being a newly designed shift knob mimicking the silhouette of a diamondback rattlesnake. It looks like a platform isn’t the only thing the QX60 shares with the Nissan Pathfinder as several interior design elements are present in both.
Depending on who you ask, this may be a good or bad thing, but Infiniti has done a phenomenal job keeping the cabin classy without feeling like every button and knob was sourced from the Nissan spare parts bin. For example, the embossed air vents that I highly praised in the Pathfinder make a welcome return in the QX60.
Moreover, when you find yourself in the back seat on a sunny day, you might take a moment and notice that the majority of the panoramic moonroof sits behind the second row seating. Why? Presumably because there was no space to move it forward while still allowing the sunroof to slide open.
Interior nitpicks aside, we were quite impressed with the QX60’s performance. Under the hood rests Nissan’s 3.5-litre V6 motor. The venerable VQ motor has been around for over a decade now but still remains relevant today. Producing 265 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque, it’s more than capable of lugging the 2,049 kg car up to speed in the city, but the crossover’s heft is an aspect that the car just can’t shake.
Highway passes require further tip in of the throttle but the motor responds with a fair amount of urgency and will “downshift” when required. I quite enjoyed the higher RPM ranges where the motor evoked memories of the old 350Z and Infiniti G35 (both of which used the same motor).
Sending all of that power via Infiniti’s Intelligent AWD is the company’s ubiquitous CVT. Though this unit has received the “D-Step shift logic” update, I found the Altima’s implementation a more convincing imitation of a traditional automatic. Mash the throttle and the revs tend to hang just a hair too long before the CVT “shifts”, dissolving any illusions of a torque converter automatic.
It’s clear from the moment you drive the big SUV that the brand has done some work to make the QX60 sharper and handle a bit better around the bends. However, despite their best efforts, the results are far from the physics defying SUVs available elsewhere on the market (that’s you, BMW X5 M).
The QX60’s steering is responsive and immediate but not very communicative and far too light. While the ride certainly felt firmer than before, the body roll was still immense under heavy cornering. Likewise, the front end decided to push out quickly too. That isn’t to say all the engineers work were for nought.
Drive it regular speeds and the QX60 retains its composure well and offers a firm but comfortable ride around town. The suspension has both a soft side and a lively side. However, it's best to view the QX60 from a comfort standpoint rather than a corner-carving one.
Priced out at $62,661, the QX60 offers all of the perks you would expect from a modern day mid-size luxury crossover. All of the pre-requisite safety nannies for a car of this size are available. Options like Infiniti’s blind spot monitoring, pre-collision avoidance braking, lane keeping assists, and rear cross traffic alert all keep a steadfast watchful eye on the road ahead (even when you don’t).
In an era where manufacturers do their best to minimize costs and squeeze profit, it’s rare to see a company stick with their original design ethos of sport and luxury. In the QX60’s case, kudos goes to Infiniti for at least trying to keep things engaging and fun, though the execution felt far from what they could’ve done. Who ever said SUVs were supposed to handle like a sports car anyways? The QX60 instead feels geared towards delivering a plush ride whilst delivering a few hints of driving pleasure when pushed to its limits.
With a strong feature set, top notch build quality, and a price that undercuts other competitors on the market like the Acura MDX and Lexus RX 350, the QX60 just might have what it takes to tide customers over until the release of a newer model with updated interior styling and tech.
型号 Model: 2016 Infiniti QX60
顏色 Paint Type: Hermosa Blue
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $47,400
試車售價 Price as Tested: $63,780
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 2,900
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 4,989 / 1,960 / 1,747
車重 Curb weight (kg): 2,049
引擎 Engine: 3.5-litre V6
最大馬力 Horsepower: 265 hp @ 6,400 rpm
最高扭力 Torque: 248 lb-ft @ 4,400 rpm
波箱 Transmission: CVT
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, AWD
油耗 Fuel Consumption ( City / Highway ) L/100km: 12.2 / 8.9
油耗 Observed Fuel Consumption (L/100km): 12.3
輪胎尺碼 Tires: 235/55R20