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2011 Infiniti QX56

Jeff Glucker August 10, 2010 Infiniti Reviews, Road Test Reviews 35 Comments

Remember those guys in high school who were always faster and stronger than you? Odds are they have gotten heavier and rounder since the “good ‘ole days”. Odds are also good that a few of them, despite the added bulk of beer-enhanced physiques and the physical toll that comes with aging, they are probably still faster and stronger.

The 2011 Infiniti QX56 is a full-size luxury SUV which has been redesigned and is now in its second generation. It has gone from a sharply-angled, powerful box and turned into a rounded, slightly bulbous behemoth. It’s “grown up” a bit on the inside, looks like it weighs more, and fills out the sheet metal a little more tightly. However, it can still kick your ass down the road and feels like a sports car from behind the driver’s seat.

Finally blending in with the rest of the family, the 2011 Infiniti QX56 adopts the fluid lines that the rest of the family wear now that the 2011 M started going to the same tailor. There is now no mistaking the QX56 as any other vehicle. The design stands alone in this class and I believe it to be a polarizing one. You are either going to love it or hate it…and personally, I love it. The proportions are all correct for a vehicle of this size and all the lines flow beautifully. The grille seems to be slammed into the front end while the large headlights arch back into the plus-size fenders. The window frame appears to be stretched backward and shaped by the wind, while the blacked out pillars give the whole upper section of the QX56 a tinted greenhouse appearance. The one misstep on the exterior however, is the chromed fender vent. Either paint it black or get rid of it all together. It doesn’t need to be there as the curvature of the body helps keep the eye moving while the vent does just the opposite.

Since the QX56 is a full-fledged luxury SUV, it has to have a well-outfitted interior space. It does…and then some. Dark leather and rich wood fill the front of the cabin, creating a warm and rather comfortable environment. All the modern tech goodies are present and accounted for including the standard AroundView™ monitor system which helps provide me with views from any angle I need. This is a plus since that shapely window frame, which looks great outside, provides quick a view blocker in the form of the wide D-pillar. The second row of seats recline a bit which helps promote the comforting atmosphere throughout the cabin. If my rear seat passengers get tired of my droning, they can pop on the Bose headphones and watch a movie. The 13-speaker, dual subwoofer sound system provides an excellent auditory experience for anyone not using the headphones. This is exactly the type of vehicle you want to be in on long trips.

The exterior is finally up to date and the interior is world-class luxurious, but the best part of the all-new 2011 Infiniti QX56 is easily the new power plant under the hood. Infiniti has created a new version of their 5.6L V8 engine which is a direct-injection unit that provides 25% more power and 10% better fuel economy than the old model. Helping with those fuel-economy numbesr are the weight and the new transmission. Earlier I said it looks heavier but this is not the case. The 4WD unit is actually 161 lbs lighter than the outgoing QX. Also, the previous QX56 employed a five-speed automatic while the 2011 receives a seven-speed unit with adaptive shift control and downshift rev matching. This redesigned leviathan is now propelled down the road rather briskly thanks to 400 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque, and it’s capable of towing up to 8,500 lbs when equipped correctly. You would think a luxury automaker wants to keep things quiet but that is not the case here. The QX56 isn’t loud but Infiniti did not cover up the glorious noises their new engine produces. For those folks that are not fans of the mechanical tune produced by the smaller VQ engines (370Z/G37), then you will love the V8 bellow heard here. For a nearly 6,000 lb beast, the 2011 Infiniti QX56 gets up and devours the road.

The sensation of speed is always cranked a few notches when hurtling down the highway in a full-size SUV. The QX, however, has a responsive feel to the steering which is very welcome in this application. Further aiding in the confidence are the large (13.8″ discs front and rear) brakes and the new Hydraulic Body Motion Control system. The HBMC reduces lean during cornering thanks to a system of hydraulic chambers which are cross-linked to allow the fluid to flow from one side to the other. This controls suspension travel at each shock absorber and works to counteract body lean. The result is a smooth and comfortable ride at 8 or 80.

The 2011 Infiniti QX56 is a true pleasure both behind the wheel or in any of the seven (or, with the optional 2nd row bench, eight) seats. It manages to by stand-out stylish even when it conjures up Chris Farley’s classic fat-guy-in-a-little-coat scene. It’s an older, more mature QX56 yet it better, stronger, and faster as well. With new content, a new engine, and a new exterior style, you would expect the 2011 Infiniti QX56 to be priced higher than the last model. You would also be wrong. The price is the same as the previous generation QX56 with theMSRPs of the RWD starting at $56,700 and the 4WD starting at $59,800. Everything about this Japanese battleship has it competing with the best that Germany has to offer.

As I said before, I think the opinions of the masses regarding the style are going to be split down the middle between love or hate. One thing we can all agree on however, the blend of power and luxury found in the 2011 Infiniti QX56 are top notch and should leave ze Germans feeling a little erschrocken.

  • SSurfer321

    Anytime I see these behemoths, all I can picture is
    <img src="http://drivemomcrazy.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/staypuft-marshmallow-man.jpg"&gt;

  • dmilligan

    When I first saw the lead picture of the article, I though "Jeezuz, that's an exceptionally ugly PT Cruiser. New model?". Then I saw the logo and now I'm even more confused. Maybe I'll go back to bed and try waking up again.

  • Manic_King

    So…those designers at Nissan looked at low quality photos of beemers and Bang, great idea: let's use Bangle butt as basis for front end on our new luxury SUV! Sorry, it's hideous IMHO. Probably ugliest non-exotic new car available at the moment.

    • I feel like you either hate it or love it…and I really love it.

      Before I saw it in person, I thought it was going to be terrible…but I don't feel that way after hanging out with it for a week. However, I can see why some folks would not like it at the same time.

      • Losing the cowl vents would go a long way toward de-vomiting this car. Truck. Thing.

  • What is that yellow thing you are about to back over?

    Good photography Jeff. These are some really good pictures.

    • Haha, thanks…

      That is actually a DVD playing. If anyone can guess the movie I will be impressed.

      • SVT2888

        Is it "Love the Beast"?

        • Yes

          • SVT2888

            How many internets do I get for that?

            I've seen it quite a few times on Net Flix as it hits close to home… :-/

      • joshuman

        I performed a Google search on a yellow Porsche 911 and have come to the conclusion that a lot of people are interested in something called Twilight: New Moon. Since yours proudly wears some numbers on it, I know you weren't watching that…

        Incidentally, I found this <a href="http://www.IMCDb.org” target=”_blank”>www.IMCDb.org site where you can search movies for cars or cars for movies. Nifty!

  • tonyola
  • UDman

    I saw this thing at the New York International Auto Show, and it was repulsive. Probably the most repulsive (can I use the same word twice?) vehicle in the whole show (and that is saying a lot!). They will ship out quite a few in its first season, then it will die a painful death. Just look at the Kia Borrego, or the Toyota Sequoia for examples. They sold well enough (maybe the Kia didn't, but so what) during their introductory year, but rapidly fell off the charts.

    • I see TONS of Sequoias though.

      It's funny you mention the Borrego, I reviewed one for "that other site which I hate" and really loved it…it is a modern throwback to the first SUVs in my opinion. Also, it is quite well-equipped for the price point. It is just that people were not yet ready to spend that much for a Kia.

      Also…I take it I am pretty much the only person who likes this car…hahaha

  • Especially the way the rear spoiler flows off the roof… good call.

  • omg_grip

    Your truck's so fat, you can find its picture in the dictionary next to the term "model bloat"!

    DISSSSSSSSSSS

  • grantlinderman

    The photographic quality here is high… though… that is probably the ugliest SUV ever created, bar none. And there are some really ugly SUVs out there. Nissan seems like they are really going for gold in the ugly department. I really just don't get it. And I really don't get that there are people out there that do.

  • smalleyxb122

    You are either going to love it or hate it

    Count me as another of the latter. It's like they decided to take ugly to a new level and succeeded, and in today's automotive landscape that's really saying something.

  • At least I am getting a laugh out of all the comments here… You guys are hilarious.

    I SWEAR that I had people tell me they thought it was cool looking when I had it.

  • rennsport964

    Jeff, are you sure you didn't pick that thing off the set of the live-live-action remake of Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

  • Deartháir

    Okay, here's my issue with this beast.
     
    We've already established that I'm not a huge fan of sport-utes. I'm required to like the Touareg and Tiguan, but even they don't really push my buttons that well. Everything a sport-ute can do can be done better by either a station wagon or a full-size truck, particularly since there are quad-cabs out there that are so capable as people-haulers in addition to all their other duties. For those half-dozen people out there who genuinely need to haul seven passengers, they should just buy a minivan. Let's face it, if you've created a family that big in this day and age, you've already given up on any pretense of being "cool", so why keep trying to pretend?
     
    But I digress.
     
    This thing is big, yes. Now normally that would be a mark in its favour for me. At least it fills a proper role, unlike most crossovers that would be better replaced by a regular station wagon. In this case, just… no. Why? The styling.
     
    I have the same beef with the Lexus IS; this thing appears to be a hodge-podge of styling lines that don't match up and don't work with each other. Look at the headlights, as an example. The inside vertical curve does not line up with the outside vertical curve of the grille. The top curve does not match the bottom styling line created by the hood. The curve of the hood itself does not appear to match the curve of the grille. The bottom of the headlights curve up, the bottom of the grille curves down, creating a horizontal "W" shape that isn't flattering.
     
    When coachbuilders are trying to create a high-end RV, they will often take headlights, taillights, mirrors and exterior trim from other cars on the market and somehow try and mount them in the existing body to save costs. This is what it looks like was done with the QX. It looks like they took a grille from a large pickup, headlights from a sports car, fender vents from a Buick and half the C- (or is it D-?) pillar from a hatchback, and created what looks like a small RV.
     
    But I'm sure for you, Jeff, it'll be just lovely. <3

  • Smells_Homeless

    You know those big guys who are now even bigger? Yeah, their foreheads will have grown too. Just like this.

  • Lotte

    Dark colours are supposed to be slimming, but it ain't working here! I think if I stood next to it, the side mirror would be at my head. I might even be able to walk under it. I'm 5'9. Those are a set of 24"s. They must be.

    • 22"s, short stuff…
      It is big though, just joking.

      • Lotte

        Hey, since when is 5'9 short? Just because I didn't hit the magical 6…

        : )

  • ptmeyer84

    Ugly as hell, but I do like the color. More automakers need to include a brown into their color schemes.

  • FuzzyPlushroom

    A squid eating dough in a polyethylene bag.

    • foreversincebreakfst

      …Is fast and bulbous!

      • FuzzyPlushroom

        And likewise to this Infiniti.

      • Number_Six

        +1 Captain Beefheart

  • 7shades

    I'm at a loss as to how anyone (most of all the people who designed it) could find this vehicle attractive.

    It looks to have been modelled from something surgically removed from Chris Bangle.

    This… Is a Nissan Patrol. The vehicle which the QX56 is based on. Pay particular attention to how much less repulsive it is.
    http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/12/20

  • dculberson

    I actually said "Damn that is ugly" out loud. I then searched the article for derisive comments about the car then saw you liked it. WOOF! Jeff, man, you have to stop drinking before writing these reviews. You are particularly prone to beer goggles.

    This looks like a refresh of a Ssangyong Rodius. I know everyone uses Ssangyong as their go-to example of an ugly car, but really – look at a Rodius and tell me this does not look like a newer one. It just does. It gets every styling cue wrong. I would be utterly shocked if this car is a long term success.

    <img src="http://photos.autoexpress.co.uk/images/front_picture_library_UK/dir_441/car_photo_220890_7.jpg"&gt;





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