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.