Infiniti Doubles Down on Luxe ICE with 2025 QX80

Infiniti is launching an all-new QX80 SUV, an all-new luxury SUV with an old-school non-electrified powertrain.

David Kiley, Senior Editor

June 26, 2024

5 Min Read
The QX80 vies against Cadillac Escalade, Jeep Wagoneer and Lincoln Navigator.

NAPA VALLEY, CA – Infiniti is out to truly put its big luxury 2025 QX80 into the same conversation with Cadillac Escalade, Lincoln Navigator and Jeep Wagoneer. Mission accomplished.

The new QX80 is a big, ICE-only, 3-row plush SUV that can tow boats and trailers and has fuel economy that will make EV lovers weep tears of disgust. But it is nonetheless a more than respectable, if imperfectly executed, rich person’s SUV.

The new QX80 is bigger and plusher than the former model, and it has got a new power train to push it down the road. A 3.5L twin-turbo V-6, derived from the Nissan GT-R’s powerplant, replaces the dated 5.6L V-8. Horsepower has increased by 50 ponies and torque is up 103 lb.-ft. (139 Nm) for a total of 450 hp and 516 lb.-ft. (697 Nm).

Replacing the SUV’s 7-speed automatic transmission is a 9-speed that Infiniti says improves EPA-estimated fuel economy for rear-wheel drive models by 12%; rear-wheel drive models are 16 mpg city, 20 mpg highway, and 18 mpg (14.7/11.8/13 L/100 km) combined, while all-wheel-drive trims are estimated to achieve 15/19/17 mpg (15.7/12.4/13.0 L/100 km), respectively.

Driving the QX80 around Napa Valley makes one feel like driving an Alfa Romeo around Tuscany. The big, comfortable, nattily appointed SUV seems just the ticket for a winery owner driving the two hours and back to San Francisco for business meetings. Acceleration is smooth and if the road is clean, the greater torsional and lateral stiffness, compared with the old model, gives the impression of driving a shorter vehicle. But as soon as the road becomes bumpy or wavy, the body-on-frame SUV turns seriously jouncy.

That is a bit surprising given the investment in suspension management. All but the base Pure trim comes fitted with Infiniti’s Electronic Air Suspension and Dynamic Digital Suspension; the DDS monitors the vehicle’s motion to apply damping. Something is amiss, at least in the pre-production upper trim Autograph editions we tested, as the side-to-side stability control was a mess (hopefully this can be improved with software updates).

There are multiple drive modes to select – Standard, Eco, Sport, Snow, Tow and a customizable Personal mode. Here is where it gets hinky between a vehicle tester/evaluator and someone who buys the vehicle and will drive it for at least a few years. There is a dedicated button to change modes included among several buttons at the bottom of a 9-in. (22.8-cm) screen in front of the double/split console. But the button to control it is the furthest away from the driver. That seems like a poor UX decision. The modes should perhaps be changeable with a piece of switchgear all its own. Sport mode firmed up the ride when we drove around the hills of Napa Valley, compared with the Standard mode’s perfectly stable, adequate ride on the flats.

The comfort and aesthetics inside cabin is the reason to buy the QX80. The Autograph edition, which costs 24% more than the previous top-of-the line QX at $112,590, comes with a wide-view camera, as well as a superior Klipsch Reference Premiere sound system, complete with driver’s seat-specific individual audio, which allows, among other things, for the driver to make a hands-free phone call and be able to hear while the music plays on. The caller does not hear the music playing in cabin. We are told this is a “thing” that families with kids want, but I found taking a call without muting the music distracting and unpleasant. The Klipsch system is as good or better than similar, competing systems from Bose and Bang & Olufsen, but I’d say it’s a tick better.

Department of Interior

The QX80 interior surfaces are sublime. The quality of the stitching of the leather on the dash, quilting of the seat surfaces and the hard surfaces, which look reminiscent of granite are where Infiniti design excels, creating a visual harmony. The Sensory and Autograph trims have a built-in dashcam that automatically records traffic events/accidents.

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Like a lot of new vehicles, there are some answers to questions nobody was asking, like the biometric cooling also found in the top two trims. The infrared sensor detects when a second-row passenger is overheated and automatically sets the rear-seat climate control to maximum cooling. This is probably for kids in car seats. Otherwise, it just seems like a weird indulgence.

The driver-assist features are plenty and at this point fairly standard across automakers as you get above the $50,000 line: blind spot monitoring that works when towing a trailer up to 33 ft. (100 m) long; ProPilot Assist is here in both hands-off and hands-on applications. The more advanced ProPilot Assist 2.1 has two-mode lane-change capability; initiate a lane change by signaling and then let the car make the steering and throttle inputs. When we used it, it felt a bit jerky.

Cargo space has grown to 22 cu.-ft. (623 L) behind the third-row seat, 59 cu.-ft. (1,671 L), with the third row folded flat, and 101 cu.-ft. (2,860 L) with both rows down and the ladder or kayak in the back. Going to drive through a brook or washed-out road on the way to the summer cottage? The air suspension travels nearly 3 in. (76 mm) for fording or lowering it.

The QX80 is 1 in. (25.4 mm) longer overall than the old model at 211.2 ins. (5,364 mm). It's also a few inches wider and a couple inches taller, but its 120.0-in. (3,048-mm) wheelbase is the same. The Autograph top-of-the-line has an exclusive 2-tone roof, dark chrome exterior trim, ash wood and partially hand-stitched leather upholstery.

The dual 14.3-in. (36.3-cm) touchscreens fill up the driver’s dashboard view, flowing together with a head-up display to augment those command centers. The infotainment features an Android-based operating system with Google's built-in app store, voice assistant and maps. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also on the menu. There are eight USB-C outlets.

As with an increasing number of new vehicles, there is a light show; customizable ambient lighting, which involves parts of the doors and dashboard. There’s also an illuminated INFINITI emblem facing the front passenger.

The 2025 QX80 starts at $84,445 including $1,995 for destination, but the top Autograph 4WD trim you see here starts at $112,590. These prices are fairly big jumps from what this SUV used to cost – base versus base, it’s an 11% price hike while the six-figure Autograph QX80 is 24% more expensive than the previous top trim.

Check out the WardsAuto Podcast with Infiniti brand chief Craig Keeys.

Infiniti Looks For Relevance in the BEV Era

About the Author(s)

David Kiley

Senior Editor, WardsAuto

David Kiley is an award winning journalist. Prior to joining WardsAuto, Kiley held senior editorial posts at USA Today, Businessweek, AOL Autos/Autoblog and Adweek, as well as being a contributor to Forbes, Fortune, Popular Mechanics and more.

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