2018 Infiniti QX80 gets a new face, more tech, better road manners

In a world of car-based crossovers, the 2018 Infiniti QX80 stands out. Based on the Nissan Armada, the QX80 is the Japanese luxury brand’s answer to luxury SUVs like the Land Rover Range Rover and Cadillac Escalade, and one of the last of the old school body-on-frame SUVs.

A thoroughly updated the QX80 unveiled at the 2017 Dubai Motor Show indicates that this old dog can still learn some new tricks. While crossovers may have the advantage when it comes to fuel economy and overall refinement, a more traditional SUV like the QX80 is still the way to go if you plan to do any serious towing or off-roading … or just want to drive a big, imposing vehicle.

The 2018 QX80 borrows some styling elements from the QX80 Monograph concept that debuted at the 2017 New York Auto Show earlier this year. An updated version of Infiniti’s trademark “double-arch” grille, as well as new headlights, give the QX80 a fresh look and visually tie it to other models in Infiniti’s lineup. The fender vents may look like unnecessary bling, but they actually help deliver more air to the engine, Infiniti says.

That engine is the same 5.6-liter V8 used in last year’s QX80. Output is unchanged at 400 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque, which is channeled to the wheels through a seven-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel drive is standard, with four-wheel drive optional. Infiniti claims the QX80 will do 0 to 62 mph in 7.5 seconds, reach a top speed of 130 mph, and tow up to 8,500 pounds when properly equipped.

Since the QX80 is based on the Nissan Armada, which in turn is a rebadged Nissan Patrol, genuine off-road capability is part of the package as well. Like all big SUVs, though, capability comes at the cost of fuel economy. The QX80 gets an EPA-rated 16 mpg combined with rear-wheel drive, and 15 mpg combined with four-wheel drive.

To make the QX80 feel like a luxury vehicle and not just a truck, Infiniti says it added soundproofing materials to make the cabin quieter, and retuned the suspension for a more comfortable ride. The optional rear-seat entertainment system now features larger screens and more input options, while the layout of dashboard buttons and icons on the main 8-inch touchscreen have been revised in an effort to make using the controls easier.

Like its Nissan Armada sibling, the QX80 gains a new streaming video rearview mirror for 2018. The device can act as a conventional mirror, or display feed from a rearview camera, increasing rearward visibility. A host of electronic driver aids are available, including adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, blind spot monitoring, forward autonomous emergency braking, and backup collision intervention.

The 2018 Infiniti QX80 will arrive in U.S. showrooms before the end of the year. Pricing starts at $65,745 with rear-wheel drive, and $68,845 with four-wheel drive. Both prices include a mandatory $995 destination charge.

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