Back in the early 2000s, Infiniti set the stage for crossovers that prioritized style over practicality. Today there are plenty of examples, now known as crossover coupes, from BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Land Rover, and even Porsche – not bad company. While the flame went out on the FX several years ago, Infiniti has rejoined the fray with the QX55 but has it done enough to stand out from the crowd as its spiritual forebearer did?
Because the crossover coupe is still a niche segment, automakers have relied on their more traditionally shaped models’ platforms to keep costs down. In that motion, the Infiniti QX55 pulls heavily from the recently debuted QX50, which is already stylish in its own right. In fact, the QX55 may be one of the most natural-looking crossover coupes available. Its shared panels are already shaped with big curves and strategically placed cut lines emphasize style over simplicity. The QX55 adds front and rear bumpers with subtle but effective differences yet the sloped roofline is what defines the coupe look.
Its shallow slope leads to a shortened rear window that transitions to a near-horizontal rear shelf. Its profile is made complete with the tall tailgate panel that effortlessly fills the space and looks premium and puts the punctuation mark on the styling-is-priority. From a side view, the coupe profile is further emphasized by a chrome strip of trim that arcs upward from the a-pillar and smoothly curves to the base of the C-pillar, making the modern link to the FX’s stylish profile of yesterday.
The interior is essentially identical to the QX50, which means it comes with all of its high-quality materials, clean designs, and a sculpted gear shifter that is worth putting in an automotive museum. However, it also means that the QX55 suffers from the same lack of front-row storage space, narrow cup holders, and dated infotainment graphics, however, in this crossover coupe arena, those shortcomings suddenly don’t seem as significant. And if one were to expect a compromised interior, think again as the rear seat is still comfortable for adults 6-feet and under and the cargo area is larger than just about any car (sedan, coupe, or hatchback) offered today.
Behind the large bright grille is a powertrain that’s got what it takes – at least on paper – with 268 horsepower, 280 lb-ft of torque, and an EPA-estimated 25 mpg combined. Those are an impressive set of figures, but when put to work in the real world, the super-trick variable compression ratio turbocharged four-cylinder engine sounds rough at mid and higher RPM and the CVT doesn’t help the matter. Its belt-and-pully nature may be more efficient than a traditional automatic transmission, but that is a compromise that most other manufacturers (and consumers) are willing to make for a more responsive and predictable acceleration feel. It’s what this engine (and customers paying $60k) deserves.
The slurred nature of the powertrain and the relatively soft suspension leave the QX55 destined for the open road. Body motions are well-controlled, impacts are sufficiently dampened, and the interior is hushed – that is, until the always-impressive Bose 16-speaker Performance Series sound system gets cranked up.
Transitioning the QX50 crossover into the QX55 crossover coupe doesn’t yield any dramatic revelations in terms of features or performance, rather, it’s all about styling. Where the FX was ahead of its time and unfairly pitted against the practical-minded crossovers, the QX55 arrives at a time where the compromise for styling is better accepted and compared against its own set of competitors, the QX55 out styles them all.
2022 Infiniti QX55 Sensory – The top-tier QX55 trim touches $60,000 and is equipped with all of the expected premium features such as soft semi-aniline leather seats with heating and ventilation, semi-autonomous driving assist, a head-up display, a surround-view camera, and adaptive headlights.
More information on trim levels and specifications can be found at www.carsdirect.com