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The all-new Infiniti QX80 is a smart-looking brute

This bruiser of an SUV ditches acute angles for gentle curves

The QX80 is the largest and most luxurious member of the Infiniti family. PHOTO FROM INFINITI

Carmakers these days are giving their SUVs the retro treatment, which is what consumers apparently want these days. The Lego-brick look certainly harks back to what off-roaders used to look like. But not everyone subscribes to that train of thought. In the case of Infiniti, it has given its all-new QX80 an appearance that makes it a bit of a gentle giant.

There is nothing really excessive about the design. PHOTOS FROM INFINITI

The QX80 sits on top of Infiniti’s hierarchy and competes directly with the likes of the Lexus LX. But instead of a spindle-shaped mouth that could swallow superminis, the former has a face that appears like Nick Offerman’s mustache. It’s not really something that would have observers craning their necks for, but this car will demand respect wherever it goes.

Infiniti is clearly not trying anything drastic as the QX80 has the classic luxury-SUV profile. Rather, designers have concentrated on smaller details in its design. One good example is the piano-key theme on the front and rear light assemblies, which “dance” when the vehicle is approached with the key fob. The Infiniti logo is also illuminated to break up the monotony of the Offerman mustache.

This car will do a light show when you approach it with the key fob. PHOTOS FROM INFINITI

Soft-touch materials fill the cabin, which is to be expected. The QX80 can accommodate seven or eight occupants depending on the trim level. Both first- and second-row seats have built-in massagers, and the third-row seats are heated. Upper-spec vehicles can even sense passenger temperatures and automatically direct warm or cool air as required.

The dashboard has two configurable 14.3-inch displays for the gauges and the infotainment system. The latter runs on Google and can respond to Google Assistant voice commands. Standard across the range is a Klipsch sound system with 14 or 24 speakers, depending on the variant. Those who choose to use their own devices can find USB-C ports in every row.

All three rows have heated seats. PHOTOS FROM INFINITI

Under the hood, the QX80 has ditched its thirsty V8 in favor of a twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6. The VR35DDTT engine is rated at 450hp and 702Nm, so it won’t be a slouch when getting off the line. This is paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission that Infiniti claims will deliver significant gains in fuel efficiency.

There is a variety of configurable drive modes, and all but the base variant is equipped with air suspension. It can vary the ride height automatically to suit prevailing road conditions, and it can even lower the QX80 close to the ground to allow easy access to the cabin. In the interest of improving the driving experience, power steering is now electric.

Klipsch sound systems are among the best in the business. PHOTOS FROM INFINITI

The standard ProPilot Assist 1.1 driver aids include automatic collision detection and braking, blind-spot monitors, and lane-departure warning, to name a few. Its adaptive cruise control can even intervene when approaching curves or highway off-ramps. Buyers can opt to upgrade to the ProPilot Assist 2.1 system, which can be left to its own devices in certain driving conditions.

The twin-turbo V6 comes from the same series of engines that power the Nissan Z. PHOTO FROM INFINITI

The QX80 has six variants with prices ranging from $82,450 to $110,595 (P4.62 million to P6.19 million). It will go on sale in the US in the second half of this year. The car’s physical debut will be at the New York International Auto Show on March 29 to April 7. This car might just be a sneak peek of the upcoming Nissan Patrol.

Miggi Solidum

Professionally speaking, Miggi is a software engineering dude who happens to like cars a lot. And as an automotive enthusiast, he wants a platform from which he can share his motoring thoughts with fellow petrolheads. He pens the column ‘G-Force’.