|Subtle new styling details modernize the QX70 for 2017. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
When its predecessor and this second-generation model were created in 2002 and 2009 respectively, Infiniti followed all premium “rules” to a tee and then some, while most competitors took the cheaper, easier route of basing their luxury branded SUVs on mainstream mid-size family sedans. The original QX70 was formed on the back of the Q60 sports coupe’s predecessor, which continues to share underpinnings with Nissan’s 370Z sports car, and in essence became the industry’s first sport utility coupe, much to BMW’s disagreement.
|Always a looker, the QX70 was the original sport utility coupe. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
Canada’s “SUC” sales aren’t much different, although the X6 sold much better here per capita last year with 1,178 deliveries compared to 481 QX70s. Acura’s best
|QX70 performance matches its sporty appearance. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
If you’re thinking QX70 numbers are low, take a look at the same class of four-door sedan and you’ll quickly see that even these slow-selling SUVs are doing significantly better,
|A new mesh grille design is standard across the QX70 line. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
On thing’s for sure, at six years since its mid-cycle update and nine since this second-gen version arrived it’s certainly paid for itself, and being that it’s a relative rarity on the road it still looks new and fresh, at least to my eyes. It helps that Infiniti pushed the styling limits when it debuted,
|The QX70’s scalloped headlamps have always been standout design details. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
Yes, few vehicles get two mid-cycle updates within a model lifecycle, but Infiniti has smartly given the QX70 a subtle refresh for 2017. While only the grille and front fascia are affected the changes make a big difference, with the double-arched grille insert going from four chromed strakes to a nice glossy dark grey metallic mesh, and the lower fascia totally renewed with horizontal LED fog lamps replacing the big chrome-ringed ovals, plus a sharp looking metallic undertray spanning the space in between. Together with two of the most uniquely shaped headlamp clusters in the industry, four of the most beautiful pewter-grey multi-spoke 21-inch alloys in existence, stylish dark clear lensed LED taillights, and
|New Limited trim boasts a unique metallic lower fascia undertray and horizontal LED fog lamps. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
The 21-inch wheels, revised front fascia, and dark-tint taillights are actually part of a completely new range-topping trim level dubbed Limited, the more basic QX70 models sticking with smaller rims and the old round fogs embedded within a matte black lower fascia panel. Additional Limited upgrades include body-colour fender vents on the outside, and absolutely stunning two-tone black and light “stone” grey diamond-quilted upholstery inside. Really, my QX70 Limited tester had me hot and flustered at first sight, a good thing that its perforated hides can be cooled by forced ventilation, while its similarly quilted black leather door inserts and centre armrest, stunning
|The QX70 Limited’s details catch the eye. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
Truly, it’s hard to imagine something that looks so aggressively sculpted and overtly muscular from the outside being so luxuriously refined inside, but Infiniti has taken the QX70 Limited to new limits, so to speak. I’m not going to pretend it’s as up-to-date as the Germans when it comes to electronics, this a weak spot that I might as well get out of the way immediately. While the Japanese luxury brand pulls no punches when it comes to Bentley-esque luxury, with most areas not already surfaced in leather, wood, piano black lacquer or metal, finished in high-quality
|Grey-painted multi-spoke 21-inch alloys to die for. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
Ahead of the driver is a classic two-dial gauge package that admittedly still looks good thanks to backlit electroluminescent meters, but its small, monochromatic trip computer won’t win anyone over who’s ever used any sort of smartphone. The infotainment system on the centre stack is comparatively well done, with generally appealing graphics, good crisp definition, nice depth of colour and contrast, and decent functionality. It features navigation, an excellent backup camera that splits the screen into a rearward view on the left and overhead view on the right, both providing dynamic guidelines for visible parking assist. The system is missing some features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but it should
|Dark lensed LED taillights are standard on Sport and Limited trims. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
The fact that my eyes more readily landed on the analog clock just below says a lot, however, about my love of horology and the QX70’s link to the past, its unique elliptical case shape reminiscent of Davidoff’s “Very Zino” collection of well-made albeit unorthodox mechanical watches. Really, Infiniti should consider a co-branded effort with Davidoff, as the two brands are comparative startups when placed beside industry stalwarts such as Mercedes-Benz and Rolex, plus their wonderfully individualistic designs and impressive build quality would be a good match.
|A black and "stone" grey duo-tone interior that will leave you slack-jawed. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
Many of the segment’s expected features are present with the well-priced $53,990 base model, including auto on/off HID headlights, proximity-sensing access, pushbutton ignition, stainless steel treadplates, aluminum foot pedals, power-folding heatable side mirrors with courtesy lights, speed-sensitive variable-intermittent flat-blade wipers, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, a powered tilt and telescopic steering column, dual-zone auto climate control, a rearview camera, 11-speaker Bose audio with satellite radio, Bluetooth hands-free phone
|Few SUVs offer as plush a cabin. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
Mid-range Sport trim, at $60,950, adds a different set of 21-inch wheels, an auto-dimming rearview mirror with an integrated HomeLink garage door opener, a larger 8-inch infotainment touchscreen with voice recognition, navigation and XM NavTraffic, the 360-degree parking monitor with moving object detection, front and rear parking sensors, a black headliner, and more, all of which are pulled up to Limited trim, although specific to the Sport are cornering headlights with auto-leveling, exclusive front sport seats with manual thigh extensions, four-way powered side bolster-adjustment for the driver’s seat, and plenty of dark exterior trim.
|The QX70’s most glaring weakness is a dated looking multi-info display. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
The only available option is a $3,500 Technology package for Sport and Limited trims that adds cornering headlights with auto-leveling, adaptive cruise control with full-speed range, rain-sensing wipers, intelligent brake assist with forward collision warning, lane departure warning and lane departure prevention, and front pre-crash seatbelts. Still, together with the previously noted electronic omissions a fully loaded QX70 lacks a number of now common top-tier features such as full LED
|The large infotainment touchscreen includes a superb 360-degree surround parking camera. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
It’s certainly not missing out on power, however, the QX70’s standard engine a 3.7-litre V6 good for 325 horsepower, although its 267 lb-ft of torque seems a bit low compared to most of the segment’s turbocharged powertrains. Infiniti could remedy this shortcoming with its new twin-turbo 3.0-litre that’s already tuned to achieve 400 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque in top trim, this potentially silencing QX70 fans missing the 390 horsepower 5.0-litre V8 that was discontinued
|We love the QX70’s elliptical analog clock. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
As it is the QX70 feels plenty energetic out on the road, with its standard ATTESA ET-S (Advanced Total Traction Engineering System for All-Terrain with Electronic Torque Split) all-wheel drive system, first developed for the Skyline GT-R that has since transformed into the all-conquering Godzilla (aka GT-R), also a Nissan FM (front-midships) rear-wheel drive platform like the QX70. ATTESA ET-S apportions torque to the wheels with the best traction, with up to 50-percent of twist going to
|A sporty shifter is joined by heated and cooled seat controls, beautiful quilted upholstery and a gorgeous aluminum flake surface treatment. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
That’s where its impressive seven-speed automatic comes into play, the only transmission of its type to incorporate Adaptive Shift Control (ASC) and Drive Sport (DS) mode with Downshift Rev Matching (DRM), the latter technology automatically synchronizing engine revs to a chosen lower gear in order to ideally mesh the two together, similar to how a driving pro blips the throttle while downshifting a manual gearbox ahead of a curve. The result is superior control that doesn’t need much if any direct engagement by the driver, a good thing as Infiniti
|These seats are fabulous looking and extremely comfortable. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
This is an SUV that sport sedan fans will feel right at home in, the seating position even finding a happy medium between taller utes and lower-slung cars resulting in
|Second row has plenty of room for three. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
It’s a bit short on rear cargo space, mind you, but once again only when compared to conventional five-passenger SUVs. The numbers read 702 litres (24.8 cubic feet) behind the 60/40-split second row, which is a helluvalot more capacity than a Q60 or any other type of sports coupe, and nearly twice as much as an equivalent sport sedan, while none of the above can hope to measure up to the QX70’s 1,755 litres (62.0 cubic feet) of available hauling space when those seats are laid flat. The X6, for instance, provides just 580 litres (20.5 cubic feet) behind
|The QX70’s cargo hold is the largest in the sport utility coupe class. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
The rear seating area plays out in a similar scenario, being slightly smaller than conventional SUVs and similar if not larger than its more coupe-like competitors, especially when it comes to rear headroom. When the driver’s seat was positioned for my five-foot-eight frame I had about five inches in front of my knees and a good five-to-six above my head, while there was plenty of space from side to side. Additionally there was easily enough room for three across, because the centre position wasn’t raised too high, the QX70 being a true five-seater. There’s still a tunnel
|Can you think of another sport coupe that can haul this much? The QX70 has always been a smart performance alternative. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
As you can probably tell I love this iconic road warrior, and I really like what Infiniti has done with this top-line Limited edition. I think they should have included some of the features standard with Sport trim, particularly the paddle shifters, but as noted the transmission does an excellent job of picking the right shift points all on its own and the shift lever offers manual control if you prefer taking over, while combining Sport and Limited upgrades would increase the asking price beyond its very reasonable starting point. In comparison the X6 and GLE Coupe start at $16,910 and $24,010 more respectively, and quickly skyrocket when adding similar features as my QX70 tester, making this Infiniti a much better value.
Of course, that’s nothing new, the Japanese brand normally priced much more competitively than its German and even Japanese competitors. If you want something truly different and plenty exclusive, that’ll make peoples’ heads turn as you drive by, the new QX70 Limited is a standout SUV that deserves your attention.
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