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First Look: 2011 Infiniti QX56

“Arresting presence,” but will buyers agree?

by on Mar.31, 2010

Infiniti hopes to improve upon the minimal success of its original full-size luxury ute with the new 2011 Infiniti QX56

Nissan had big plans for its two full-sized SUVs, the Nissan Armada and Infiniti QX56.  Unfortunately, potential buyers didn’t agree, turning a cold shoulder to the twin offerings.  Now, with an all-new version of the big luxury ute, the Japanese maker is giving it another try.

Describing the new look as an “arresting presence,” the automaker’s Executive Vice President Carlos Tavares pulled the wraps off the 2011 Infiniti QX56 at the New York Auto Show, Wednesday, describing it as “the future of luxury SUVs.”

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Once again, the market will have to decide, but there’s no question the 2011 remake is a substantially more distinctive offering than the original model.  That, at least in part, is due to the fact that the 2011 Infiniti QX56 no longer shares the exact same platform as the Nissan Armada, allowing the luxury maker more flexibility in its design, which has at least a bit in common, visually, with the latest-generation Range Rover, including the new front fender louvers.

The 2011 Infiniti QX56 no longer shares the base platform -- and key body panels -- with Nissan's second-generation Armada.

Full-size truly means something with the 2011 Infiniti QX56, which boasts enough space for eight adults.  Even the third row features electrically-reclining seatbacks.

“Our goal,” said Tavares, “is to create the interior feel of a private jet.”

To achieve lift-off, the ’11 QX56 relies on a 400-horsepower, 5.6-liter, Direct-Injection V-8.  That’s 25% more horsepower than the old model, even though mileage is itself up 10%.  For those who might want to pull a boat or trailer, the new QX has a rated towing capacity of 8,500 pounds.

The interior of the 2011 Infiniti QX56 is markedly upgraded with lavish use of leather and wood.

As one would expect of a vehicle carrying a base price of $56,700 — $59,800 with the optional all-wheel-drive – the 2011 Infiniti QX56 is loaded with standard comfort, performance and safety features, including the new Hydraulic Body Motion System, which Infiniti claims can reduce body lean by 40%.  There’s a blind spot detection system, active cruise control, a new Distance Control Assist, lane change monitor, and optional dual 7-inch video screens for the rear seats.

The 2011 Infiniti QX56 will hit U.S. showrooms this coming Summer.