With few signs of any slowdown in the utility vehicle boom, Infiniti is getting ready to add another model to its line-up, the automaker offering a vague tease of the new QX55 model during its appearance at the annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
Nissan’s luxury brand offered up only a terse statement and a vaguely defined sketch of what will come to market next year, though it is obvious that the QX55 will adopt the increasingly popular coupe-crossover design form that has been fleshing out the line-ups of competitors like BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
“Customers will appreciate the distinctive design of the QX55 which features a sporty coupe-like roofline,” said Mike Colleran, Infiniti’s vice chairman. The QX55, “is a stunning new SUV coupe in the heart of one of the industry’s fastest growing segments, globally.”
Infiniti actually was one of the first to market with a coupe-like shape, something that debuted with the original FX crossover. Later renamed the QX70, it quietly vanished from the line-up at the end of the 2017 model-year.
But competitors – especially the Germans — have aggressively been filling in the space it left vacant. The new model designation suggests the QX55 will be slightly smaller than the old QX70, which likely will position it against the likes of the BMW X4 and Mercedes-Benz GLC.
The final production version of the QX55 is all but certain to pick up on the design cues of the QX Inspiration Concept that debuted at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit last January.
At the time of the launch, Christian Meunier, then the brand’s chairman and president said, “The Infiniti QX Inspiration marks the beginning of a new generation of Infiniti cars and establishes a direct blueprint for the brand’s first electric vehicle.”
It’s too soon to know whether we might be surprised by what will power the QX55. The brand clearly has a pure battery-electric offering in the works, though it’s unclear if that will be the new coupe-crossover.
The automaker has a few different options for the new model. These include the VC-Turbo, Infiniti’s breakthrough variable-compression engine. It could also opt for a plug-in hybrid system, one that could pair the VC with a battery-drive sy
Meunier was a strong advocate of battery technology, and though now gone, there seems little doubt Infiniti will continue moving in that direction. Significantly, Hiroto Saikawa, the CEO of parent Nissan Motor Co., laid out plans for a dramatic shift in strategy in 2018, declaring that Infiniti, “will have a specific focus on electrification,” and will position itself as “the premier electrified brand” as part of a transition extending through 2022.
If, in fact, the QX55 does go all-electric, it would wind up positioned against vehicles like the Audi e-tron, the Jaguar I-Pace and the upcoming Tesla Model Y.
We should get more details in the months to come, the Infiniti QX55 set to arrive at U.S. showrooms “in the summer of 2020,” the automaker said Friday.