On the week where golfers give way to drivers of a different sort on the 18th fairway in Pebble Beach, Nissan’s upscale brand Infiniti unveiled a new concept vehicle that reveals the marque’s new design language.
Dubbed the QX Monograph, it’s a handsomely chiseled SUV, with a face that updates the facial features first seen on the 2019 Infiniti Qs Inspiration sports sedan concept.
“We approach each Infiniti design from the perspective of an artwork, with the aim of evoking emotion and intrigue” said Alfonso Albaisa, senior vice president of global design. “The QX Monograph presented a sizable canvas for us to explore Infiniti’s artistry at maximum scale and create something bold.”
Infiniti says that the QX Monograph was inspired by Japanese design philosophies of “Ma,” the mastery of empty space; “Utsuroi,” the mastery of seamless transitions; and “Kabuku,” meaning “provocative and extraordinary.”
Nevertheless, while the QX Monograph’s basic elements, such as the narrow horizontal from lighting and grille outline are similar to those of the Qs Inspiration, many of the details have been artfully updated. Whereas the sedan suggested a grille outline, the QX Monograph fills it with a design the echoes that of the Infiniti logo, which has been given a fresh three-dimensional appearance, while adding a sense of movement as well. The grille’s double-arch texture continues through the front lighting and is echoed in the rear lighting as well.
The sculpted hood retains the brand’s familiar shape, but its more sculpted form flows into the QX Monograph’s shoulders, lending it a strong, confident stance as it dips slightly along the side before reasserting its shape over the rear haunches.
It’s astute and elegant in a way that Infiniti design hasn’t been for far too long.
Sweating the details
But look closer, and you’ll find the QX Monograph to be a compelling concept.
Designers found inspiration for the grille texture in a bamboo forest in an echo of the brand’s initial rock and trees ad campaign. But its vertical nature lends the front end a semblance of visual strength. LED lighting has been split, with the daytime running lights placed horizontally bracket the top of the grille, while the headlights are positioned lower in the front fender, an increasingly common design strategy that lends designers greater freedom to concoct distinct visual identities.
Another common design element, one nicked from Range Rover, is the functional front fender vent that reiterates the inner grille mesh pattern and is finished in black to contrast the vehicle’s paint color.
As you might expect from LED lighting on a luxury vehicle, it’s designed with animated “welcome” and “farewell” light sequences, as well as a large panoramic roof, composed of the same “Kimono fold” pattern used throughout the vehicle.
It’s all finished in a color Infiniti has dubbed Akane, a complex, six-layer paint that’s meant to evoke “a warm glowing red sunset as it transitions into a dark night sky.” Red-tinted window glass a gloss black roof, and gloss black and shadow chrome wheels with red accents accentuate the paint’s unique hue.
While company officials haven’t said so, it’s not hard to see that the QX Monograph is a compelling design preview of forthcoming luxury SUVs, one that’s far more compelling than anything the brand has built in years.