Infiniti trained the spotlight on its all-new QX55 in recent months, the coupe-like crossover expected to become one of the biggest additions to the line-up next year. But that doesn’t mean everything else will stay static. After pushing back the expected launch of the bigger QX60 due to the pandemic, we’re finally getting a first look at what will now be a 2022 model.
Infiniti offered a first tease of the next-generation QX60 in February, albeit without many key details. What we learned is that the new version will be motivated by a new 9-speed automatic transmission to pair with a carryover 3.5-liter V-6.
Infiniti has added a few more key details today, most notably the introduction of a new version of its Intelligent All-Wheel-Drive system. It will be quicker and more capable of operating under a broad range of traction-challenged conditions, the luxury brand claims.
“We listened to our customers and we wanted to deliver an all-new Infiniti QX60 that could perform with confidence in nearly all-weather conditions,” said Infiniti’s General Manager, Product Strategy and Planning Eric Rigaux. “Our newest Intelligent All-Wheel Drive exceeds our expectations with seamless power delivery, right when the driver expects it – or even before.”
QX60 Monograph concept
The “all-new,” three-row SUV gets a broad makeover for the coming model-year. It’s been heavily influenced by the Infiniti QX60 Monograph concept the automaker introduced last September.
You’ll have to squint a bit and use your imagination to get past the usual show car touches, of course, which likely will mean somewhat smaller wheels and less flashy headlights. The Monograph’s aero-flush door handles are all but certain to be replaced with more conventional handles. But the production 2022 Infiniti QX60 is expected to lift the overall shape and dimensions. Spy shots and these teaser images indicate the makeover will yield wider fenders, more curvaceous door panels and, on the whole, a notably more muscular appearance.
That will mean a larger and more distinctive double-crest grille, more slit-like headlamps and a more raked roofline – the latter limited primarily by the need to ensure good headroom for all three rows.
A “calming” cabin with lots more tech
Also look for many of the same interior enhancements coming to the QX55, with a cabin that will aim for a more “calming” feel, as global design chief Alfonso Albaisa puts it. Heated “zero-gravity” seats are a sure bet, as well as a larger infotainment display than the outgoing model. Like other new Infiniti crossovers, expect the system to be both faster and offer more features, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The QX55 offers only the Apple system in wireless form and we expect that to be the same case with the QX60.
Clearly, buyers would appreciate seeing other QX55 features carried over, such as the coupe-like crossover’s noise-reducing laminated glass and new Active Noise Cancellation system.
Getting back to the powertrain, Infiniti isn’t saying whether there’ll be any enhancements to the 3.5-liter V-6’s output. It currently delivers 295 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. A bump in the numbers would be welcome, considering the size of the QX60 and the class it competes in — with competitors like the Audi Q7, BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz GLE.
The new Intelligent All-Wheel-Drive system is what really deserves notice. Under normal conditions, torque is directed to the front wheels. The package uses a new direct-coupling system for almost instant engagement of the back axle when traction gets dicey. Infiniti claims the i-AWD tech doesn’t have to wait for slippage, like a traditional AWD design. It relies on sensors to predict a problem “sometimes even before the wheels slip.”
“If you’re driving in one of these situations, the system will monitor the road surface and very quickly move the power from the wheels that don’t have traction to the wheels that do. What this allows you to do is to continue driving forward with good confidence,” said Chris Fischer, Infiniti’s Vehicle Performance Development Manager.
Up to 50% of torque can be shifted to the rear wheels. A new Active Brake Limited Slip system, meanwhile, can shift torque to either left or right wheels.
A hybrid could be in the works, too
For now, all we have to go on is this comment by Dave Kiesel, Infiniti’s manager of powertrain performance at the Nissan Arizona Testing Center. “The all-new QX60 has a direct and linear acceleration feel. It gives the driver confidence to not only increase their standing start but also passing on the freeway and in the city. You just step on the pedal, it downshifts, and you go.”
One question that has been circulating in recent months is whether Infiniti will offer a hybrid option for the new 2022 QX60, whether at launch or in the near future.
The 2022 Infiniti QX60 should reach showrooms by the third quarter of this year. We hope to fill in still more blanks about the new SUV in the next month or so.