January 05, 2023 By Ardie Lopez

2023 Infiniti QX55 Sensory AWD

The Debonaire Dasher

What would be your criteria if you were to pick just one car to be your daily drive? There certainly would be no quick and easy answer to that as it’d have to depend on one’s lifestyle and occupation- but if the answers were to be sifted to get an average, it’d most probably narrow down to one that’d bear the best qualities of a sedan, an SUV and perhaps a wagon. That’s the default description of a crossover, yes, but then there’s the question of which category will it be coming from- regular or all the way up to premium luxury levels? Veering away from the law of averages, the aspirational aspect of wanting a bit more from what that car would offer, would come into play. 

As we’ve kicked-off the resumption of our international test drives, we’re fortunate to have valued partners who arranged for us to have a go with one such crossover that certainly goes beyond what’s average. Enter the Infiniti QX55. It was a pleasure spending a week with it in Los Angeles, getting acquainted with it through brisk drives on its many freeways, which compared to Manila’s highways and expressways are about 30 km/h faster in terms of the normal flow- so lane changes, merging in and out, and filtering to and from ramps are faster too, that it’d make you appreciate a ride with tight and responsive handling. The QX55 on the day I picked it up gave me that initial impression after just a few miles of driving it, but it actually got better as I got more comfortable with it. 

The Infiniti QX55, by type would be your quintessential crossover- you wouldn’t mistake it for a compact SUV or a wagon by its looks alone. Its stance is sleek and sporty, with a silhouette that is more like a fastback’s due to the roofline that slopes down towards the rear end, and its shoulder line moving upwards seemingly to meet it, it’s aesthetically athletic… a crossover-coupé as Infiniti describes it. Its large wheel arches housing 20-inch two-toned rims riding on 255 x 45 series tires balance off the look quite well. Slate Gray is one of those muted colors that don’t work well with some cars but did on the QX55, bringing out the fluid character lines and subtle creases. The large Infiniti badge sits on a rather unique grille with a woven mesh pattern heavily framed in chrome, flanked by cube LED headlight clusters. The gaping side intakes that serve as foglamps’ housings may be a common design cue, but they contribute with the front splitter to make a symmetrically impressive fascia. Kicked-up and tapered, the rear end is eye-catching when the segmented LED taillights are lit, a cool touch- which kind of reminds me of falcon wings of Egyptian-inspired design. Overall the QX55’s look doesn’t demand attention, but it’s certainly pedigreed with an air of sophistication about it.

Now the interior, with the scarlet and black combination on its full-leather appointment work to give it a more stylish flair, with the precise laser-cut holes for the white stitching adding to the premium look and feel. The front seats are very comfortable, owing to the Zero-gravity design of Nissan origin, where the occupant’s weight is better distributed, lessening fatigue. The main interface on the dash is equipped with dual touch-screens that actually work quite well- navigation ends up on the top display, and the apps and entertainment controls on the lower, so the convenience the setup offers kind of makes up for the graphics and resolution of the screens that are a bit dated. What’s rewarding is the Bose 16-speaker audio system that sounds exceptionally good. There is no wireless charging pad for your phone but there are enough USB Type A and Type C ports up front and at the rear to plug into for power, and to connect via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

So, being wrapped in good looks with a luxurious cabin to boot- does its dynamics match up? The Infiniti QX55 is powered by a 2-liter Inline-four gasoline engine with Variable Compression Turbo that’s rated at 268hp and 280 lb-ft of Torque that affords it do 0-100 km/h in 6.5 seconds. It’s mated to a continuously variable transmission with paddle shifters, and it runs on an intelligent AWD drivetrain. It’s got plenty usable power especially in city driving, but its handling characteristic is refined yet precise and sure-footed. Owing to its AWD configuration, cornering at speed feels well-planted with minimal body roll. Power delivery is immediate and shifting is seamless, and the overall takeout is a pleasurable, effortless drive. I am not a fan of its engine sound though, which at low revs is like a raspy whir, but it improves as you push it.  Soundproofing from extraneous ambient noise is good, but somehow its own engine sound that makes it inside is louder than I’d want it. The QX55 is well-dampened, providing a plush ride quality that’s apparent despite LA’s nice roads. With ample oomph and tight dynamics, you’d quickly get used to driving it more spiritedly than usual, which’ll impact its fuel efficiency which is not a very impressive 9.5 kms per liter on average (city driving).

It’s poised to compete with the likes of the Porsche Macan and the BMW X3 in terms of its sporty crossover packaging, but it’s more head to head with the likes of the Mazda CX-5 or Subaru XV in terms of its price point. Locally, I’d most probably pit it with the Peugeot 5008. The Peugeot is definitely more adventurous in terms of aesthetics, but the QX55 will edge it out in terms of power and ride quality. Interestingly enough, while it’s not quite a stunner, not the quickest or most fuel efficient in a short roster of the perceived competition in its category, the combination of a well thought-out and executed design, assertive power, premium interior build and comfortable ride, capped off by a drive quality and handling feel that’s actually quite gratifying, the Infiniti QX55 especially in its top tier Sensory AWD variant makes for an engaging, thoroughly satisfying daily drive.

Specification – 2023 Infiniti QX55 AWD Sensory 

Engine: Inline-4 

Location: Front, Transverse 

Displacement: 1970 ~ 1997 cc 

Cylinder block: Cast Aluminum 

Cylinder head: Cast Aluminum, DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder 

Fuel Injection: Variable Compression Direct & Port Injection Miller-capable Intercooled Turbo, VVT

Max power: 268 bhp @ 5600 rpm 

Max torque: 280 lb-ft @ 1600-4800 rpm 

Transmission: Continuously Variable Transmission with manual shift mode and Downshift Rev Matching, Intelligent all-wheel-drive.

Front suspension: Independent MacPherson Strut with aluminum-alloy upper and lower aluminum/steel subframe construction, twin tube shock absorbers, 27 mm stabilizer bar.

Rear suspension: Independent multi-link with monotube shock absorbers, 22.5 mm stabilizer bar.

Fuel Capacity: 60 liters (16 gallons)

Ground Clearance: 218 mm 

Wading Depth: 500 mm

Angle of approach (degrees): 17.4

Angle of departure (degrees): 23.6

Ramp angle (degrees): 19.1

Load Capacity: 762 liters with rear seat fixed. 1532 liters with rear seat folded.

L x W x H: 4732 mm x 1902 mm x 1620 mm  

Wheelbase: 2800 mm 

Brakes: Front 13-inch (330 mm) ventilated discs with 2-piston calipers / Rear 12.1-inch (307 mm) vented discs with 1-piston calipers, ABS, EBD, BA, Vehicle Dynamic Control with Traction Control System, ABSProASSIST Package: Cube design LED headlights with auto leveler, Adaptive Front Lighting System, Distance Control Assist, Intelligent Cruise Control, Blind Spot Intervention, Lane Departure Prevention. ProACTIVE Package: ProPILOT Assist (Steering Assist, Intelligent Cruise Control with full speed range, stop and hold), Head-Up Display, Traffic Sign Recognition, Direct Adaptive Steering. Around View® Monitor with Moving Object Detection, and Front and Rear Sonar System.

Wheels: 20”x 8.5J multi-spoke dark painted and machine finished alloys

Tires: 255/45R20 101W Bridgestone Ecopia H/L 422 Plus RFT 

Weight: (kerb) 1848 kg. (4065 lbs.) 

0-100 km/h (0-62 mph): 6.5 seconds

Top Speed (mph): 224 km/h (140 mph) 

Fuel Mileage: 22 mpg City / 28 mpg Highway

Price as tested: US$ 58,075.00 

C! RATING 9/10

+Great handling, premium interior, full-featured, peppy, nice styling, 16-speaker Bose® Performance Series premium audio system.

Less headroom on the 2nd row due to tapered profile, we expected better dynamic performance, thirsty.

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