Brace Yourselves for the QX55, Infiniti Advises

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

With the upcoming QX55, Infiniti is tearing a page from the Volkswagen Atlas’ playbook. That German manufacturer saw that it had a good thing in its midsize crossover, so it decided to get more bang for its buck by shaving a little length and height from the three-row model, creating a mildly upscale, slightly restyled two-row variant to widen the model’s net.

The QX55 is the same recipe applied to Infiniti’s QX50 crossover — a model that landed with a resounding thud in late 2018, but one whose sales have proven interesting in the grim year of 2020. Why is that, you ask?

Well, for a model that hit the ground crawling, returning tepid sales despite its new exterior and innovative variable compression engine, the QX50 has been the brand’s sole bright spot in 2020. In the second quarter of the year, the QX50 was the only Infiniti model to avoid a significant double-digit sales downturn. Volume fell only 4.7 percent in a quarter where buyers stayed away from dealers like never before.

Year to date, QX50 sales are actually up 4 percent — making it the only Infiniti vehicle to stay in the black in 2020, and one of only three Nissan Group products to claim the same. For whatever reason, there’s some resiliency there.

The QX55 is meant to make the most out of Nissan’s initial investment in the QX50, borrowing its platform and powertrain and adopting a slinkier, coupe-ified body. A portion of that body was revealed this week by Infiniti, though the actual vehicle won’t arrive in dealers until spring 2021. A debut is scheduled to occur online on November 11th (but not until remembrance services have wrapped up).

Infiniti still isn’t saying much about the vehicle, aside from mentioning it combines “the stance and versatility of a premium mid-size crossover with the sleek profile of a sports coupe.” At first blush, that statement is at least half true. The provided photo does show numerous deviations from the QX50’s rear. With the Atlas Cross Sport, the coupe-ified version of the Atlas, VW brass anticipate sales amounting to 50 percent of that of the regular crossover. It’s possible the equation will be the same for the QX55, though surprises can sometimes occur.

Certainly, what Nissan and Infiniti need now are sales, especially those saddled with fewer incentives. The latter brand, especially, needs a serious injection of brand recognition — a longstanding problem the QX55 probably won’t help, but at least won’t hurt.

Now, on to the important stuff: does anyone else feel vaguely dirty looking at that photo? Does it not seemingly depict a form of human-vehicle harassment? Unwanted objectifying gazes aren’t cool, Infiniti.

Do better.

Not a good look.

[Images: Infiniti]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Tankinbeans Tankinbeans on Aug 05, 2020

    I kind of like that design of that light. It looks like they're going for Pegasus' wings. It's too bad the rest is going to look like a misshapen goiter-filled tumor.

    • Secret Hi5 Secret Hi5 on Aug 06, 2020

      "Goiter-filled tumor?" That doesn't make any sense, much like Nissan's strategy.

  • Teddyc73 Teddyc73 on Aug 06, 2020

    "Unwanted objectifying gazes aren’t cool, Infiniti." Why not?

  • VoGhost Fantastic work by Honda design. When I first saw the pictures, I thought "Is that a second gen Acura NSX?"
  • V16 2025 VW GLI...or 2025 Honda Civic SI? Same target audience, similar price points. Both are rays of sun in the gray world of SUV'S.
  • FreedMike Said this before and I'll say it again: I'm not that exercised about this whole "pay for a subscription" thing, as long as the deal's reasonable. And here's how you make it reasonable: offer it a monthly charge. Let's say that adaptive headlights are a $500 option on this vehicle, and the subscription is $15 a month, or $540 over a three year lease. So you try the feature for a month, and if you like it, you keep it; if you don't, then you discontinue it, like a Netflix subscription. In any case, you didn't get charged $500 up front the feature. That's not a bad deal.In my case, let's say VW offers an over the air chip reflash that gives me another 25 hp. The total price of the upgrade is $1,000 (which is what a reflash would cost you in the aftermarket). If they offered me a one time monthly subscription for $50 to try it out, I'd take it. In other words, maybe the news isn't all bad.
  • 2ACL A good car, but - at least in this configuration -not one that should command a premium. Its qualities just aren't as enduring as those of Honda's contemporary sports cars. For better or worse, this is a formula they remain able to replicate.
  • Jalop1991 I just read that Tesla's profits are WAY down "as the electric vehicle company has faced both more EV competition from established automakers and a slowing of overall EV sales growth." This Cadillac wouldn't help Tesla at all, but the slowing market of EV sales overall means this should be a halo/boutique car. Regardless, yes, they should make it.
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