By on August 5, 2020

Infiniti

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]

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23 Comments on “Brace Yourselves for the QX55, Infiniti Advises...”


  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    I’m sorry your rear wiper is so tiny. Is that why your rear fascia is frowning?

    [Look at it – you know I’m right.]

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    That drivetrain is a turd.

    Edmunds is usually complimentary about their cars, but they said the staff actively avoided driving their long-term QX50 because it was so terrible.

    • 0 avatar
      Felix Hoenikker

      Wards named the 2L Infiniti variable compression engine as one the top new engines in 2019. My wife just loves hers. It also is able to post near 30 mpg highway mpg which is something that the previous V6 could never get close to. The 2.0 L engine in the QX50 is very close to the previous V6 in HP and torque. I have no idea why the auto jurnos hate the QX50 so much. IMHO it is a better deal and better car than it’s Lexus competitor. I drove both to conclude that.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        “he 2.0 L engine in the QX50 is very close to the previous V6 in HP and torque.”

        It is 22% less power now. The old version was a full second faster 0-60, trapped 9mph higher, had a 7000RPM redline, and was RWD-based. I don’t think it’s any mystery why auto journalists aren’t big on the changes.

    • 0 avatar

      I agree. MW complained you couldn’t drive the car in a spirited way, because the compression was always changing on you, so you never knew what sort of torque you were going to get.

      Combined with the CVT, *and* the crap electric steering, *and* the FWD nature. It’s just a loser.

      Also the interior is nowhere near nice enough to call luxury. Mazda does much nicer interiors on its much less expensive cars.

  • avatar
    Steve Biro

    It’s another CUV. Who cares?

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      Exactly. If people like coupe styling why don’t they just a get… I don’t know… maybe a coupe! Oh that’s right nobody sells coupes or even cars anymore.

      People want the higher riding, better visibility, go-anywhere, easy in-easy out, plus extra interior space of a CUV – but with the sleek and sexy styling of a coupe. So now we have this sub-genre of “coupe-like” CUVs that try to be two things at once. Contrast this with the new Bronco which is the boxy, tough, off roader-like CUV look. This tells me the CUV has become a fashion statement, like yoga pants which somehow became acceptable as everyday clothes.

  • avatar
    Chocolatedeath

    I love Infiniti so much that when I finally got to a point in my life where I can buy a brand new one of any model….They stopped making anything I wanted. Literally since their introduction it has been my personal aspirational brand and look what they have done to it. Nissan+ is what they are going to shot for. Geez.. Why does the Genesis brand look so good to me right now.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    The QX50 was a very pleasant surprise. It needs a tidier one screen infotainment set up, but it’s a decently good ride and a good value. The interior design and color options are really attractive. I couldn’t tell there was anything odd about the engine, but I definitely wouldn’t risk owning it out of warranty either.

    It came in 2nd behind the GLC, tied with the Q5. The other options were either bad values or just didn’t appeal to us.

    Sadly, these have taken the place of wagons, but at least they’re not full size SUVs.

    • 0 avatar

      I find the interior bland and dated, as most of it was grafted from the 2015 Q50. It’s also too dark inside, and lacks any upscale (or even upscale looking) trim.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        I haven’t driven one (and have no desire to), so I’ll take jk’s word for it. But I think this model just didn’t get any marketing support – in fact, I’ve seen very little marketing of any kind for ANY Infiniti in recent years. They just dropped it into a crowded market, using a brand that has very little cred, and didn’t hype it very much. No wonder it’s been a bomb.

        As far as how it drives…what, people who drive midsized CUVs have suddenly developed a taste for finely honed performance machines? I’ll disprove that thesis as follows:

        Lexus RX.

        No, they don’t care.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Brace yourselves… for bankruptcy!

    • 0 avatar

      First goes Mitsubishi.
      Then they’ll start culling Nissan models while consolidating the Infiniti ones into Nissan clones (already started).

      • 0 avatar
        indi500fan

        Agree, Infiniti is a zombie brand. The Japanese/American Oldsmobile.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Well, that means the brand isn’t a zombie per se, just…downscaled.

          Objectively, I suppose it makes business sense – a Japanese Buick, sold in a nicer dealership with a more “premium” buying experience, might work, as long as the buyers aren’t too picky about the product. Given how many people buy Lexus, Cadillac and Acura CUVs, we know the answer to that question.

          I’m not real optimistic about this working out well, but they probably have too much invested in the brand and the separate dealership network to just shut it down; otherwise, I think they would have already.

          But, yeah, it’s shame that the brand is going down this path. These guys have made some neat product over the years for enthusiasts, and those days have clearly ended.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    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.

  • avatar
    teddyc73

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

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