First Drive: 2022 INFINITI QX55 Sensory AWD

First Drive: 2022 INFINITI QX55 Sensory AWD

It is without a doubt a big moment for INFINITI as the brand introduces the all-new QX55, it’s proclaimed re-entry to the crossover coupe segment. As part of the new QX55’s launch I took part in a 24-hour media First Access drive event earlier in March, with the edict to keep my driving impressions under wraps until this week (March 23.) While this isn’t as comprehensive as a full review would be given my time constraints with the vehicle, I spent enough time with it to be able to proclaim it a worthy and welcome addition to the crossover coupe segment. It’s a perfect blend of show-stopping looks, a well-built, comfortable cabin, on point technology, and finally, to use a buzz word these days, an “engaging” ride and drive.

The QX55 lineup includes Luxe, Essential and Sensory trims -- and what’s so great is that all are well-equipped and that even includes standard all-wheel drive across the lineup.

My 24-hour loaner is a pre-production range-topping Sensory model in Dynamic Sunstone Red, a premium color that I must say had me at hello. Combined with the QX55’s sleek and sophisticated design, the QX55 immediately evokes a “see and be seen in” mentality. That’s right in line, too, with INFINITI’s QX55 launch #demandcenterstage campaign. Its looks indeed warrant the attention. I felt quite stylish jetting around town in it and pulling up for curbside to-go in an upscale area. The QX55 sets out to make you feel something and it does that.

 

Exterior

The QX55 is clearly a vehicle designed to be aggressive and elegant at the same time. The front end sports a large statement-making grille and front splitter along with the Sensory trim's sleek cubed LED headlights and a gloss black fog light surrounds. 20-inch dark painted and machine finished aluminum alloy wheels, standard across the lineup, look terrific.

Door handles are integrated into a high line sweeping down the profile and a sloped roofline meets the tail end, which is a conversation piece of its own. It sits high and sports elegant piano key taillights and you’ll note the license plate holder is positioned lower for a clean look. Something else unexpected and cool is that you open the cargo area pressing a button cleverly integrated into the INFINITI logo. The QX55 sports a gloss black rear spoiler, aluminum roof rails and a power standard sized moonroof.

Interior

The QX55’s driver-centric cabin is well-built featuring quality materials and stitching. My model sports a fairly dark graphite interior. I’d love to see some glossy black or more of a contrasting color inside, (I’d probably opt for the dual tone with Monaco Red), but the Bose Premium audio speakers add a premium touch. The Sensory trim’s black open pore Maple Wood trim pieces also add a premium element. Semi-aniline leather appointed seating, a leather-wrapped heated steering wheel, tri-zone climate and enhanced interior lighting are also exclusive to the Sensory trim.

The semi-aniline leather seats are comfortable though a tad on the firmer side. The longer seat cushion length is terrific. You’ll get standard 8-way power heated and ventilated driver and passenger seats in the Sensory model. The driver’s seat adds standard 2-way power lumbar plus 2-driver memory.

Hit the push button start and a standard 7-inch color digital display lights up between two analog dials. By the way, the QX55 puts on an interior light show at night with bright color graphics on all displays.

The QX55 is roomy for all with 60/40 rear split seats with a seat slide, recline and fold-flat function. INFINITI calls the cargo area class-leading with 26.9 cubic feet of cargo space. The Sensory trim is the only grade equipped with a motion-activated liftgate.

Technology

For me there are several big tech stories in the QX55 cabin: Dual HD touch screens, wireless Apple Carplay and the semi-autonomous Pro-Pilot system.

Two HD touch screens sit on the center stack: The top one houses navigation and the lower one handles comfort and convenience features. Both offer great resolution and quality graphics. A standard rearview monitor and rear sonar system are also standard. I thought the backup camera could be a bit sharper. My model’s great Around View Monitor is optional.

The lineup comes with standard wireless Apple CarPlay along with non-wireless Android Auto, 4G LTE Wi-Fi Hotspot connectivity, Bluetooth, voice recognition, and both USB Type A and C charge ports.

An INFINITI mobile app can lock and unlock, or remotely start and find your QX55 from a connected smartphone or wearable device.

Other standard Sensory trim tech includes a really impressive color 9-inch head up display and a terrific Bose 16-speaker Performance Series Audio system is designed to give a concert-like experience

Powertrain

The powertrain is another big story for the QX55. INFINITI’S award-winning 2.0-liter four-cylinder VC Turbo engine delivers 268-horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque - and both numbers feel great. The engine is paired to a Continuously Variable Transmission with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters and manual mode. This also has direct adaptive steering. This model is equipped with remote engine start and an active sound enhancement system for richer engine tones. Fuel economy is 28 miles combined mpg.

Ride and Drive

The QX55’s ride is sporty, engaging and comfortable all in one. You really benefit from the torque and all-wheel drive with a confident, planted to the ground feeling despite the ride height, which I enjoyed. It rides on a comfortable suspension. Four drive modes which feel distinctly different, sport being my favorite increasing the throttle and adjusting transmission for faster response which equals more stiffness and engagement. There was great visibility out the back. Overall the cabin is quiet with the exception of a bit of engine noise upon acceleration.

 

Safety and Driver Assistance Features

Every QX55 is equipped with Forward Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Blind Spot Warning, Lane Departure Warning, High Beam Assist, Rear Automatic Braking, and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert. Intelligent Cruise Control, Distance Control Assist, Blind Spot Intervention, and Lane Departure Prevention are available to add to the already impressive suite of standard active safety features.

Pro Pilot assist is an excellent semi-autonomous system and includes steering assist, as well as intelligent cruise control with full speed range stop and hold.

The Sensory trim also comes with a standard adaptive front lighting system.

Price

While there was no official monroney for this vehicle as it was a pre-production model, INFINIT’S priced this media First Drive model at $58,975, including 1,025 destination charges. The only option is $900 for the special paint. This price point is impressive given the features. Though I’d put a wireless charger on my wish list.

The QX55 arrives this spring and a digital reservation program is open for orders.

2022 INFINITI QX55 Sensory AWD

  • What I liked most: Its looks, acceleration, impressive list of standard lineup features including AWD.
  • What I would change: I’d love a two-tone interior with a lighter contrasting color option -- a red/black one is available. Add wireless charging.
  • MSRP: Sensory base price: $57,050; as priced by INFINITI for the media first access drive: $58,975.
  • Fuel Economy: 22 mpg city/28 mpg highway/25 mpg combined.
  • Official Color: Dynamic Sunstone Red.
  • Odometer reading when tested: 1,447 miles.
  • Weight: 4,065 pounds.
  • Spare Tire:  No, equipped with run flat tires.
  • Length-Width-Height: 186.3” long/74.9”wide/63.8” high.
  • FWD, RWD, or AWD: Standard AWD across lineup.
  • Towing Capacity:  INFINITI does not  recommend towing with the QX55.
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 16 gallons with filler on the driver’s side.
  • 2022 INFINITI QX55 Sensory in a few words: An impressive, engaging and show-stopping crossover coupe that makes a welcome addition to the segment.
  • Final Assembly Location: Aquascalientes, Mexico.
  • Manufacturers website: INFINITI