By Matt Schmitz on April 15, 2014
Competes with: Cadillac Escalade, Lexus LX 570 and Mercedes-Benz GL-Class
Looks like: A 2014 QX80 wearing the same dress with new jewelry
Drivetrain: The same 400-hp, 5.6-liter V-8 as last year
Hits dealerships: Fall 2014 for the regular QX80; late-2014 for the Limited
For the 2015 model year, the Infiniti QX80 changes a little on the outside, quite a bit on the inside and not at all under the hood. The luxury SUV also adds the new Limited trim, which offers further subtle exterior flourishes along with interior upgrades that the automaker boasts "wouldn't be out of place in an ultra-executive boardroom or private jet."
Touted as bringing the QX80 more visually in line with the Q50 sport sedan, the exterior updates focus heavily on the front end. A reshaped lattice-style grille replaces the 2014 model's slatted grille. Other revisions include revised LED headlights, turn signals and fog lights, and a new bumper with flush-mounted sonar sensors. That's in addition to chrome-plated outside rear mirror caps on the Deluxe Technology Package.
In the rear, an enlarged standard bumper protector helps prevent damage from loading and unloading. Also, three new available exterior colors — Hermosa Blue, Graphite Shadow and Majestic White – bring the total to seven. A couple of new wheel designs have also been added, including standard 20-inch aluminum-alloy wheels and optional 14-spoke 22-inch aluminum-alloy wheels.
Meanwhile, the Limited model gets dark-finished LED headlights matched with tinted rear lamps and special lighting under the brushed-finish running boards, along with dark-chrome-finished upper- and lower-grille surrounds and other trim. It also rides on standard dark-finished 22-inch wheels and gets three exclusive exterior colors: Imperial Black, Mocha Almond and Dakar Bronze.
Inside the QX80, there's updated color and wood trim offerings and more technology choices. Two leather colors — Wheat and Graphite — are available, in addition to two trim colors. Now called the Deluxe Technology Package, the previous Deluxe Touring Package includes leather-appointed upper door panels, semi-aniline leather seating surfaces and new steering-wheel trim. All Graphite interiors feature new silver (previously black) contrast stitching, while the center stack and steering wheel switches have silver accents.
The Limited's interior features Truffle Brown semi-aniline leather-appointed seats with unique quilting and silver accent piping; leather-wrapped speaker grilles, assist handles, headliner, and A-, B- and C-pillars; additional silver accents on the center stack; Ash wood trim; and branded stainless-steel lighted doorsills.
The QX80's powertrain goes unchanged for 2015. It remains a 5.6-liter V-8 making 400 horsepower and is again mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel and all-wheel drive are available.
Safety-tech upgrades for 2015 include advanced high beam assist, standard on all models, as well as an optional forward collision warning system. Safety features previously included in the Technology Package are now split into two groups, including the Driver Assistance Package and Deluxe Technology Package. The former contains intelligent brake assist with forward emergency braking, forward collision warning, Backup Collision Intervention, intelligent cruise control, blind spot warning and distance control assist; the latter features Blind Spot Intervention, and lane departure warning and prevention.
News Editor Matt Schmitz is a veteran Chicago journalist indulging his curiosity for all things auto while helping to inform car shoppers. Email Matt