The QX55 has all the mechanical goodies of the QX50, and then some, besides the feline grace of the FX35
Muscat – Take the QX50, smoothen out the squareback roofline to a fastback – a throwback to the FX from 2003 – and voila! You have a new showpiece in INFINITI’s stable starting with MY 2022 as first generation. This crossover coupe was introduced in Oman just in time for Ramadan – predictably Suhail Bahwan Automobiles’ bonanza this festival season.
The QX55 has all the mechanical goodies of the QX50, and then some, besides the feline grace of the FX35.
It comes in three trims – base Luxe, midrange Essential and full-opts Sensory – powered by QX50’s 2lt variable compression turbocharged four-cylinder but now in all-wheel drive as standard.
What grab the onlooker’s attention right off are those curves on every surface of the QX55 which appear further enhanced in our slate grey Sensory trim tester.
The clamshell sculpted hood, with a crestline running along the centre, curves towards the A pillars. Upfront, an origami inspired wave pattern grille in dark metallic grey stands out prominently with a sleek angular LED headlight housing design.
In the lower corner of the anterior, LED fog lamps are encased in a deep shelf that also accommodates air curtains – an interesting design twist accomplished by moving these from the side to the front.
Twenty-inch wheels in two-tone gunmetal grey and machine-finish aluminium discs complement the side profile with gloss black mirror caps and roof rails, bright shiny metal work on the top and bottom of the windows, chrome-finish handles and smooth body lines extending all the way to the rear of the car. An extended low roof spoiler in gloss black adds to the QX55’s sporty character.
The rear proudly wears the brand’s badge, the tip of the triangle being the button to open the motion-activated tailgate to a spacious boot. The winglike taillights are snazzy but INFINITI has a snazzier way of describing it – digital piano key signature.
Among other thoughts, one that is likely to flood the mind of any driver the moment they position themselves behind the wheel is the commanding view from the driver’s seat – it gives a sense of absolute control, almost invincibility. Even with the steering wheel telescoping out to the max and tilting upward, it doesn’t come in the way of the driver’s clean and commanding view.
The heads-up display is in just the right place in the line of sight, always reminding you to stay within limit in the event that you get carried away by the QX55’s spirited performance.
The dash is a mix of dark wood, silver and soft-touch material. The cabin has an asymmetrical design, wrapping the interior space and gadgetry around the driver.
The QX55 has a dual-screen infotainment set-up – eight-inch top display for navigation and 360° and backup camera system, and a seven-inch lower screen for radio, media and vehicle settings, which can also be controlled via a rotary knob placed near the shifter and start/stop button.
The seats are firm yet comfortable and eight-way power adjustable in the front, contoured in the right places for appropriate lumbar support. The rear seats also slide and recline.
The two-tone colour scheme of Monaco red and black runs through the seats and centre console which houses a storage tray for bits and bobs, two cup holders, a 12V and two USB ports under a roller deck cover – another small detail but interesting design element, all of which add up to the QX55’s likeability.
Despite the coupe style roofline, there’s no loss in passenger volume. There’s enough headroom for a 6ft tall passenger in the rear, nor will his knees knock behind the front seats if the car brakes suddenly.
There’s plenty of cargo room too – 27ft3 behind the rear seats and 54ft3 with the rear seats flattened down for overnight camping gear, and more.
HANDLING AND DRIVE
Getting up to speed to enter Amerat roundabout in rush hour traffic, when most drivers lose their sense of civility, is easy. The engine is eager and doesn’t skip a beat as you step on the gas. While not a sports car, it corners confidently – thanks to INFINITI’s Direct Adaptive Steering steer-by-wire system. The chassis feels balanced with the AWD keeping you always planted.
The safety features in the QX55’s kitty include Predictive Forward Collision Warning, Forward Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Warning and Prevention, Blindspot Warning and Intervention, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and Rear Automatic Emergency Braking.
The QX55 acquires a different character in sports mode. The difference in suspension stiffness and throttle are palpable without rudely rattling passengers on rough roads. INFINITI does some wizardry called Body Motion Control using hydraulic fluids in the suspension to smoothen out bumps on the road.
But where the QX55 is in its true element is on Muscat Expressway. It cruises in style and makes a statement, when there are no distractions allowing the driver to appreciate its fit, feel and finish.