Style over substance: a theme that appears from time to time in the automotive design landscape. Examples include the Fisker Karma with its barely useable back seat and trunk, or the crossover coupes such as the BMW X6 and the soon to be departed Acura ZDX. Then there is the Infiniti QX70. Formally known as the FX, the QX70 blended distinctive styling and sports car performance into one bat-crazy crossover package. But does this package still make sense at all?
If you were to ask me to describe the QX70 in one word, it would be, "wow". It's hard to believe that the design is going on six-plus years and still looks like it was just introduced. The overall look was designed with rear-drive vehicle proportions in mind. This is shown with a long front end and short rear. In 2012, Infiniti’s designers did some tweaks to the design with a new front grille and slimmer headlights to keep the QX70 looking new. While I wasn’t a big fan of the larger grille at first, I began to like it more and more as the week went on.
However the six-year QX70 cannot hide its age inside as shown by the technology used. The instrument cluster utilizes a monochromatic screen for the trip computer and the center stack features the same infotainment system that has used on countless Nissan and Infiniti models. It’s hard to believe that a model which carries an almost $69,000 price tag is beaten by compact models that cost a third of it on the tech front. But there is some good news for the infotainment system. Infiniti is still one of the few automakers who provides physical buttons to access many parts of the infotainment system which makes using the system a breeze. As for materials, Infiniti lines the QX70 with leather on the door panels and dash, and nice blend of wood and metal.
Space is very much at a premium in the QX70. While the front bucket seats provide ample support and number of adjustments, your legs may feel cramped due to the large center console and intrusion of the transmission. Back seat passengers don’t have it any better as legroom is very tight and headroom is nonexistent. If you plan on taking passengers, let it be a short a trip. Otherwise, fold the rear seats down to increase the cargo space.
The QX70 has a choice of two different powertrains. The base is the 3.7L V6 that powers many vehicles in Infiniti’s lineup and also available is a 5.0L V8 engine. I had the latter which makes 390 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. This is paired up to a seven-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. The V8 gives the QX70 performance usually seen on muscle cars. Step on the accelerator and V8 comes to life, getting you up to speed at a rapid rate and delivering a lovely exhaust note. Considering this model hits the scales at 4,562 pounds, the performance of V8 engine is something that needs to experienced. The seven-speed automatic delivers crisp and quick shifts, while the all-wheel drive system keeps everything in order. One big downside is the V8’s ability to chug premium unleaded. EPA rates the QX70 5.0 at 14 City/20 Highway/16 Combined. My average for the week landed around 15 MPG, thanks to the cold weather.
But the QX70 isn’t just a straight-line performer. Show the QX70 some corners and it exhibits characteristics found on sports cars. It feels planted when going around a corner with little body roll, while steering is nicely weighted and provides very good feel. A lot of this can be attributed to the optional Sport Technology package which adds adaptive dampers and active rear steer. This does mean the QX70 is a bit of handful when driven daily as the stiff suspension provides a very bouncy ride when driven over rutted roads, even when the dampers are in the comfort setting. Wind and road noise are kept to bare minimum luckily.
The QX70 makes sense, but only to a select group of people. It has its fair number of shortcomings, but it makes up for it with surprising performance from V8, impressive handling characteristics, and a design that really stands out in the crowd of luxury crossovers. For most, the 3.7L V6 will make the most sense. But for those who are power hungry and like to be a bit different, than the QX70 5.0 is worth a look.
Disclaimer: Infiniti Provided the QX70S, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
Engine: 5.0L V8
Driveline: Seven-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
Horsepower @ RPM: 390 @ 6,500
Torque @ RPM: 369 @ 4,400
Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 14/20/16
Curb Weight: 4,562 lbs
Location of Manufacture: Tochigi, Japan
Base Price: $61,500.00
As Tested Price: $68,475.00 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
Sport Technology Package - $6,250.00