This spring Nissan’s premium brand adds to its lineup with the all-new 2022 Infiniti QX55. Taking its place alongside the QX50, the QX55 features a powerful turbocharged engine, a high-tech, attractive interior and standard all-wheel drive. With a sleek SUV Coupe bodystyle, the 2022 QX55 adds a new level of sporty styling to the Infiniti model range.
Keen observers can visibly trace the 2022 Infiniti QX55’s heritage back to the original Infiniti FX — one of the first performance SUVs sold in America. “We set the stage nearly 20 years ago with the FX, and the all-new INFINITI QX55 brings us back, close to the soul of our brand — and it propels us forward,” said Infiniti Chairman Peyman Kargar. “The inspired QX55 is an important step in our journey,” Kargar also noted.
Although we’re not fans of the term SUV Coupe, the QX55 certainly does exhibit coupelike styling. Lines flow smoothly from the base of the windshield to the taillights, with a bump at the rear over the taillights. Standard 20-inch wheels add to the vehicle’s overall sporty nature.
Up front, the QX55 is instantly recognizable as an Infiniti thanks to its signature double-arch grille with a large Infiniti logo set on an origami-inspired mesh pattern. Surrounded in chrome, the grille flows smoothly into a hood sculpted to match the grille’s proportions. The LED headlights of the 2022 Infiniti QX55 are also standard, designed to mimic the human eye.
Easily our favorite design element of the 2022 Infiniti QX55 are “piano key” taillights that each use 45 separate LEDs to create a unique light signature. An integrated rear spoiler and dual exhaust complete the package. “The looks and feel of the QX55 are what stand out, from nose to tail. We designed an SUV for buyers with discerning tastes; this doesn’t sacrifice substance in the name of style,” said Eric Rigaux, general manager of product planning for Infiniti.
The 2022 Infiniti QX55 is available in three trim levels: Luxe, Essential and Sensory. Pricing starts at $46,500 for the Luxe, $51,600 for the Essential and the top-level Sensory has a base MSRP of $57,050. All-wheel drive is standard on every QX55.
Infiniti provided us with a 2022 Infiniti QX55 Sensory painted in Slate Gray with eye-catching Monaco Red leather seats. As the top-level trim of the QX55, the Sensory comes with practically everything standard — the only factory option is the special paint. Total MSRP of the vehicle we drove is $58,770. Competitors to the QX55 include the BMW X4, Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe, Audi Q5 Sportback, Cadillac XT5, Lexus RX and Jaguar F-PACE.
QX55 vs. QX50
Logically the new Infiniti QX55 doesn’t make a lot of sense when compared to its QX50 sibling. Both are the same under the skin: both vehicles share interior styling, powertrain and chassis; however, the QX55 has less headroom for passengers and a smaller cargo area while costing $3,000 to $5,000 more. But the QX55 is certainly more stylish and attractive, and for many shoppers style trumps logic when it comes to buying a new car.
Under the Hood
An innovative 2.0-liter Variable-Compression Turbo 4-cylinder engine powers the QX55. According to Infiniti, this is the first production engine that adjusts compression ratio to optimize both power and efficiency. The VC-Turbo is rated at 268 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque, which provides great power and should also enable impressive fuel efficiency. Fuel economy numbers have not been released; however, for reference, the QX50 AWD with the same engine is rated at 22 mpg city / 28 mpg highway.
Intelligent All-Wheel Drive
The 2022 Infiniti QX55 sends power to all four wheels via the brand’s intelligent all-wheel-drive system. Under normal conditions the QX55 operates in front-wheel drive; when additional traction is required, up to 50 percent of the power can be sent to the rear wheels. When launching from a standstill, the QX55’s system automatically engages equal power to all four wheels for maximum traction; however, in slick road conditions the front tires spin more than expected before engaging the rear wheels when accelerating from a stop.
Infiniti’s dual-screen infotainment system is standard on all QX55s, with upper 8-inch and lower 7-inch displays as well as wireless Apple CarPlay (Android Auto is still wired) and multiple USB ports. With two screens it’s possible to display audio on the lower screen with navigation or CarPlay / Android Auto appearing up top, eliminating the need to swap back and forth or view both smaller on a split screen. Physical buttons for the climate controls surround the lower screen providing quick and easy access. Overall this setup is one of the most intuitive on the market.
All 2022 QX55 trims come with Infiniti’s Zero Gravity seats that feature heating and power adjustment. Leatherette is standard equipment, while higher trim versions such as the QX55 Sensory get fitted with semi-aniline leather as well as cooling and power lumbar support. The idea of Zero Gravity seats sounds like a gimmick, but it is not — after spending several hours behind the wheel of the QX55, we were pleased to realize these seats are among the most comfortable on the market, thanks to a great combination of soft cushioning couple with good support. The Monaco Red leather adds a nice splash of color to the interior.
Rear-seat passengers in the 2022 Infiniti QX55 will find decent legroom; however, the sloping roof of the does impinge slightly on headroom, which is about 3 inches less than its QX50 sibling. Seat cushions in the rear are a bit stiffer than those up front, but they are still comfortable and the seatbacks can recline. For added flexibility, the rear seat slides almost 6 inches forward or aft to maximize either passenger or cargo space. Separate climate controls as well as USB ports can be found in the rear seat.
The large rear hatch of the 2022 Infiniti QX55 enables easy loading, and the cargo space provides plenty of utility in this sporty-looking crossover. If the sliding rear seat is not sufficient to create more space for larger cargo, the rear seats also fold flat.
On the Road
The new 2022 Infiniti QX55 provides a comfortable, quiet ride when cruising through town or clipping down a freeway at speed. With its aforementioned comfortable Zero Gravity seats, the QX55 would make a great vehicle for long road trips. As easy as it is to cruise down the highway, the QX55 also becomes responsive when the road gets a bit twisty. The SUV Coupe has decent handling with direct steering and four-wheel independent suspension providing a balanced, solid demeaner.
The 2022 Infiniti QX55 has Active Noise Cancellation that uses three microphones throughout the cabin to detect and neutralize unwanted noise. Adding to the calming environment are laminated front windows, and all works well to provide a peaceful cabin.
Unfortunately the powerful VC-Turbo engine is teamed with a not-so-satisfying continuously variable transmission. The throttle can be difficult to modulate; a little throttle when starting from a complete stop results in slow acceleration; feed a bit more with the right foot and suddenly the QX55 is surging forward. Conversely when launching under full throttle the QX55 generates a lot of noise but precious little acceleration. Occasionally we were able to find the sweet-spot throttle position — which demonstrated the great acceleration possible from the VC-Turbo motor — although it was not easy to do. We understand how the CVT adds to the Infiniti’s decent fuel economy; however, it does not provide a satisfying driving experience.
Right for You?
Proving that crossovers (make that SUV Coupes) don’t have to be boring, the brand-new Infiniti QX55 stands out from the crowd with its bold styling and sporty lines. With a long list of standard equipment, an innovative infotainment system and a comfortable, stylish interior, the QX55 brings a lot to the premium crossover market. Granted the CVT does take detract from the driving experience; however, for drivers more interested in amenities and style the QX55 sits near the top of its class.
Pros: Sporty styling; dual-screen display; solid / comfortable ride.
Cons: CVT detracts from excellent turbo engine.
Bottom Line: Infiniti injects sporty styling into its growing utility lineup.