If bigger is better, then Infiniti’s QX80 Monograph rules it all. The styling concept that points the way to the next generation of the QX80 full-size SUV was revealed for the first time globally at the New York International Auto Show.
Despite the fact smaller vehicles do well in Canada, the QX80 still takes 12 to 14 percent market share in its segment, according to Roland Krueger, president of Infiniti, in an interview with Autofocus.
“It’s a sizeable segment and very steady, with very loyal customers,” he said. “The QX80’s main market is obviously the United States and Canada, but it also does well in the Middle East and in Russia. We look at consumer preferences.”
Designed at Infiniti’s studio in Atsugi, Japan, the QX80 Monograph is the “ultimate expression of futuristic luxury SUV and design,” the company said in a statement. While an all-new QX80 is in the works, the Monograph concept only “illustrates how the design of Infiniti’s QX80 could evolve.”
The concept includes numerous signature cues from some of Infiniti’s other designs, but on a larger scale. These include the double-arch grille, which has been widened and heightened on the QX80. The name “Monograph” refers to a detailed study in a single area of expertise and, in this case, is an examination of the QX80’s future development. It is the first model to use the name, which will undoubtedly show up on others.
The QX80 concept includes “copper satin” skin, headlamps that evoke a human eye, and the model’s signature fender vent. While the vehicle is already over five metres long, the straight shoulder line that runs from the grille to the rear is intended to make it look even longer. One interesting styling cue that won’t make it into the production model – at least, not for a while – is a pair of sculpted rearview cameras on the front doors, in place of conventional mirrors.
The shape of the thin, sharp taillights is echoed in the twin exhaust openings, and while this is still only a concept, the aerofoil between them is intended to improve airflow off the back of the vehicle. The company said vents in front of the wheels could potentially be used for exiting air out of the wheel arches, reducing turbulence and drag within the wheel arches.
The smooth sides of the QX80 Monograph are the result of flush windows and windshield, along with pop-out door handles for a cleaner appearance. The flush sides also help minimize air drag and wind noise.
The concept also includes such technologies as individual LED elements that can light up independently, along with a crescent-cut D-pillar, and a frosted-effect paint finish. The 24-inch wheels, finished in chromium black with brushed copper accents, overlap the tires to give the impression of a 26-inch wheel with low-profile tires.
Krueger expects the all-new production QX80, when it arrives, to further enhance Infiniti’s global presence, which included a record 231,000 vehicles sold around the world in 2016. “We had a first-quarter growth of 18 percent, and we’re closing on some competitors in North America,” he said. “We have set out to do this with new products, and it’s now delivering.”
The production QX80 will be unveiled before the end of the year, Krueger said, and while it will have a large engine to provide towing and off-road capability, the company is working with new materials to bring down the weight to maximize fuel efficiency. He also hinted that a hybrid model may also be in the works.