When it comes to head-turning style, Infiniti’s QX70 has been the pick of the luxury mid-size SUVs. Now Infiniti has given the QX70 some extra pep in the form of the stealth-like S Design models.
Available in both V6 petrol and V6 turbo-diesel variants, the Infiniti QX70 S Design (priced from $88,900) provides a sporty edge without stretching to the $104,400 V8-powered 5.0 S Premium version. A sporty edge which we reckon the QX70 has long deserved.
Infiniti – a global sponsor of the Red Bull F1 team with Aussie lead driver Daniel Ricciardo – has been in the Australian market for three years now. Managing Director Jean-Philippe Roux hasn’t been in the chair all that long but the company has enjoyed sales growth of 29 per-cent for the first six months of this year.
And with significant new products slated for arrival from early next year, his team is focused on building the dealer network with more retail outlets in major markets and more specialized service facilities. Just launched is the QX80 full-size SUV and in the wings are the Q30 compact, QX30 ‘crossover’ and the handsome Q60 Coupe.
“Expanding the Infiniti vehicle range is a key part of our plan for sustainable growth in Australia,” Mr Roux revealed. “The next four models to join our range will see the Infiniti brand cover a much broader range of the local premium market. And we have even more all-new models planned.”
Infiniti QX70 S Design Overview
The Infiniti QX70 S Design is based on the generously-equipped range-topping S Premium model. The unique additions for the S Design build on the athletic looks of the mid-size ‘crossover’.
It’s a black theme throughout with the S Design gaining 21-inch six spoke light alloy wheels (in black), black and dark chrome front grille, air vents and side vents, dark chrome front fog light housings, black exterior rear-vision mirrors, roof rails in black and dark chrome tailgate finishers.
Infiniti has given the QX70 S Design a fast start with special ‘Driveaway’ prices until 30 September - $85,900 for the V6 petrol or $87,900 for the V6 turbo-diesel. After 1 October the recommended retail prices will be $88,900 (V6 petrol) or $90,900 (V6 turbo-diesel).
Of course the QX70 was first launched as the FX but its name was changed as part of a global realignment.
Infiniti QX70 S Design Engine
No changes under the bonnet for the Infiniti QX70 S Design. The choice is the 235kW/360Nm 3.7-litre naturally-aspirated V6 petrol engine or the 175kW/550Nm 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel.
Drive is to all four wheels via a seven-speed automatic transmission and ATTESA E-TS all-wheel-drive with intelligent torque split (up to 50:50 front/rear according to conditions).
Combined-cycle fuel consumption for the Infiniti QX70 S Design petrol model is 12.1l/100kms and for the turbo-diesel you can chalk-up 9.0l/100kms.
Infiniti QX70 S Design The Interior
Based on the S Premium model, the Infiniti QX70 picks-up a sporty look/feel inside. In fact we think the QX70 offers one of the best interiors in this segment.
The leather-clad front seats are excellent with nice support and lots of electronic adjustment. And the driver enjoys a top-notch cockpit layout with the sporty leather-wrapped steering wheel adjusting electronically for rake/reach.
You can pick the S Design version of the Infiniti QX70 by the unique purple stitching on the leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear lever. Go for the ‘Graphite’ interior colour and you get more purple stitching for the seats, door trims and centre armrest.
Instruments are Infiniti’s usual high-class affair with white/violet electroluminescent gauges and, in the centre, the hallmark analogue clock. There’s satellite navigation and an 11-speaker Bose audio system.
Interior space in the Infiniti QX70 is a standout compared to some rivals and this is obvious in the rear seat with generous leg-room. Despite the constraints of that swoopy exterior design, luggage space is reasonable and you’ll fit more than one full-size golf bag.
Infiniti QX70 S Design Exterior & Styling
Well the Infiniti QX70 is a head-turner no two ways about it. Changes for the S Design (the black wheels, grille, air vents, fog light housings, mirrors etc) are spot-on and provide what we’ve always thought the QX70 needed – some stealth to go with the curves.
Not that the long bonnet/stretched wheelbase Infiniti QX is all about form over function. For instance those muscly air-vents behind the front wheels which duct air from the engine compartment improve high-speed stability by reducing front-end lift by as much as five per-cent.
Up-front we have the hallmark Infiniti double-arch grille, those black fog light housings and the sharp bi-xenon HID headlights.
The silhouette is of course super-aggressive with the long wheelbase, strong shoulder lines and kicked-back roofline and integrated tailgate spoiler.
And the rear looks sporty too with that muscly shoulder line and dual exhaust outlets. The tailgate shape, spoiler angle and even the front bumper sides have all been crafted with aerodynamics in mind and the Infiniti QX70 S Design delivers an impressive 0.35cD.
Infiniti QX70 S Design On The Road
The QX70 rides on what Infiniti calls its ‘front mid-ship’ design platform with a double wishbone front suspension and independent rear. Continuous Damping Control uses electronically controlled shock absorbers with the driver able to alter the shock valving in either ‘Auto’ or ‘Sport’ mode.
No surprise there’s plenty of technology on-board too with Intelligent Brake Assist, Forward Collision Warning, Distance Control Assist, Lane Departure Warning/Lane Departure Prevention, Intelligent Cruise Control and the Around View Monitor system to name a few.
We had the opportunity to drive both the petrol and turbo-diesel versions of the Infiniti QX70 S Design over the excellent roads of Central Tasmania in varying weather conditions. It was back behind the wheel of a premium mid-size SUV which we rate very highly.
The QX70 S Design – like the V8-powered Infiniti 5.0 S Premium - runs 21-inch alloy wheels and to our mind they do provide some needed extra crispness for both turn-in and overall ride/handling. Despite the sometimes slippery going, the Infiniti QX70 S Design was sure-footed and precise with nice mid-corner balance and response to throttle input.
In terms of engine choice it was a coin-toss. Gee the V6 turbo-diesel had some mid-range punch (550Nm will do that for you) but there was no lack of urgency from the 3.7-litre V6 petrol either. We’re leaning slightly towards to petrol engine for its extra refinement.
Infiniti QX70 S Design Issues
We were a little surprised by the slow response of the seven-speed automatic transmission when using the paddle-shifters for manual changes.
Infiniti QX70 S Design Verdict
This is the model the Infiniti QX70 has been calling out for. Just the right amount of extra stealth/sporty pizzazz to go with the awesome looks.
Infiniti doesn’t hold back on the luxury so the interior is a knockout too.
And with prices starting from $85,900 (“Driveaway’ until 30 September) there’s no doubting the value of this handy addition to the Infiniti model range.
Infiniti QX70 S Design The Competition
Most direct rival is the Lexus RX350 F-Sport priced at $81,500. You get 204kW/346Nm from Lexus’ 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine (no turbo-diesel of course). Like all vehicles wearing the Lexus badge, the RX350 F-Sport is beautifully made, oozes quality and is loaded to the hilt with technology. But there’s no denying its conservative styling leaves the Lexus RX350 F-Sport looking a tad plain alongside the brawny Infiniti QX70 S Design.
BMW’s X4 should be on your list. $87,900 buys you the X4 xDrive35i with the wonderful 225kW/400Nm turbocharged 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine. But the BMW is a long way short of the Infiniti QX70 S Design for interior space and you may need to raid the ‘M’ extras bin to give it the same street appeal.