There's a lot to like, but it doesn't move the needle forward.
Nissan's luxury Infiniti arm launched two new SUVs last year. We recently sampled the first of these new models, the 2022 Infiniti QX55, a coupe version of the QX50 released in 2017. Our feelings about the QX50 were mixed at best - we liked the styling and comfort but had issues with the drivetrain and onboard technology. In fact, we determined that the Nissan Rogue was the superior vehicle considering its price. Since the QX55 is practically the same car as the QX50, our expectations were low heading in.
After spending a week with the QX55, we found plenty to like and hate about the car. More than any vehicle we drove last year, the QX55 encompasses everything that's right and wrong about its brand. Infiniti has potential that shines through in the QX55, but there are more than a few weak points that need to be addressed.
Infiniti still knows how to pen an elegant car. The QX50 is an attractive SUV and the QX55 improves on the style. Transforming a standard SUV into a coupe can often end in controversy, as we've seen with the BMW X4 and Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe. Infiniti's designers managed to thread a delicate needle, giving the QX55 coupe-like inspiration without making it look awkward at the back. We love the flowing lines, curved roof, origami-inspired grille, and Q60-style taillights. With exciting colors like Dynamic Sunstone Red and Slate Gray, the QX55 might be our favorite SUV coupe in terms of design.
Unlike some of its European competitors, Infiniti makes sure safety isn't optional. Even the base QX55 Pure trim includes forward emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring, high beam assist, lane departure warning, and rear cross-traffic alert. Stepping up to the Essential or Sensory trim adds Nissan's excellent ProPILOT Assist technology, which combines adaptive cruise control with lane-keep assist to create a less intensive driving experience. Among the Level 2 safety systems we've tested, ProPILOT is one of the easiest to use and does a great job keeping the car centered in its lane with minimal effort.
SUV coupes offer less practicality compared to their conventional siblings, but since the QX50 is one of the most spacious vehicles in its class, the QX55 doesn't suffer too greatly from its transformation. The sloped roofline cuts rear headroom from 38.7 to 36.9 inches, which is less than you get in some German rivals. Rear legroom is still excellent though, with up to 38.7 inches thanks to a nifty sliding and reclining second row (a rare feature in the compact class).
Despite the coupe-like rear end, the QX55 retains a spacious trunk with 26.9 cubic feet behind the second row. Unlike some competitors, Infiniti includes levers to fold down the rear seats in the second row and in the cargo area, enabling 54.1 cubic feet of space. That makes the QX55 more practical than an Audi Q5 Sportback, BMW X4, or Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe.
The QX55 shows Infiniti can still execute style, safety, and practicality. But in terms of powertrains, it's still stuck in 2015. Like the QX50, the QX55 is only available with one engine, a 2.0-liter variable compression (VC) turbocharged four-cylinder delivering 268 horsepower. That's decent for a 2.0-liter engine, but it's far from the most we've seen at this price point. Likewise, the QX55's 22/28 mpg city/highway ratings are average at best.
Infiniti touts its advanced VC-Turbo engine as being the first of its kind with the ability to change compression ratios to maximize performance and fuel economy. But as we've pointed out, this engine is squarely mediocre at both. Worst of all, the QX55 pairs its engine with a continuously variable transmission that feels out of place in such a pricey luxury car. Infiniti has teased electric concepts but doesn't have a single electrified vehicle in its lineup. This needs to change, quickly.
BMW proved that buyers are willing to pay more for an SUV with coupe-like styling, and German rivals like Mercedes, Audi, and Porsche quickly followed suit. Infiniti arrived late to the game, bringing nothing new to the table aside from a less controversial design. Of all the cars Infiniti needed to add to its lineup in 2022, a coupe version of the QX50 was pretty low on the list.
Despite being the newest vehicle in Infiniti's lineup when it arrived and sitting in the top-selling compact crossover class, the QX50 was outsold by the highly outdated last-generation QX60. This should have been a hint to start a new project rather than try to improve on the QX50. We would have preferred to see an electrified replacement for the Q70 sedan, a true FX/QX70 successor, or some kind of hybrid sports car. Instead, Infiniti rehashed an idea the Germans have been doing since 2008. Perhaps Infiniti doesn't have the budget (or the imagination) for new ideas. We hope Infiniti's other new SUV, the QX60, moves the needle more.
The 2022 QX55 starts at $46,500, making it $7,500 more than the base QX50. That price increase shrinks to $5,500 when you factor in the QX55's standard all-wheel-drive, but like most SUV coupes, this is too high a price to pay for a decrease in practicality and better styling. Infiniti thrived in the 2000s with standout products like the G35, G37, FX37, and FX50, which offered BMW-rivaling driving dynamics at sub-BMW price tags.
Infiniti still undercuts Audi, BMW, and Mercedes on price, but the as-tested price of our Sensory trim tester punches well into European territory at $60,045. At that price, you can get a well-equipped Q5 Sportback, X4, or GLC Coupe with their four-cylinder engine options. In fact, you can start getting into a six-cylinder SQ5 or X4 M40i for around $60,000. If it were our money, we'd likely buy one of the German options.