Debate the looks of the 2015 Infiniti QX80 all you want. Actually, you don't have to. It's always going to look like a melted brick. A melted brick with chrome portholes that still manage to look like a $12 add-on. Too bad, because it's actually really nice.
(Update: An earlier version of this post had photos of the 2015 Q70's interior, also shown Thursday in New York.)
The restyled front end gets rid of some of the glitz that made the old QX80 (the former QX56) look kind of tacky. Too bad they didn't fix some of the odd curves, but then that's not a design language Infiniti speaks.
It's even worse because Infiniti made the inside of this big SUV freakin' gorgeous for 2015. They're rightfully proud of the doses of Ultrasuede and semi-aniline leather that have been given to the new top-trim Limited model. The end result is probably one of the nicest interiors on the market.
Acura gets making quality interiors, but doesn't know where to sweat the details. Lexus is sort of getting there. Infiniti, however, understands the concept. And in some ways, the QXUltrasudeSemi-aniline has the best interior of the luxury SUVs outside of a Range Rover.
There's something about it that makes it feel as special and bespoke as cars costing well into the six figures. Even some parts of Bentley interiors these days come off as sterile. It could've been that my expectations were low, but there was very little in the front of the Infiniti that came off as run-of-the-mill.
But there were a few things. Those issues stem from the SUV's age and the use of some switchgear that's decidedly Altima-like in look and feel. It all works, but it's mass-market in feel. The German brands are also offenders in this area.
I'm still just blown away that I liked the inside of the QXUltrasudeSemi-aniline as much as I did. Best of all, it's not a crossover, but a V8-powered towing machine. This isn't something I'd ever own, but I can understand why Infiniti sells a decent amount of them.
Now if they just made it less blobby on the outside.
Photos: Brian Williams, Infiniti