2025 Infiniti QX80 First Drive Review: A Shot at the Moon That Lands Among Stars

The 2025 Infiniti QX80 isn’t just another all-new, from-the-ground-up vehicle redesign. To the Japanese luxury automaker, the QX80 represents more than that. Without specifically saying so, Infiniti is looking to leave second-string luxury competitors (i.e. Acura, Buick, Lincoln, et al.) behind and target the fancy car big leagues—Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Lexus, those guys. If the frequent usage of words like “elevated” in their speeches wasn’t telling enough, just take a look at the QX80’s six-figure price tag.

Beverly Braga

This shift in brand identity was in constant play during my stint at the QX80 drive event in Napa Valley. So confident in its new product, Infiniti gave us top-of-the-line Autograph trims to drive—all pre-production models. Essentially, these were crushers. With huge risk comes huge reward, or an embarrassing face-first stumble. The all-new QX80 results in a little bit of both.

The Basics 

Right off the bat, this new-generation full-size QX looks very different from its predecessors. When the flagship Infiniti SUV arrived 20 years ago, the then-QX56 was every bit the brutish tank it aspired to be. From its styling to its handling, the QX56 catered to buyers with an alpha male mindset. But the early 2010s brought a redesign that softened its squarish squat into a curvaceous bubble, plus a name change to QX80. Following this evolution, the QX’s demo has become neither alpha nor male but tech-seeking hospitality-providing power couples. That’s what the marketing slide said, anyway. Nevertheless, the new QX80 fits this bill.

Less curvy this time around, the 2025 QX80 features large slabs of sheet metal with nary a kink or curve. There is a single high-belt character line that travels the length of the vehicle. Horizontal and unwavering, this lone design detail all but disappears from any angle that isn’t a side profile. And from that vantage point, the QX80 looks every bit like a Ford Edge-Range Rover love child. However, the QX80 is best viewed at its front three-quarters. From other angles, the large SUV either looks like a big-toothed mouse (massive front grille plus teeny flappy outside mirrors) or a van with a zippered opening (large rear greenhouse plus rippling-effect taillights). Considering how busy the brand’s other vehicles look, the zero-fuss QX80 might be a welcome respite for Infiniti fans.

The interior is where the real business happens. There’s the option to accommodate up to eight occupants, but the standard layout is seven seats, with captain’s chairs for the second row as well as a 60/40-split folding and reclining third row. The eight-seater replaces the captain’s chairs for a 40/20/40-split second-row bench. All are power-adjustable. Heated seats are standard for rows one and two but are now optional for the third row, which is a QX80 first. Also, massaging and ventilated seats can be optioned for the first two rows. Sorry, third-row riders can’t have everything. Perhaps Infiniti is saving that for the fourth-gen QX80 that’ll come out in, like, 2038.

The new QX80 is an inch longer (211.2), 3.4 inches wider (83.3), and 0.8 inches taller (76.6 at the lowest suspension setting). Those expanded exterior dimensions (as well as tricks like a flatter floor) result in more space inside. Cargo volume behind the third row has increased by 28% compared to the outgoing model, yielding enough room to fit at least two large checked-bag-size suitcases. With the third row down, cargo space went up by 17% over the previous gen, and with the second row also folded, total cargo room is up 6%.

What’s more, every seat is comfortable. Yes, even those in the third row, which come standard with power-adjustable seatbacks, air vents, cupholders, USB ports, ambient lighting, and an armrest for the outboard passengers. Those giant rear windows that make the exterior design appear awkward from certain angles benefit the interior by minimizing any cave-like claustrophobia. The wayback seats themselves are surprisingly well cushioned—the headrests were especially plush—and are styled like all the other seats with quilted inserts and contrast stitching. I spent the entire second leg of our drive route back there—all 65 miles through wine country. My only complaint? Despite all of the creature comforts, it still sort of feels like riding in the back of a body-on-frame school bus, with body movements exacerbated by the driver’s exuberance.

Beverly Braga

Driving Experience 

The 2025 QX80 is not just bigger, it’s also more powerful—in fact, it’s the torquiest Infiniti yet. Replacing the last-gen’s 5.6-liter V8 is a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 derived from the Nissan GT-R (RIP) and Q50 Red Sport (which, coincidentally, I drove to the event). Horsepower increases by 50 and torque is up by 103 lb-ft for a total output of 450 hp and 516 lb-ft. And every single bit of it is needed to move all that weight. An official curb weight isn’t available yet, but last year’s heaviest variant weighed 6,085 pounds. 

Beverly Braga

Replacing last gen’s seven-speed automatic transmission is a nine-speed that’s said to improve low-end acceleration by 27% and overdrive fuel economy by 12%. As a result, the EPA-estimated fuel economy for rear-wheel drive models is 16 mpg city, 20 mpg highway, and 18 mpg combined, while four-wheel-drive variants are estimated to achieve 15/19/17 mpg, respectively. Highway numbers didn’t change year-over-year, but city and combined mpg for both drivetrains jumped by 2 mpg. Don’t ask me how much those figures drop when towing, but the QX80 offers a best-in-class standard rating of 8,500 pounds.

So, with an engine taken from sports cars, does the QX80 handle Napa Valley’s winding mountain curves like one? Don’t be silly. Although torsional and lateral stiffness increased by 25% and 57%, respectively, the QX80 is still a three-row SUV… that handles like a two-row SUV. I didn’t feel like there was a massive tail behind me. Acceleration was smooth, as was the transmission. But where the Q50 Red Sport wants to attack every corner, the QX80 gives them a gentle hug. That’s not a bad thing. Bear hugs from a bear sound terrifying anyway. 

Beverly Braga

The selectable drive modes are Standard, Eco, Sport, Snow, Tow, and a configurable Personal, but accessing them is a pain. There is a dedicated button, per se, but it’s on the 9.0-inch lower touchscreen where you manage climate control. Despite the haptic feedback, which you have to really push down on the icon to activate, the drive mode “button” is the farthest one away from the driver. Eh? The screens are nice but why do air suspension and camera access get a dedicated button? Over time, I’d memorize their positions, but that’s not going to happen with a touchscreen which, haptic or not, is still flat. 

In Standard mode, the QX80 was chill. The ride was comfortable and the steering was responsive. When switching to Sport mode, I noticed a stiffer steering feel, and it was, dare I say it, more fun to drive. I’d honestly forget there were two more rows of seating behind me. I hit some of the sweeping curves at the same speeds I did with the Q50 Red Sport, and the QX80 wasn’t flustered at all. Of course, it felt like a heavier vehicle but, like a sumo wrestler, it’s all power, not flab. And when push comes to shove, there’s beauty and finesse in the attack.


Infiniti QX80 Features, Options, and Competition

With its vast amenities and highfalutin’ attitude, the QX80 is definitely a premium vehicle. There is more of everything, including how much one can expect to spend. The 2025 QX80 starts at $84,445 including $1,995 for destination but the top Autograph 4WD trim you see here starts at $112,590. These prices are fairly big jumps from what this SUV used to cost—base versus base, it’s an 11% price hike while the six-figure Autograph QX80 is 24% more expensive than the previous top-trim QX80.

What justifies the jump? Well, you’ve got segment-first features like a wide-view camera up front, a 1,200-watt, 24-speaker Klipsch Reference Premiere sound system, driver’s seat-specific individual audio, and biometric cooling for the second row. Some new-to-Infiniti features that are standard include dual 14.3-inch screens, Google built-in, and, uh, flush door handles. Most of the fun new tech is available for Sensory and Autograph trims, with the latter being fully loaded with standard ProPilot Assist 2.1 and exclusive stuff like an in-car camera, a touchscreen for the second row, heated third-row seats, a front console cool box. 

The amount of tech onboard my QX80 Autograph test car was overwhelming at times. ProPilot Assist 2.1 improves upon the standard 1.1 edition by adding lane change assist. Simple and straightforward with its single-button activation, Nissan/Infiniti’s semi-autonomous safety system has always been a highlight. The individual audio system works wonders. From the third row, I couldn’t hear my co-driver receive navigation instructions, and his music sounded like a concert playing in the distance. Also, the addition of built-in Google helps future-proof the infotainment system since any synced apps can be updated via the Google Play store. 

There’s a mix of gimmick and function with the QX80. For example, the ability to operate the fold-down/up of all seats from the driver’s position is nice in theory. In practice, it’s cumbersome. From the home screen, you need to go through All Settings, Vehicle, Seat, and then get to choose what seat does what. Yes, the screen’s response time is quick but having to dig through multiple menus is annoying. 

If anything, the new QX80 has maybe too many displays and cameras. There are four large screens that replace traditional knobs and buttons, and the new in-car camera is meant to offer remote viewing of the interior (in case you forgot something… or someone). A silly side effect is that it doubles as another way to take a selfie or record a family episode of Carpool Karaoke. Safety tech includes a new Invisible Hood View, which, as the name suggests, projects an X-ray-esque view of what’s ahead and possibly under the engine bay, serving as another blind-spot monitoring angle. But the video image is too distorted and low clarity for my liking. Crouching in front of the car, it makes me look like a Conehead.

The Early Verdict

There is a lot to like about the 2025 Infiniti QX80, but six figures is a huge ask. Although I drove pre-production models, they were late-stage ones, meaning very close to the final product spec. There were plastic bits I didn’t care for, and although plush and chockful of premium amenities, there seemed to be a hesitance in its execution. 

As innovative as the new features are, they’re mostly new *for Infiniti* and not new for the upmarket segment it’s vying for. The BMW X7, Cadillac Escalade, Mercedes-Benz GLS, and Jeep Grand Wagoneer already offer similar tech and luxury features. They also have something extra, an underlying sophistication (yes, even with the Jeep) that makes you not think twice about the price. Infiniti isn’t quite there yet. The brand aspires to be, and the QX80 is a significant step in that direction. Just how many more steps Infiniti needs to take is up for debate.

2025 Infiniti QX80 Specs
Base Price (Autograph as tested)$84,445 ($112,590)
Powertrain3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 | 9-speed automatic transmission | rear- or four-wheel drive
Horsepower450 @ 5,600 rpm
Torque516 lb-ft @ 3,600 rpm
Seating Capacity7 or 8
Cargo Volume22.0 cubic feet behind third row | 59.0 cubic feet behind second row | 101.0 cubic feet behind first row
Curb WeightTBD
Max Towing8,500 pounds
Ground Clearance9.6-10 inches
EPA Fuel Economy16 mpg city | 20 highway | 18 combined (RWD)
15 mpg city | 19 highway | 17 combined (4WD)
Quick TakeSpacious, comfortable, and chock full of tech, the new QX80 plays catch-up admirably but the price is hard to swallow.

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