The current Infiniti QX60 has remained largely unchanged since 2013. Recall that the model was first introduced as the JX before the nomenclature of the model was changed in 2014, along with all of the brand's models. Then was born the QX60.
I was at the launch of that vehicle and what my big takeaway from my first drive of it was, unfortunately, the continuously variable transmission of the vehicle. Its efficiency was not in question, but rather its presence as a key component of a premium product belonging to a luxury banner.
The same was true of the QX50 introduced in January 2018. The vehicle is interesting, but the CVT spoils the experience you want to have with a luxury SUV.
Well, we're about to move on to something else with the new generation QX60, which will be presented officially in the coming months. And, unusually but perhaps tellingly, we're getting an announcement regarding the powertrain before the full unveiling; clearly, Infiniti is eager to highlight the change in philosophy here.
And what we're being shown is the arrival of a new nine-speed automatic transmission, probably the same one that will make its debut with the next-generation Nissan Pathfinder. Premium on board, that's interesting.
Infiniti explains that it has conducted multiple tests with this ZF transmission. In the next QX60 it will be wedded to the 3.5L V6 engine that will continue to deliver 295 hp. The new transmission, said Dave Kiesel, powertrain performance manager at the Infiniti test centre in Arizona, offers a “larger ratio spread — almost 10:1. This gives the customer the ability to have a standing start performance that is confident and responsive. The corollary of that is also that you maintain your fuel economy on the highway.”
From reading Infiniti's press release, it's clear that the automaker wants to make its luxury SUV's handling more refined, providing buyers with a smoother, smoother and more luxurious driving experience.
Has Infiniti listened to the critics by changing its philosophy with the arrival of this new transmission? It may have. You can be sure we'll ask the question when the official presentation of the model takes place. One thing's for sure, we can expect a vehicle that will offer us a different driving experience.
It will also be interesting to see if other under-the-hood options are offered to consumers, especially in terms of electrification. Infiniti is behind the industry curve in this regard, but it can tap into Nissan's toolbox to make up for it.
Stay tuned for the full unveiling of the 2022 Infiniti QX60, coming soon.