Infiniti presents the QX60 Monograph prototype.
The manufacturer Infiniti has been at a crossroads for several seasons. Nissan's luxury division sales are below expected levels, while Nissan, the giant behind the luxury wing, is busy restructuring the ship. As for the electric turn, it will indeed take place, the Infiniti strategists who have already announced their colors a few months ago.
But, before completing the turn, Infiniti must first enter the turn. And to get there, the brand needs to be built on solid ground: an alignment made up mostly of utility vehicles and a few captivating sports cars for purists.
Infiniti's newest vehicle is the QX50, the compact size utility struggling to make its mark in one of the industry's largest and most constrained niches. Next is the QX60, the family crossover which despite its advanced age continues to attract families looking for a more subdued experience than in a Nissan Pathfinder, the distant cousin of the QX60.
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The Future of Infiniti Design
But, all good things come to an end: the QX60 which will be given a facelift in a few months, since we have just witnessed the unveiling of the QX60 Monograph prototype and the least we can say is that the Infiniti design will evolve significantly… from several points of view at least!
We can guess that this concept, freshly unveiled in Yokohama, Japan, traces the guideline for the brand's future utility models. Of the model in service since 2013, only the name remains … and the badge! Admittedly, there is a family tie up front, although it is already admitted that the design department did a great job there with that very imposing radiator grille and those optical clusters installed at the upper ends of the toasting, but there the comparisons end. Even the openings on both sides of the grille are in harmony with the rest of the muzzle.
More sporty the next QX60?
The flat hood, flowing body panels on the sidewalls, and that "horizontal" fenestration change the QX60 recipe quite abruptly. The day before the global launch, during a virtual conference, the vice-director of design for the Nissan group, Alfonso Albaisa, did not want to confirm the anticipated sportiness of this new generation QX60, but it was all about even escaped on the driving experience which would be very different on board this future utility with three rows of seats. We keep our fingers crossed to make this wish come true!
It will be recalled that the current QX60 relies above all on the comfort of its occupants with a suspension as soft as possible and a powertrain whose only mission is to record a reasonable average fuel consumption. In short, for strong emotions, you have to look elsewhere.
From the first glance, the QX60 Monograph prototype exudes a new atmosphere. Two models come to mind when I admire this silhouette: Range Rover Velar and Lincoln Aviator. These two crossovers have an "all-in-the-back" cabin with a long hood, which suggests a decidedly sleeker vehicle. And that's good, because these two protagonists are precisely in the same segment as the QX60.
The speakers from Infiniti also unveiled the size of the prototype's rims, which is 22 inches. While that detail doesn't add much to this upcoming QX60's upcoming spec sheet, the fact that the vehicle sits on 22-inch (!) Rims gives a better idea of the crossover's proportions. It's safe to say that the production model's rim size will be one size smaller, if only to make life easier for consumers who will need to find tires in the future.
Another element that differentiates the QX60 Monograph from the aging outgoing model is behind it. Indeed, this marked inclination of the rear window combined with this enveloping bodywork accentuates this impression of muscle and presence. The fact that the position lights are included in this darkened strip also contributes to this fact of weapons.
We must also address the issue of the C-pillar, Infiniti which has stood out over the past decade with this unorthodox curvature to the rear of the side windows of its vehicles. Even though the QX50 is still dressed in such a finish, it looks like the future of Infiniti design is going to take a much cleaner path. Instead, the QX60 Monograph is set with these two chrome bands around the side windows, but they are separate, giving the impression of a "floating roof." The effect is likely to interest a wider audience, and that is excellent news for Infiniti who know full well that the QX60 is a key model for the evolution of the brand.
Unfortunately, we will have to wait until 2021 to learn more about this intriguing prototype very close to the production model.
How does Infiniti plan to transform the driveability of its three-row crossover? Will the twin-turbo V6 engine currently bolted under the hood of the Q50 / Q60 tandem be reused in this family vehicle? Will a decision be made on this continuously variable gearbox that erases the accelerations of the outgoing model? Will the engineers have found the right balance between comfort and sportiness?
All of these questions will have to wait until next year, but until those questions are answered, the only thing we can do is admire this new direction Infiniti wants to take.
Pictures of the Infiniti QX60 Monograph prototype