2022 Infiniti QX55: Yet another sporty crossover

Photos courtesy Infiniti

DENVER — When I think of great-looking, fun-to-drive luxury vehicles, my brain seldom considers Infiniti.

The upscale sister brand to Nissan has been in a bit of a slump for the past few years, which is a bummer because they make some excellent cars, including the Q50 Red Sport I reviewed a year ago. As I said in the Q50 review, there is no light without the dark, and Infiniti can’t have a turnaround without first having a rough go of things.

This brings us to the 2022 Infiniti QX55, a four-door fastback-styled crossover that looks fantastic and gets a compelling feature set, even as it competes against juggernauts like the BMW X4 and Mercedes-Benz GLC coupe. That’s the downside — this segment is a niche to begin with, and it’s something like David facing Goliath and Goliath.

While it’s a reworked QX50, the more traditional luxury crossover offering from Infiniti, the exterior redesign makes it feel like an entirely different vehicle. My tester was a Dynamic Sunstone Red that popped in the bright Colorado sun.

There are sharp power domes on the hood, 20-inch wheels, lovely tucks and creases along the beltline, and a severely angled rear hatch that somehow pulls it all together at the rear. The bodywork looks like someone pulled a sheet taut over a flowing sculpture, and I’m all about it.

It’s not quite as glorious on the inside. The Infiniti design team has done its best, but it remains a reworking of an older design. The center stack houses a pair of screens, with the top acting as a de facto wireless Apple CarPlay display (or wired Android Auto) and the bottom showcasing an old user interface for the audio and climate controls.

I don’t love the dual screens, but a nice bonus is that I can have my Apple Maps displayed on the upper touchscreen while the currently-playing music is displayed on the bottom screen. Surrounding the bottom screen is a mish-mash of physical controls for the climate control, heated and ventilated seats, and more. The dash cluster has analog gauges when most of the competition has switched to digital. The steering wheel is a steering wheel, and the seats could use a touch more padding. Old but serviceable is the name of the game here.

Infiniti makes much of its 2.0-liter four-cylinder with a variable-compression turbo that alters its ratio between 14:1 and 8:1 to optimize for high-efficiency or high-performance. The engine is terrific, making 268 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. Unfortunately, it’s connected to a CVT that lets it down considerably. The QX55 is very sporty until it isn’t. There’s considerable turbo lag from 0-10 mph away from a stop light, and then it rockets away. You get the same thing if you’re cruising and put your foot down. Once it goes, it goes — but you might have to wait a second.

The QX55 also has Infiniti’s Direct Adaptive Steering — also known as steer-by-wire — which has been controversial in the past. In simple terms, the steering wheel isn’t directly connected to the wheels. You make steering inputs, and the computer determines how the wheels should turn. This sounds scary, except jumbo jets have been flying this way for decades, and it’s nearly imperceptible in the Infiniti. I was driving it for several days before it occurred to me to check the spec sheet, and I would never have noticed if I didn’t see it mentioned there. Infiniti USA’s press release on the QX55 doesn’t mention the feature at all. There is a mechanical backup that takes over in the event of an electrical failure, by the way, so no worries there.

The Infiniti QX55 harkens back to the Infiniti FX, one of the first “sports crossover” vehicles, first launched in 2003. It’s chock-full of luxury features like active noise cancellation through the Bose stereo, laminated acoustic glass, just about every safety and luxury feature you could want, and a spacious cargo area.

But my tester, the top-of-the-line Sensory trim, landed at $60,350. Even in today’s out-of-control vehicle market, that’s a lot of money though it’s certainly competitive with the BMW and Mercedes-Benz units it’s going up against. And it’s relatively popular, with sales doubling from 2021 to 2022 — though still selling half the number of BMW X4’s so far in 2022.

Still, there’s a lot to like in the Infiniti QX55, and I suspect more than a few buyers will bring it home just on the exterior looks alone. There are worse reasons to buy a car.

About Jordan Golson 174 Articles
Jordan Golson is North State Journal's automotive reporter. He covers cars - both foreign and domestic - from around the globe.