It was just late last year that Infiniti launched its refreshed 2016 model here. In a bid to fend off stiff competition from the likes of Audi Q7, Volvo XC90 and the Mercedes GLE, the Japanese brand gave the seven-seater SUV a mid-life update, which was mostly limited to cosmetic tweaks. These included a larger, more distinctive “double arch” grille, and a lower air intake with chrome garnishing integrated into the bumper, along with redesigned headlights and taillights.
However, a vital component in the 2016 model upgrade that was available in other markets was not brought here. In fact, the 3.5-litre V6 in there was the same that powered the model in 2012 when it was first introduced as the JX35. At 265bhp and 336Nm of torque, it was no pushover, but the powertrain available elsewhere made significantly more power and torque. But Infiniti Middle East has been quick to announce the 2017 model of the utility vehicle with the more powerful engine.
It is still a version of the old 3.5-litre six-cylinder block, but the powertrain has been uprated to put out 30 horsepower and 14Nm of torque more than before. This means it now makes 295bhp at 6,400rpm and 350Nm of torque at 4,800rpm. It’s still not as powerful or torquey as a Volvo XC90 T6 or an Audi Q7 45TFSI, but the V6 is smooth and powerful enough at cruising speeds and for driving around town. Although the engine is still mated to a continuously variable transmission, Infiniti has managed to keep the drone typically associated with such transmissions under check. Infiniti has even added a Sport mode that remaps the CVT to simulate the shift patterns of a conventional automatic gearbox.
Things remain unchanged inside the QX60, which isn’t a bad thing at all, as it has always been a very practical seven-seater. Apart from the spacious first and second rows, it also boasts a third-row that’s actually roomy enough for average sized adults and comes with individual AC vents so that you feel less stifled. It’s also easy to get in and out of the last row as the second-row seats slide forward to make ample space. But as I have mentioned before, despite all the upmarket materials and, QX60’s cabin looks and feels very similar to that of the Nissan Pathfinder with which it shares a platform. I hope the next generational update will see more efforts at distinguishing the Infiniti with its lesser Nissan sibling.
The 2017 QX60 also comes equipped with a host of convenience features such as a Motion Activated Liftgate that lets you open the tailgate with just a swipe of your foot under the rear bumper, two large 8.0in headrest monitors for rear passengers, and an upgraded infotainment system. Safety has also been given due importance with features such as Forward Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Predictive Forward Collision Warning, Backup Collision Intervention and Around View Monitor among others.
Having been introduced five years ago, a comprehensive update is overdue for the QX60. Until that happens, these technological upgrades and the uprated engine have the uphill task of keeping the thoroughly modern rivals at bay.