During a recent visit to the Design District of West Hollywood I was inspired by INFINITI and their set of progressive, technological values as they continue to create excellence in the form of some of our favorite vehicles. The Japanese automotive purveyor is one of the latest, steadfastly growing luxury brands with a focus on modish styling, adaptive engineering and efficient powertrains. Now, with the release of the all-new 2019 QX50 luxuriant crossover, which is built 100% from the ground up, expect continuous elevation in a market segment that witnessed 600,000 units roll off dealer lots in 2017.
For this particular media drive INFINITI tapped in the lifestyle intentions of the invited guests and centered the vehicle around the various elements that makes us smile and simply enjoy life. One key aspect of travel is the location you decide to overnight at. In this case we valeted the QX50 at the recently opened Kimpton La Peer Hotel in the Design District of the city. Its flagrant comforts and pristine services paralleled INFNITI’s objective as well, especially when we focus on the human aspect of how they interact their products with customers. One small note to self was the provided deep blue laptop case made from Ultrasuede premium materials, the same materials used on the dashboard of the QX50 which signifies that life on the go can be just as comforting. The overall goal of the QX50 cockpit is to create a more contented atmosphere which creates added driving confidence.
Are you familiar with INFINITI’s Q Inspiration Concept by chance that was revealed at the Detroit and Chicago Auto Shows and signifies what lies in store for the company? Not only is its styling epic, but the concept’s VC-Turbo engine is just as impressive. Cross your fingers that it comes to fruition. In the interim we can enjoy the power and fuel economy from the same 2.0-liter VC-Turbo variable compression ratio engine utilized in the QX50. Its advancements deliver immediate acceleration with 268-horsepower and torque achievement of 288 at just 1,600 rpm while still attracting 27 combined mpg. The prior 3.7-liter V6 produced 267 lb-ft of torque at 5,200 rpm and 7 mpg less fuel. That’s an impressive 35% improvement. Bravo!
A few key aspects of recognition for the 2019 QX50 include 23% more rigidity than the old platform, the famed double-arched grille that’s representative of evening jewelry, distinctive LED headlamps, unique taillamp treatment, INFINITI’s crescent engraved D-pillar and the muscular clam-shell hood. In fact, the entire body looks as if it’s been cross training during the transformation period. Add on the 20” dark-painted aluminum-alloys to our Chestnut Bronze exterior and White interior and you can see why we felt empowered. Or you could invert the scenario and flow with a Majestic White exterior and Wheat/Brown interior. Sounds wholesome and pure like the foods they served during the trip.
Living a healthy lifestyle leads us right into INFINITI’s wellness state of mind including the structure of their seats. For the entire day I felt cozier than ever and actually see an impending rivalry with Volvo’s XC90 seats which spent five years in development. To ascertain our bodies were cared to INFINITI also set up a bespoke and much needed fusion yoga and core workout with celebrity trainer Ashley Borden before test driving the QX50. Keeping the muscles limber is always a key aspect of our fitness regimen.
Throughout the day it was a beautiful drive as the sun flourished through the extended panoramic sunroof in route to Malibu as we headed to Nobu on Billionaire Beach for some veggie sushi. That’s right, I drive clean and eat even cleaner. Acceleration is amazing and instantaneous, yet the sound of the VC-Turbo is pretty bland. Steering is taught and braking is superb. I also enjoyed ProPILOT Assist on the highway which helps keep the QX50 in its lane with your assistance of course. It’s not fully autonomous.
The cabin is inspiring and commingles a myriad of premium materials and multifaceted technologies that appeal to the driver’s and passenger’s needs. For example, with the Sensory Package my vehicle was adorned with natural Maple wood (open pore), Ultrasuede upper door panels, pillars and headliner, semi-aniline leather and climate control seats, and ambient lighting. My ride also had the Bose Performance Series 17-speaker audio system with distinct polished speaker grilles. However, as much as I respect Bose the sound from this particular system was muffled no matter if I used Bluetooth or a USB connection or iTunes or satellite radio. I tried several genres with the same result. The center stack is dominated by a dual-screen multimedia system which is becoming the new norm from Acura to Land Rover. The QX50 has a top 8” touchscreen dedicated to the navigation and messages while the bottom 7” screen focuses on the climate, entertainment and apps such as InTouch Services.
Of course you want to be ascertained of your overall safety while driving in style so INFINITI blessed the 2019 QX50 with advanced systems like Back-up Collision Intervention, Predictive Forward Collision Warning, Distance Control Assist, Lane Departure Warning and Prevention, Blind Spot Warning and Intervention and Forward Emergency Braking with pedestrian detection.
After a long day of evaluations in the LA area it was time for an impeccable dinner. Throughout the day I received a cadre of recommendations from my colleagues to visit Gracias Madre for some delicious vegan Mexican food. The jackfruit tacos were my main choice and came with barbecue jackfruit, cashew cream, pickled cabbage, crispy onions and black beans. Additionally, the crowd was eclectic, the vibe super chill and the music trendy. What an amazing day!
Starting at $36,550 for a FWD Pure model or accruing to $45,150 for an ESSENTIAL AWD model, INFINITI is targeting young couples as well as baby boomers for their 2019 QX50. The LUXE variant falls between the two aforementioned. Each can be had with FWD or AWD. The vehicle is fresh, innovative and full of utility for either group as INFINITI expects every one of their loyalists to “Empower The Drive.”