Ride of the Valkyries
When first meeting the Infiniti QX56, it’s hard not to imagine a full orchestra blasting out Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries in the background. Unsuspecting friends had their jaws dropping as we rolled by with our new baby elephant painted in Black Obsidian. As you would expect from the largest vehicle in the Infiniti line-up, the 2012 Infiniti QX56 comfortably seats seven, with ample space for all.
The initial walk-around of the QX56 was definitely breathtaking. The QX56 somehow manages to balance its sheer size with a sense of grace and purpose. The lines are smooth and fluid, giving the QX56 the essence of a gentle giant. The upgraded 22-inch, 9-spoke forged aluminum alloy wheels look appropriately sized for this mini pachyderm and add to its aesthetic appeal.
The QX56’s theme of character and luxury continues inside the cabin, with eye-catching styling and the use of high quality materials. The semi-aniline leather-appointed seating and excellent ergonomics provide superior passenger comfort. The dashboard panels are accented in leather and polished wood. The cockpit seamlessly blends into the dashboard and is well laid out with excellent driver functionality. Pleasing to the eye are big, well-illuminated dials, gauges and an 8-inch WVGA touch-screen display.
Following a total redesign in 2011, enhancements to the QX56 for the 2012 model year include the addition of Blind Spot Intervention™ to the Technology Package, the addition of the Bose® Cabin Surround® sound system with 15 speakers to the Deluxe Touring Package, the addition of heated second row seats and remote tip-up second row seats to the Theater Package (from the Deluxe Touring Package) and the addition of headlight washers to the QX56 2WD Deluxe Touring Package. In addition, the Tire and Wheel Package (introduced in late 2011) carries over to 2012.
All QX56 models are fitted with Infiniti’s powerful 5.6L V8 engine, which produces 400 hp and 413 lb-ft torque. The result is surprisingly brisk acceleration, especially for a 5,800 pound SUV, as well as an 8,500 pound tow rating. Mashing on the gas pedal releases a beautiful throaty rumble that would turn the head of any muscle car fan, followed by a surge of thrust similar to an airplane take off. While not good for fuel efficiency, it is a satisfying thrill, nonetheless.
EPA fuel economy estimates for the QX56 are 14 mpg in the city and 20 mpg on the open highway. We observed a combined fuel economy of 16 mpg with lots of time driving on the highway at safe and sane speeds.