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Ranking the Best and Worst Infiniti Models for 2020

Reviewing the 2020 Infiniti Lineup

Infiniti Q60 Project Black S prototype might yield a production model in 2020

Nissan’s luxury division’s U.S. sales figures have reached their all-time high of 153,415 units in 2017. Their market share is still a little ways below 1 percent which is pretty much on par with Acura, but way lower than what Lexus has been able to achieve. Yet, the sales growth trend is expected to carry over into the next few years despite a somewhat insignificant slump in 2018. Last year, Infiniti’s U.S. deliveries fell to 149.280 units which is a 2.7 percent drop compared to record-breaking 2017. But, what does the 2020 Infiniti lineup have in store for us?

Not much, apparently. Infiniti models are mostly in for a carryover when it comes to MY 2020 and no new model is expected to make a debut until 2021 at the earliest. Not even the Infiniti EV’s aren’t expected before that, although the Japanese brand has presented the QX concept at the 2019 Detroit auto show. Although this doesn’t come as a surprise considering how good-looking the Infiniti cars are at this stage, a lack of action might have a detrimental effect on brand’s aspirations of grabbing a larger chunk of market share.

Without further ado, however, let’s take a look at what might be smart to pay attention to when it comes to the 2020 Infiniti lineup. A glance at company’s volume lineup for 2020 is also appropriate in this instance.

What’s Hot in the New 2020 Infiniti Lineup

03. 2020 QX50

The second-generation Infiniti QX50 debuted for MY 2019, bringing along a completely revamped design and one of the most advanced pieces of engineering to the market. The new model’s sales are already justifying the resources invested in this significant makeover since Infiniti’s already marketed 25,389 units in 2018 which is by far the luxury compact’s best result to date.

The new QX50 didn’t fulfill all the expectations, however. Despite being good-looking, plushy, spacious, and tech-savvy, its infotainment lacks the overall refinement expected from a vehicle of its class. The biggest issue, however, might just be the QX50’s dull handling.

Starting from around $37,000, the new Infiniti QX50 is slightly more affordable than what you’d expect from an average vehicle in its class, but can get quite pricey in an instant. New for 2020 are the range-topping Sensory and Autograph trim levels which cost around $49,000 and $54,000 respectively. Also new are standard across the range automatic high-beams, blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning, rear automated emergency braking, and rear cross-traffic alerts.

The advanced piece of engineering mentioned above is actually the next-gen QX50’s powertrain. By itself, the Infiniti’s 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine doesn’t sound like much, but it’s easy to overlook the technological advancements behind this powerful and efficient mill. It’s good enough for 268 ponies and 280 pound-feet of torque which is almost at a V6 level. However, thanks to its variable compression ratio which ranges from 8.0:1 to 14.0:1, the 2020 Infiniti QX50 is able to deliver around 30 percent increase in fuel efficiency. At least in theory. The real world testing has showcased somewhat lower figures.

The new engine also gets a new CVT gearbox which simulates eight forward gears and, as expected, suffers from the usual CVT woes – only in smaller amounts. It’s expected that the Japanese will only improve this new technology as time progresses, but the Infiniti QX50 is already one of the better choices on the market regardless of a few small issues in need of ironing.

QX50 is one of the most prolific 2020 Infiniti models

 

02. 2020 QX80

Despite riding on an almost decade-old platform, the largest of Infiniti vehicles isn’t showing any signs of stopping. It’s sales are getting better with each passing year and have stopped just short of the 20,000 unit mark for the first time ever at the end of 2018 (19,207 units were sold).

The full-size body-on-frame SUV has received its second facelift for MY 2018 which has done more than enough to prolong its already extended life cycle. The flagship SUV wasn’t without its share of issues, however. It boasted one of the most outdated infotainment systems on the market until this year which was simply unacceptable for a vehicle of its stature. The updated system now sports two displays (upper one is an 8-inch and lower one is 7 inches in diameter) and works much better than before.

With that sorted, the QX80 does pretty much everything else admirably when it comes to the interior. It’s spacious, refined, and offers a long list of safety upgrades. Base models retail for around $66,000 while the recently introduced range-topping QX80 Limited starts from north of $90,000, which is quite a steep hike over the lower grade models.

One of the QX80’s major issues can be found under the hulking SUV’s hood. An extremely thirsty 5.6L V8 offers quite a punch at 400 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of twist, but requires gallons and gallons of premium unleaded fuel. It’s so thirsty that 14 mpg in the city and 20 mpg on the highway is pretty much the best-case scenario. Any model but the entry-level, however, comes with a mandatory all-wheel-drive system which further reduces both figures by a single point, effectively sending any chance of a respectable fuel economy into the gutter.

Every Infiniti QX80 is offered with a 7-speed automatic transmission. If properly equipped, the QX80 can tow up to 8,500 pounds.

All things considered, the Infiniti QX80 actually offers a good value for money since all of its competitors usually cost more. Hopefully, the Japanese will continue with the same strategy when they introduce the next-gen units, which we also hope will happen sooner rather than later.

Infiniti QX80 front 3/4 view

 

01. 2020 Q60 Project Black S

The prototype-like name of the ultimate Infiniti sports coupe is there on purpose. The Q60 Project Black S is exactly that, but it’s also gone a long way since the early concept days in 2017. Presented at the 2017 Geneva motor show, the prototype version practically represents a production-ready vehicle, but the Japanese aren’t ready to explore that option just yet and are expected to make a decision by year’s end.

Considering it sports some of the most advanced pieces of F1 engineering, Nissan brass first needs to find a way to make it cost-effective. The Project Black S boasts Renault Sport’s Formula 1 technology consisting of what they call a dual-hybrid powertrain and a corresponding aero package which produces high levels of downforce.

The motorsports theme carries over to the car’s interior as well, but that was the least we could have expected from the Japanese automaker.

The powertrain in question consists of a 3.0L twin-turbocharged V6 internal combustion mill and no fewer than three electric motors/generators. Two of them are tied to the turbos and can regenerate energy from the exhaust regardless of whether the car is braking or accelerating, while the third one is mated to the engine itself. The entire setup gives the Project Black S coupe 563 horsepower, which is genuine supercar performance. Despite weighing more than 3,900 pounds, the ultimate version of the Q60 still manages to hit the 60 mph mark in under 4 seconds.

Of course, the kinetic energy recovery system costs a fortune and is typically only featured in fully-fledged supercars which often cost a few hundreds of thousands of dollars. No vehicle from Nissan’s luxury division has broken the six-digit barrier yet (although the Nissan GT-R has), so Infiniti’s reluctance is understandable.

Should they proceed and convert the Q60 Project Black S into a real production model, it’ll certainly become their most expensive car ever produced. Their job now is to find a way of keeping this disproportionate gap as narrow as possible. Meanwhile, testing of the new technology continues and a production version featuring the dual-hybrid KERS system could arrive as early as sometime in 2020.

Infiniti Q60 Project Black S prototype might yield a production model in 2020

 

What’s Not in the New 2020 Infiniti Lineup

04. 2020 Q70

The flagship Infiniti sedan first made it to U.S. shores in 2013. Although it was updated once and its lineup at one point included a hybrid model alongside regular and long-wheelbase units, the Q70 is now seriously outdated and the hybrid was axed after MY 2018, leaving the remaining lineup devoid of a fuel-efficient option. Infiniti has come to a decision to axe the car for MY 2020 hence only the leftover stock from previous year can now be ordered.

The Q70 is still looking good, though, despite age catching up on it. It’s also plushy and spacious. However, the list of shortcomings is somewhat longer than its list of advantages. The Q70’s features list isn’t as colorful or advanced as the lists of available amenities in competing models. Moreover, its handling is heavier than usual for the class, hence the luxury sedan offers no fun whatsoever. Then again, large sedans rarely do. Finally, The Q70’s engines all have shortcomings of their own.

Speaking of which, the base 3.7L naturally aspirated V6 with 330 horsepower is now quite outdated which you’ll constantly be reminded of thanks to its exhaust note. An optional 5.6L V8 with 420 ponies rectifies that issue but comes at a staggering price of $13,000. Although both units are tied to a 7-speed automatic gearbox, neither is particularly fuel-efficient.

The good news, however, is that both the regular and long-wheelbase models can be ordered with both available engines, and either can be ordered with rear or all-wheel drive. Or rather they could have been before they were discontinued. We can’t exactly be picky when it comes to something like that.

While the base Q70 with a V6 engine and rear-wheel drive starts from just over $50,000, the corresponding V8-powered Q70 costs more than $63,000. The optional all-wheel drive upgrade runs $2,000 for the V6 models while the V8’s all-wheel-drive options raises the final price tag by $2,500.

Infiniti Q70 front 3/4 view

 

03. 2020 QX30

The British-built Infiniti QX30 borrows a lot from the Mercedes-Benz GLA Class – practically its entire architecture, in fact. The luxury subcompact crossover is, thus, fun to drive, thanks to its exceptional handling. Or rather it was considering it too was discontinued for MY 2020, and only a leftover stock is in play at the moment.

Despite its superlative driving dynamics and exceptional styling, the QX30 suffers from limited practicality and a rather high price tag. Base models start from $30,000 while range-topping units require around $40,000 before extras.

Furthermore, the subcompact’s production began in 2016 which made it a prime candidate for a mid-term facelift as early as of 2019 – a facelift which never came apparently. Furthermore, the compact’s 2018 U.S. sales figures have fallen by more than 40 percent compared to 2017 totals. All this was taken into account before making the hard decision of axing the car altogether.

Beating under QX30’s hood is another piece of German engineering, also taken from the GLA Class. The 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder in question cranks up 208 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of rotational force. It routes all that power to either the front two or all four wheels via a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission.

Although all models are zippy, the Sport trim stands out thanks to its specifically-tuned suspension and larger brakes.

Despite a few pros, the Infiniti QX30 wasn’t more than a mediocre choice overall when it comes to the small luxury crossover segment. There was simply too much work to be done if the Japanese wanted to keep it competitive, hence they’ll be heading into another direction as of 2020.

Infiniti QX30 front 3/4 view

 

02. 2020 Q50

Not counting the venerable yet twice-updated QX80 and a slightly smaller QX60, the Q50 sedan currently boasts more seniority than any other model within the Infiniti range. The compact executive sedan rides on underpinnings unchanged since 2013 and MY 2020 will officially be the last production year before we see an extensive overhaul.

With the third-generation arriving in 2021, it’s apparent why the 2020 Infiniti Q50 can’t be recommended as a good choice – at least not new. Buying a used one after a year (when the redesigned model gets out) could be a fine investment though, due to a considerable drop in prices when the completely new car arrives on scene.

The current Q50 is still good-looking despite its age and offers plenty of room for its passengers albeit being a bit anemic in the cargo space department. With hybrids discontinued, however, the small luxury car’s lineup doesn’t really sport a fuel-efficient option. Especially since the smaller of two remaining engines has been axed for MY 2020 as well. Also, it’s got an outdated infotainment system which won’t be updated prior to full makeover, and starts from north of $36,000 which is a bit too much for such an outdated car.

The base Mercedes-Benz-sourced 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder with 208 horsepower used to be a better option than what most of Q50’s competitors offer, but the Japanese have, as already mentioned, dropped it for model year 2020. It was exclusively available with entry-level models which now have to rely on a larger V6 engine.

The 3.0L twin-turbocharged V6 capable of putting up as much as 400 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of twist in the range-topping Red Sport models is a superb engine though. The optional V6, however, usually delivers 300 ponies and 295 pound-feet.

Regardless of the engine of choice, you’ll be confined to a seven-speed automatic. Although the optional V6 considerably raises the Q50’s appeal, as mentioned above, this extravagance will cost you. The Red Sport model with all-wheel drive will set you back more than $54,000.

Infiniti Q50 Red Sport front 3/4 view

 

01. 2020 QX60

Another one of venerable Infiniti vehicles due for a makeover, the QX60 has soldiered on for years. The luxury mid-size crossover offers a cramped third row and adequate, yet not overly generous cargo capacity. In an attempt to balance comfort and practicality, it somehow fails to manage either.

Although its overall design has aged well, the QX60 suffers from outdated interior materials and a lack of advanced features, especially in base trims. Lately, the Japanese have added a number of advanced safety features like standard automatic emergency braking in order to keep the aging crossover relevant among luxury-seeking families. Also, blind-spot monitoring is standard as of 2020.

They’ve also included a new range-topping Limited trim which costs a whopping $64,000 or thereabouts. Meanwhile, the entry-level models retain their prices which start from just under $45,000.

There’s only one engine under the Infiniti QX60’s hood. It’s a proven 3.5L V6 which won’t let you down but won’t offer everything a contemporary intermediate crossover’s engine is expected to, either. Rated at 295 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque, it packs more than enough punch for both city and highway driving at full load, but only manages to return 22 mpg combined regardless of whether you opt for rear or all-wheel drive.

Tied to a smooth CVT transmission, it doesn’t really do anything out of the ordinary, but that’s probably a good thing in this instance.

The Infiniti QX60 is dying on the vine in spite of holding up well for its age. An extensive overhaul was much needed, but didn’t arrive in time for MY 2020. Instead, we’ll have to make do with what we’ve already got, and that package isn’t getting any younger.

 

Infiniti QX60 front 3/4 view







Nikola Potrebić
About Nikola Potrebić

Despite driving a piece of junk, Nikola still manages to survive the harrowing experience called "A road trip in a Yugo," day in, day out. On the other hand, precious few things move him as muscle cars do. Especially those from the bygone golden era, which makes him wonder why wasn't he born a few decades earlier? Well, at least he's been given the opportunity to enjoy the likes of the Pontiak Aztek, Chrysler PT Cruiser, Fiat Multipla, and other lovely millennials, right? Come to think of it, I'll stick with my Yugo. Thank you very much!