Nissan’s luxury offshoot Infiniti will add the supersized QX80 SUV to its range in July, giving the premium brand a true rival to other upper-large 4WDs like the Lexus LX 570 and Mercedes-Benz GL-Class.
Based on the Y62 Patrol, the QX80 features a unique front-end design, different tail lights and tailgate, sideskirts and higher-grade interior trimmings than its Nissan-badged brother but uses the same 298kW/560Nm 5.6 litre naturally-aspirated V8 engine.
Intended to sit above the smaller and sportier QX70 in the Infiniti line-up, the QX80 is expected to be priced similarly to the Toyota Landcruiser-based LX570, which starts at $134,700.
And though Infiniti Australia admits it will be a niche model thanks to the unavailability of a diesel powerplant, the brand believes that demand is there for a plus-sized SUV at the top of its model range.
“We've had a number of customers ask about QX70 and ask for something more, so to speak,” explained Infiniti spokesman Peter Fadeyev.
“QX80 is bigger and that's one of the reasons we've decided to bring it, and bring it in small volumes.
“When we announce price and specifications for QX80, the spec jump from QX70 to QX80 will be a natural step.”
The introduction of the luxury-oriented QX80 will also see the Y62 Patrol (above) realigned, with prices expected to fall substantially to help separate the Patrol from its more premium cousin - and encourage sales.
A mild cosmetic update will also be applied.
Currently, the Y62 Patrol ranges in price from $82,690 for the entry-level ST-L, to $114,490 for the Ti-L.
It’s a slow seller compared to the more utilitarian diesel-only Y61 Patrol, which it sells alongside. Currenlty only 32 percent of all Patrol sales are for the Y62 model, translating into around 170 cars year-to-date.
The Landcruiser 200 Series (below) it competes against, by contrast, has sold over two thousand units so far this year.
According to Fadeyev, the soon to be announced repositioning of the Y62 Patrol and introduction of the QX80 should go some way toward improving the competitiveness of the Y62.
“I think it's fair to say that Patrol as a nameplate is a very powerful nameplate in Australia,” he said.
“ It's been in Australia for many decades and it's synonymous with off-road prowess.
“With Y62 we took that Patrol nameplate and put it into a different segment in the Australian new car market. One that's a lot more luxurious.
“We put it up against models that are entrenched with very successful brands and nameplates such as Range Rover and Mercedes-Benz with their Vogue and the GL-Class.”