Infiniti QX80 Monograph Concept Preview
Looks like: Infiniti doubled down on the QX80 full-size SUV's extreme looks — to good effect
Defining characteristics: Grille! Squinty headlights. Gutter centered on the trailing edge of the roof.
Ridiculous features: Side cameras instead of mirrors, wheels that overlap the tire bead by an inch
Chance of being mass-produced: Like most "design studies," this one gives an idea of the production model's styling direction, but I wouldn't expect it to be this far out.
The Infiniti QX80 Monograph concept — showing at the 2017 New York International Auto Show — is a design study, meaning it's meant to reflect how the next generation of the luxury brand's full-size truck-based SUV will look. Clearly, designers doubled down on the current model's extreme styling, and it looks much better here.
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Alfonso Albaisa, Infiniti's senior vice president, global design, said in a press release, "We sculpted our body pure, straight and horizontal, the muscularity both brute and sensual; part Rodin's [The] Thinker, part Michelangelo." The effort unquestionably improves upon the current QX, which is part Picasso, part … more Picasso.
It still looks like a QX80 but with an even larger grille and functional intake vents across the bumper. The squinty headlight assemblies wrap around and extend well into the fenders, terminating in side-view cameras in lieu of side mirrors. (Excuse our skepticism, but we've been seeing this feature on concept cars practically since the age of tailfins, and despite the aerodynamic advantage it would bring, we've yet to see them on a production vehicle.)
Speaking of aerodynamics, functional side vents behind the front wheels help extract turbulent air from the wheel housings. And when it comes to turbulence, it's hard to imagine anything more disruptive than the wheels in question: somewhat gaudy 24-inch copper rims with an additional dark applique that overlaps the tire bead by an inch all around for the look of a 26-inch-diameter wheel. If you don't like them, chances are the first pothole or curb you'd encounter would solve the problem for you.
All pillars are blacked out except the D-pillars, which share the current model's uptilt. The roof appears to slope down near the back, which is a good look but probably doesn't do much for third-row headroom.
Barring the wheels, it's a pretty cool-looking concept at a time when concepts are few on the auto-show circuit. And it would make the QX80 as appealing outside as it is to drive.