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CAR INSIDER - INFINITI QX80.

Summary: Nick Cooksey drives the posh version of Nissan's Patrol around the streets of Bahrain, and the mountains and desert of Oman.

Afew months back I had the pleasure of driving Infiniti's big new SUV on and off road in Oman. I had a great time. And last month Infiniti invited me to test it on the mean streets of Bahrain. So, what did I learn about this big and luxurious SUV?

Over the past few years Infiniti have been enjoying great success in the Middle East, and are now the fastest growing premium car company in the region. The QX80 is an important part of the growth plan and has been described by Infiniti as its 'flagship'. This SUV is really a posh version of its sister, the Nissan Patrol, which historically has proven itself as one of Arabia's favorite and most loved SUVs. The QX80 has also been described by some, due to its big size and luxury, as 'Infiniti's Cadillac Escalade'.

Inside there's lots of leather, lots of wood, and even some metallic trim. In Oman I had the cream leather package, In Bahrain it was black leather. Personally I like cream leather best, but each to their own. There's lots of space inside. This SUV can easily carry five adults in comfort, or even more children! Seating is high up enabling you to look down on the other traffic below you. The front seats are AC ventilated (optional) which was great and kept me nice and cool while driving.

The QX80 has a big 5.6 liter 400 horsepower V8 engine. A seven speed auto transmission. Zero to 100 kph can be achieved in 7 seconds, which for its size and weight is pretty good.

Its exterior appearance has been made to look far more macho than the previous model. In terms of quiet and comfort, it scores high and certainly matches any of its competitors. During my test drive in Oman I drove it for many hours over a couple of days on highways, steep hills -- including driving 2,000 meters high up into the Al Hajar mountain range on an unusually steep gradient -- and then driving back down again using its gears as brakes. I further drove it along rocky wadis and across desert -- I got to know it well, and I liked it.

Obviously in Bahrain I clocked up a lot less millage -- A LOT LESS, and stuck mostly to the roads, excluding a bit of sand driving just for the fun of it. Despite its large size and weight it drove impeccably and was easy to navigate in hectic traffic, and when off-roading it cut across waste land without a care in the world. For off-roading, full-time four- wheel drive can be employed with a real low drive ratio. Torque is biased to the rear, but can be split 50:50 between the front and rear axles when wheels start slipping. Both on and off road, the QX80 has powerful braking capability.

New features for this 2015 model include adaptive headlights that automatically dip the high beams if another vehicle is approaching, collision warning system, brake assist, backup collision warning system, and adaptive cruise control, blind spot and lane departure warning systems.

Standard features include navigation with hard drive for maps and music, DVD audio and satellite radio, 20-inch wheels, moon-roof, power tailgate, and Bluetooth.

Overall this is an excellent vehicle. Anyone looking to get a big luxury SUV should certainly consider taking a QX80 for a test drive before making their purchase decision.

To arrange a test drive in Bahrain contact YK Almoayyed on +973 1773 2732

This SUV can easily carry five adults in comfort, or even more children!

Despite its large size and weight it drove impeccably and was easy to navigate in hectic traffic, and when off-roading it cut across waste land without a care in the world.

Price Comparison

Nissan Patrol From BD 15,995

Cadillac Escalade From BD 30,200

Mercedes GL 500 From BD 38,800

Lexus Landcruiser From BD 34,000

The author of this article, Nick Cooksey, in addition to being publisher of Arabian Magazines and Gulf Insider Media, is a jury panel member of the Middle East Motor Awards.

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Publication:GulfInsider
Geographic Code:7OMAN
Date:May 13, 2015
Words:727
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