If a quick scan of your suburban car park doesn’t communicate the market’s obsession with premium SUVs, then a tour of the 2017 New York International Auto Show will drive the message home. Conceptual and production-ready SUVs have become centerpieces of every luxury manufacturer’s product portfolio. These vehicles no longer inherit innovative design principles from other segments—they herald stylistic change for each brand.
Though the surprise debut of Lincoln’s all-new Navigator saps some wind from Infiniti’s sails, the Japanese automaker proudly premiered its QX80 Monograph at the exhibition in New York. The term “Monograph” represents the company’s focus on one element of design—in this case, exterior styling for a future full-size SUV. Those familiar with the present generation QX80 will immediately recognize the concept’s size and shape, but every inch of the exterior has been re-imagined for the better.
Alfonso Albaisa, Infiniti’s senior vice president of global design, toiled with a small team of designers in Atsugi, Japan, to foreshadow a muscular yet provocative interpretation of the brand’s most expansive (and expensive) model. The Monograph is finished in a stunning copper paint color that accentuates the SUV’s sculpted fenders and prominent double-arch grille. “Human eye” headlights and “piano key” LED taillights contrast 24-inch two-tone wheels. A brushed aluminum rear diffuser with large, integrated exhaust ports visually lowers the SUV’s center of gravity. Darkened pillars and flush door handles give the profile a sense of fluid motion to crescent-cut rear window frames.
Infiniti says the Monograph was built to reflect the desires of its customers for a contemporary, full-size SUV. Every questionable design cue of the current generation QX80 has been refined; every dull detail has been enhanced. Infiniti’s QX80 Monograph promises stylistic sophistication never before seen from the luxury carmaker. This is more than a concept—it’s a prophecy. (infinitiusa.com)