Either flavor of satellite radio is offered on the 2005 Infiniti QX56 (subscriptions extra), played through a nice 10-speaker, 265-watt, Bose six-CD stereo with a 7-inch subwoofer under the driver seat. Our test car lacked Bluetooth phone integration, but it will be standard on the 2006 models. The GPS system worked well both in the city and in rural Sonoma County. The usual Nissan/Infiniti navigation interface is relatively simple, but its stubby joystick/button can be difficult to press straight inward without moving it sideways and changing your selection.In terms of making the 2005 Infiniti QX56 more drivable, the comfort of the cabin is actually second to the nature of the beast, as it were. The robust 5.6-liter V-8 churns out sufficient power--315hp at 4,900rpm--to move the QX56's 5,360 pounds from rest to 60mph in just more than 7 seconds, quickly enough to make it seem lighter than its bulk. Aluminum-alloy construction and dual overhead cams working four valves per cylinder make the engine a free-breathing delight, and its decidedly throaty exhaust note will probably please most buyers. A staggered-gate shifter for the five-speed automatic means you can easily choose a gear and hold it when needed, as when taking advantage of the QX56's maximum 9,000-pound towing capacity.
The engine's power and 390 pound-feet of torque are kept useful by Infiniti's vehicle dynamic-control (VDC) and traction-control systems, which can both brake spinning wheels and reduce engine output to regain traction. The braking system of the 2005 Infiniti QX56 was the unpopular subject of early owners-forum complaints, many requiring complete replacement with upgraded equipment before performing properly. Our car, with slightly less than 10,000 miles on the odometer, exhibited no untoward braking behavior, although we don't know its service history.
Handling is again commendably delusional: Independent suspension all around, with front and rear stabilizer bars, and surprisingly responsive steering allow a driving manner probably not befitting the, ahem, carriage of the 2005 Infiniti QX56. And naturally, the tall tires start to squeal at the first hint of push. Driven more sedately, the QX56 doesn't cause problems around town and makes a capable highway cruiser, the driver's arms supported by a fold-down armrest on the right and the large door sill on the left.
Fuel is gulped at a predictably rapid clip: 13mpg in the city and 19mpg on the highway as rated by the EPA. According to our QX56's trip computer, we averaged just more than 16mpg in four days of driving around San Francisco, including a trip to rural Sonoma County. Cruising range is kept to expected standards by way of a 28-gallon fuel tank.Technology helps when it comes to safety as well in the 2005 Infiniti QX56, with electronic brake-force distribution standard on the ABS-equipped system. Infiniti's advanced air-bag system features variable inflation rates on the dual-stage front air bags. Front seat-mounted side-impact bags are included, as well as roof-mounted side-curtain bags for all three rows of seats.
A tire-pressure monitoring system is part of the onboard electronics package. The aforementioned rearview monitor and rear proximity sensors take the guesswork out of backing up and parking. Steering-wheel controls for the audio system and cruise control mean the driver can stay focused on the road, as does the navigation system's requirement that the vehicle be stopped to enter destinations or change display options.
Infiniti's standard warranty coverage is four years/60,000 miles, extending to five years/50,000 miles for emissions control, six years/70,000 miles on the power train, and seven years of unlimited-mileage corrosion coverage. A roadside-assistance program with trip-interruption benefits is also standard with all new Infinitis.