First Drive: 2018 Infiniti QX80

CHARLESTON, South Carolina – Big three-row SUVs have become de facto flagships for certain luxury brands. Think Cadillac Escalade, of course, and the all-new Lincoln Navigator. Or, in our case today, the Infiniti QX80. While these brands have struggled to compete with their sedans against the flagship of flagships, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, their body-on-frame SUVs offer much of the luxury of the S-Class, throw in high-level towing and some off-road capabilities, and return huge profit margins.

Infiniti unveiled a 2018 model-year facelift of its relatively low-volume, high-profit QX80 recently at the 2017 Dubai International Motor Show because the Middle East, along with Russia and the U.S., is one of this model’s most important markets. In fact, Infiniti sells the QX80 in just 27 of the luxury brand’s 50 markets, so 23 go without this

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