$21,777 - $22,480

2011 Infiniti QX56 Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2011 Infiniti QX56 was new.


Performance: 8.7

While making it clear that it's no sports sedan, reviewers say that the Infiniti QX56 drives well for its size.  Power is good, and the ride is smooth and controlled.

  • "This system is all about relaxed control, the kind of driving that won't break out a sweat for the vehicle, its driver or passengers." -- Motor Trend
  • "The numbers all talk a pretty good talk, and for the most part, their sum means that the QX56 drives more like a big sedan than a lumbering brute." -- Autoblog
  • "The 2011 Infiniti QX56 makes the most of its generous heaping of output with a seven-speed automatic transmission." -- Examiner.com

Acceleration and Power

The 2011 Infiniti QX56 is powered by a 5.6-liter V8 engine that makes 400 horsepower and 413 pound feet of torque. For 2011 the engine gets direct injection and a seven-speed automatic transmission. Both help it get improved fuel economy without sacrificing power. Like most large SUVs, reviewers say the QX56 feels sluggish off the line, but once up to speed, the power feels effortless. Several reviewers say they prefer the QX56's powertrain to what competitors offer.

The EPA hasn't released fuel economy ratings for the 2011 QX56, but Infiniti says the QX56 should get 14 miles per gallon in the city and 20 miles per gallon on the highway.

  • "The big, torquey V-8 is significantly quieter and more refined than the Caddy's. Like the Escalade, and most of its competition, power is only enough to overcome the heft of the vehicle." -- Motor Trend
  • "The Infiniti QX56 has a great powertrain. Off-the-line throttle response is satisfying, and freeway speeds are reached effortlessly. If you're cruising along at 70 mph and want to pass someone, hammer the throttle and the seven-speed transmission crisply and quickly downshifts several gears while the tachometer needle races to the 8000-rpm redline. Before you know it, you're at 95 mph." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "Despite the 5.6-liter V-8 prodigious output, acceleration is merely strong, not neck snapping. At 5,600+ pounds curb weight for the rear-wheel drive version and more for four-wheel drive, the Infiniti QX56's engine has a lot of work to do just to accelerate the truck by itself, though the engine has a torquey feel" -- Examiner.com
  • "That means drivers can expect close to 14 mpg city and 20 mpg highway - not entirely impressive, but then again, you can't tow 8,500 pounds with a Toyota Prius." -- Autoblog
  • "Seven passengers can travel as efficiently in one QX as four people can travel in a Toyota Yaris. Really, I did the math." -- About.com

Handling and Braking

Most reviewers say that the 2011 Infiniti QX56 handles well, though a few recommend upgrading to the optional Hydraulic Body Motion Control System, which uses fluid-filled chambers to reduce body lean. The system is part of the Deluxe Touring Package. While most critics say that the QX56 drives well enough to please most buyers, a few complain about spongy brakes and a numb steering wheel. If you're looking for more road feel from your luxury large SUV, check out the Land Rover Range Rover Sport.  It only seats five, but reviewers say it has a sportier drive than the QX56 does.

  • "You'll run out of confidence in the ability of the Infiniti's tires to keep this monster attached to the pavement around a fast corner well below this new system's apparent ability to maintain balance and minimize roll. This exemplifies exactly what the '11 Infiniti QX56 is - a very good vehicle for something so large." -- Motor Trend
  • "[The Hydraulic Body Motion Control System is] seamless, transparent and highly effective, delivering a very nimble, yet firm ride that makes QX feel much lighter on its feet." -- About.com
  • "There's only so much you can do to tamp down the dynamic forces of a vehicle this tall and with this center of gravity, but Infiniti does a pretty good job here: the QX56 doesn't suffer from undue pitching and bobbing, at least when equipped with the Hydraulic Body Motion Control System." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "Of course, steering feel matters to buyers in this segment about as much as whether or not their SUV can turn into a sweet robot with fists made of lasers. We care about both of those things, but really the new QX's steering is as good as it needs to be." -- Car and Driver
  • "We would have liked to have seen more communicative steering in a vehicle of this size, though - the steering wheel offers next to no feedback and was overly sensitive, resulting in lane wandering of the worst variety. Likewise, the brakes, while plenty powerful, are controlled by a less-than-confidence-inspiring pedal. We don't expect racecar characteristics here, but a little firmness never hurts." -- Autoblog


When properly equipped, the 2011 Infiniti QX56 has a maximum towing capacity of 8,500 pounds, which is enough for a boat or horse trailer. Reviewers who have used the QX56 for towing say that it is very capable. An added plus is the standard Infiniti Around View System, which gives the driver a 360-degree view of the area around the QX56. While it's meant mainly for use in parking lots, reviewers say that Around View makes hitching up a trailer a snap.

  • "There's more than just an impression of torque, however. Infiniti provided journalists with the opportunity to drive a QX56 towing a two-horse trailer weighted to imitate a full load. It's purely subjective, but the QX56 didn't feel stressed pulling the weight, even up and down hills in Kentucky horse farm country." -- Examiner.com
  • "If you tow up to 8500 pounds, either the rear-drive or the four-wheel-drive QX will handle it." -- Motor Trend
  • "Maximum towing has decreased from 9000 pounds to 8500, still plenty for towing a boat or a couple of snowmobiles." -- Car and Driver
  • "Infiniti's very trick Around View Monitor camera system, which compiles an overhead view of the car onto a subscreen next to the rearview screen, is standard, and one can imagine that once you use that to assist with hooking up a trailer to the standard tow hitch (now hidden behind a tasteful bumper panel), you'll wonder how you ever lived without it." -- Automobile Magazine

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