Infiniti confirmed Thursday that its redesigned QX60 will ditch its CVT in favor of a newer nine-speed automatic, following its platform cousin, the 2022 Nissan Pathfinder, in adopting an updated powertrain.
Putting this powertrain in Infiniti's midsize crossover really shouldn't be much of a surprise. Thanks to Nissan, we've already gotten a sneak peak at it care of the 2022 Pathfinder, which will employ the ZF nine-speed paired to the same 3.5-liter V6. The engine is tuned for an extra 11 horsepower (295 vs. 284) in the Infiniti, but we don't expect significant differences between the two when it comes to their fundamentals.
Infiniti hasn't yet confirmed whether the QX60 will be offered in both front- and all-wheel-drive configurations, but we have no reason to believe otherwise. The Pathfinder is offered with front-wheel drive standard or an optional, redesigned all-wheel-drive system. It’s a new direct coupling design that can send 50% of available torque to the rear wheels, which Nissan says improves off-road performance. For Infiniti, we expect tuning centered around performance and refinement.
The ZF nine-speed isn't our favorite transmission. Its compact design makes it convenient for all-wheel-drive applications, but its on-road calibration leaves quite a bit to be desired, and many vehicles we've tested with that gearbox have disappointed us with their lack of ultimate refinement and responsiveness. That said, it's still probably an improvement over the CVT, which often seems to merely convert gasoline into unpleasant noises.
"The upcoming, all-new 2022 Infiniti QX60 embraces the tenets of what our brand stands for," said Infiniti Chairman Peyman Kargar in the company's announcement. "Teams from Japan and the U.S. have worked tirelessly to bring the new QX60 to customers as our most refined and advanced three-row crossover yet. The QX60 is a foundation for Infiniti and will bring to life our core philosophies. We’ll have more to talk about soon, so watch this space."
Infiniti promises to formally introduce the 2022 QX60 later this year.