Infiniti has provided preliminary details for the next-generation QX60, which is currently undergoing development testing ahead of its market launch later this year. The latest announcement mainly focuses on how capable the three-row SUV will be in bad weather thanks to the carmaker’s most advanced Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system.

This is part of a powertrain setup that includes a 3.5 litre V6 and a new nine-speed automatic transmission, the latter replacing the Xtronic CVT used in the current QX60. Infiniti says its all-wheel drive system has been extensively tested in varying conditions from snow to sand and wet roads, and everything in between. Besides cold-weather locales pictured here, the team also tested the vehicle in desert locations such as Death Valley, California, and Moab, Utah.

“We listened to our customers and we wanted to deliver an all-new Infiniti QX60 that could perform with confidence in nearly all-weather conditions. Our newest Intelligent All-Wheel Drive exceeds our expectations with seamless power delivery, right when the driver expects it — or even before,” said Eric Rigaux, general manager of product strategy and planning at Infiniti.

The upcoming QX60’s AWD system is predominantly front-biased, but when more grip is needed, a direct coupling mechanism is capable of engaging the rear wheels almost instantly, sending up to 50% of engine torque.

This is said to be better than systems with electromagnetic coupling, which requires detectable wheel slip before they engage. Infiniti’s solution uses a host of sensors to predict when more grip is needed, sometimes even before the wheels slip.

Further handling-related technologies include Active Brake Limited Slip, a torque vectoring by brake system, which utilises the vehicle’s brakes to stop any spinning wheel, so power is directed to the wheel with the best traction.

“What that allows the (QX60) to do is maintain a good straight line, maintain confidence, and maintain a good, what we call ‘start-ability’. If you’re stopped on ice and you push the gas pedal, it’s able to move forward much more easily and much more confidently,” explained Chris Fischer, vehicle performance development manager for Infiniti.

The development car you see here is still dressed in quite a bit of camouflage, but it bears a strong resemblance to the QX60 Monograph show car that Infiniti unveiled last September. Areas like the wide-width taillights, headlamps, roof-mounted spoiler, bumpers and overall profile closely match the concept we saw last year.



GALLERY: Infiniti QX60 Monograph