The writer and researcher Max McKeown made a famous comment once: He said: “All failure is failure to adapt, all success is successful adaptation.”
He might have been referring to the way most of us drive.
We overreact to someone swerving out of a lane ahead; we stomp on the brakes a bit too hard. As I learned in driving school, there are no accidents when it comes to driving. We don’t react fast enough, we make a wrong turn, or we fail to notice an impediment.
On a drive in the Twin Cities recently, I noticed someone had scraped a barrier with the side of their car. Then, up ahead, there was the culprit himself. I could see exactly where he had brushed up against the cement, leaving behind a few pieces of his Volvo.
Adaptability on the road is not a skill all of us possess. After driving the new Infiniti QX55 for a week, I kept feeling like it doesn’t matter as much — at least in terms of more precise driving when you hit the gas pedal around a corner or make a tricky maneuver around a bunch of other cars on the highway. The QX55 just feels like it knows where it is going, which is because that’s exactly what is happening.
The technology is called Direct Adaptive Steering, and it means the crossover coupe (as it is called) can make micro-adjustments to steering. The QX55 adjusts the steering about 1000 times per second, to be exact, adapting to the road you are on and enhancing and augmenting the experience.
I started wondering why I liked driving the vehicle so much, then looked up the stats and found out about the steering. It is subtle and not so subtle at the same time. You just feel more assured on the road for everyday driving and don’t have to adjust your position on the road constantly. For more spirited driving, hold on for the ride — but not too tight. The QX55 doesn’t have a mind of its own exactly since you are in full control but does seem to anticipate what you want to do and doesn’t have that sluggish, brutish feel of some lesser cars.
I’ve driven around 800 cars now over the last ten years in a week-long test, and this is one of my favorites. The QX55 is just effortless in how it glides on the road. Thanks to a VC-Turbo engine, it’s also peppy and spirited (which can automatically adjust its compression). The 268-horsepower engine propels you forward like a rocket but combined with the precise augmented steering, it never feels out of control.
It means the QX55 is a joy to drive, not a chore. It happens every so often, but this is a car for people who like to drive. I sometimes just decided to “go driving” and found this model to be one of my favorites of the year.