Exploring Jordan with the QX80 Limited Edition
As a species we’ve climbed every peak and explored the deepest depths of this planet, and while people bemoan that true exploration is a thing of the past, the spirit of adventure is still very much alive.
That spirit has been fuelling Infiniti for much of its 30th anniversary and principally for its recent ‘QXploration’ campaigns built to highlight the free-roaming abilities of its QX off-roader series.
In order to stress this point we find ourselves in Jordan climbing down from the driver’s seat of the Infiniti QX80 Limited Edition and gazing up at the ancient town of Petra. In person, the grandeur of the UNESCO protected structures is a site to behold. Not only has it defied more than two thousand years of history, but also logic. While the site attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors per year snapping away for their social media walls, its legacy is of early examples of technological development, entrepreneurship and a challenger attitude, one that isn’t unlike Infiniti today.
To get here we navigated a network of roads—both paved and unpaved—from the banks of the Dead Sea into the baron lands of the Arabah Valley and up the scenic mountain road that leads to Petra.
As we cross the valley the Infiniti QX80 Limited comes into its own. The top-of-the-line trim, all-wheel-drive 5.6 litre V8 with 400 bhp and a smoother-than-smooth seven-speed automatic gear box handles the tough terrain with ease. There is more than enough power to go around. The steering is sharp and handy getting up those narrow winding roads to our destination. The imposing grill and distinct 22-inch black alloys and spoiler make it unmistakeable that this is not just the QX80, this is the Limited Edition version.
Inside the nearly three tonne vehicle the luxurious two-tone quilted seats and door panels cement the luxury feel of the QX80 Limited. As Petra comes closer the reality of how harsh the landscape out there is, and how that contrasts with the luxurious interior of the QX80.
Built by the Nabataean Arabs around fourth Century BC, during its heyday the city rivalled the grandest of Roman cities with a population of 20,000 inhabitants. Its most famous building, the ‘Khazneh’ or Treasury, has been immortalised as both one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, and by the silver screen, most notably by Indiana Jones.
Ahead of the trip, as part of Infiniti’s QXploration series, the car maker teamed up with none other than the NASA space agency to use its imaging technology systems. The system involves remote sensing instruments and satellites as a way to assist archaelogy and has led to brand new discoveries in ancient Petra.
Using reflected infrared images from satellites combined with radar images taken from the space shuttles provides archaeologist the ability to see through layers of earth, tree canopies and thick vegetation otherwise invisible to humans in any other way. While structures aren’t something the technology can currently detect it does allow mapping of ancient civilisations including tracks that would have been used for trade and even waterways, brining into daylight buried treasures of the ancient world.
The work has been championed by Professor Sarah Parcak—author of the book Archaeology from Space—who has been a key factor in helping discover a new site using remote sensing satellites and drones. But, all this tech still leaves archaeologists in need of their picks and brushes though.
This spirit of adventure is something that has been supported by Infiniti. As a forward-thinking company, the have provided several archaeological projects resources—including QX80s—in order to help with their works. And we can tell you first hand that the luxury of the seat of a QX80 Limited Edition, plays a valuable role in our excursion.