Clearly the headline act of Infiniti’s headline-grabbing range is the FX SUV. Infiniti calls the FX the world’s ultimate ‘Performance Crossover’ and expects it will account for 70 per-cent of the brand’s sales in Australia through next year.
While the limited edition ultra high-performance Infiniti FX crafted by Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettell won’t be coming this way (left-hand-drive only), the standard Infiniti FX 50S Premium V8 is scintillating to say the least and a worthy image leader as the global luxury brand returns to Australia.
The head-turning looks of the Infiniti FX will themselves just about fund the next national convention of chiropractors, but under the skin is a raft of technology befitting a car of this stature and inside is a blend of sporting style and quality which is second–to-none in this segment.
Infiniti FX Overview
The Infiniti FX arrives in Australia with three powerplants – 3.0-litre V6 diesel as well as 3.7-litre V6 and 5.0-litre V8 petrol. All drive all four wheels via seven-speed automatic transmissions.
Diesel and V6 petrol models come in three model grades – entry-level ‘GT’, mid-range ‘S’ and a hero version called ‘S Premium’. The stunning range-topping Infiniti FX 50 is exclusively ‘S Premium’.
The full Infiniti FX lineup looks like this:
FX 37 GT $83,900
FX 37 S $92,900
FX 37 S Premium $95,900
FX 30d GT $85,900
FX 30d S $94,900
FX 30d S Premium $97,900
FX 50 S Premium $114,900
Infiniti FX Engine
The Infiniti FX engine lineup kicks-off with the FX37 – a 3.7-litre DOHC V6 petrol unit delivering 235kW/360Nm. Debuting on this model is Infiniti’s VVEL (Variable Valve Event & Lift) system which continuously adjusts valve event and lift, working in conjunction with continuously variable valve timing to provide optimum torque plus reduced emissions and fuel consumption.
Next-up is the FX30d which employs a 3.0-litre DOHC V6 turbo-diesel which is good for 175kW and 550Nm from as low as 1750rpm.
Range-topper is the superb FX50S which runs the 5.0-litre V8 petrol engine offering 287kW/500Nm. Also using VVEL, the stunning Infiniti V8 revs hard to its 6800rpm redline and will be appreciated by performance drivers.
All drive through a seven-speed automatic transmission with stylish magnesium paddle shifters (mounted on the steering column not the wheel) for manual changes. In manual mode, sporty drivers will enjoy this transmission’s auto throttle-blipping for rev-matched downshifts.
And Infiniti FX employs the ATTESA E-TS (Advanced Total Traction Engineering System for All Electronic Torque Split) all-wheel-drive system. Again enthusiast drivers will appreciate this rear-biased system which is normally rear-wheel-drive but can swap to 50:50 or even drive individual wheels in extremely slippery going.
Infiniti FX The Interior
First impressions inside the Infiniti FX are its impressive space and remarkable quality. Oh, and there’s heaps of technology wherever you look.
The hallmark Infiniti ‘double-wave’ dashboard looks impressive and reinforces the overall quality with white/violet instrumentation, large centre-console navigation/audio screen and stylish analogue clock.
Electronic seat and steering wheel adjustment provides a sporty driving position and the seats themselves are excellent. Audio choice is a couple of Bose systems.
Infiniti’s ‘Around View’ four-camera monitor system is a beauty and you can switch the left-side camera to prevent ‘curbing’ an alloy wheel when parallel parking.
Rear seat accommodation for three affords excellent leg-room and visibility and the massive luggage compartment (power tailgate of course) will handle full-size golf bags.
Infiniti FX Exterior & Styling
“We’re not about doing what everyone else is doing,” said Renault/Nissan/Infiniti CEO Carlos Ghosn. One look at the Infiniti FX confirms that.
That superb long bonnet with its sculptured front fenders, the long wheelbase, short overhangs and wide, low stance command attention and immediately position the Infiniti FX as a genuine performance vehicle.
Reinforcing that position are the large extractor vents behind the front wheels, large ‘double arch’ front grille and piercing HID bi-xenon headlights.
The overall look accentuates Infiniti’s ‘front mid-ship’ chassis architecture which places the engine as far as possible behind the front axle.
Further highlighting this is the sloped and curved roofline which looks stunning from the rear and blends perfectly with the complex tailgate design and bulging rear lights.
Wheels are also massive – 21-inch lightweight Enkei alloys on the FX50S.
Infiniti FX On The Road
In just a few hours we covered both ends of the Infiniti FX spectrum – the entry-level 37 GT ($83,900) and range-topping 50 S Premium ($114,900). Both impressed with the sort of sporty dynamics you expect from the BMW X5 – firm European-style springs and dampers, sharp steering response, flat cornering set and nice balance on exit.
Yep, the Infiniti FX really is that good.
Sure the S Premium model benefits from Infiniti’s 4WAS (four-wheel active steering) which delivers speed-variable steering for the rear wheels, but even in the 37 GT, Infiniti’s advanced chassis development was immediately obvious.
Suspension is a double-wishbone front/multi-link rear design with ‘dual flow path’ shock absorbers.
Continuous damping control is available and FX50S and 30d models boast the rear active-steer system (speed variable and delivering electronic steering of the rear wheels up to one degree).
Of course Infiniti’s 3.7-litre V6 petrol engine was a pearler, nicely matched to the seven-speed auto. There’s something about a V6 petrol engine – they just seem a perfect fit for SUVs like the Infiniti FX.
But that 5.0-litre V8 gives the Infiniti FX a clear edge over its most direct rival in the performance crossover stakes.
We racked-up some very high speeds and didn’t notice any alarming wind noise and even some shocking pot-holes and mid-corner bumps elicited no harshness or vibration from either Infiniti FX.
Very, very impressive.
Infiniti FX Challenges
In a high-speed run over Mount Glorious in the Sunshine Coast hinterland we found the seven-speed automatic transmission in the Infiniti FX 50 S a ‘head-scratcher’. Shift times were a bit inconsistent when using the paddle shifters and we actually got the best dynamics in full auto mode and ‘Sport’.
Good as the 5.0-litre V8’s exhaust note is, and we understand interior quietness is part of the Infiniti DNA, but for our tastes, this high performance V8 crossover deserves to be more raucous.
Infiniti FX The Competition
How much do you value a V8? At these prices the Infiniti FX drops right onto the Lexus RX350. Of course the Lexus isn’t offered with a V8 engine so its pricing tops-out at $100,900 for the 450h Sports Luxury model ($114,900 for the V8 Infiniti 50S)..
Styling is personal but we reckon the athletic on-road presence and stylish/sporty interior of the Infiniti FX leaves the Lexus RX350 looking a bit plain. And the driving dynamics of the Infiniti are definitely more performance oriented.
So it’s credit where credit is due and after-all Lexus RX 350 has enjoyed a dominant run in this segment (just below the likes of BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz ML). Lexus Australia would have expected Infiniti to come out strongly after reading international media reports on the FX.
Infiniti FX Verdict
In boxing terms, the Infiniti FX has the champ (Lexus RX350) up against the ropes and in trouble. Infiniti FX scores big points for its looks inside and out, its sensational driving dynamics and value-for-money.
For us the Infiniti FX is without doubt a Car Showroom favourite and is now the benchmark in this league.