Car reviews - Infiniti - FX - 30d
4 Sep 2012
LUXURY car brand Infiniti finally launched in Australia this week and most of its volume expectations for at least the next year revolve around the FX all-wheel-drive crossover vehicle.
The vital sporty crossover is therefore tasked with establishing Infiniti as a credible luxury car badge in this country, taking on well-established SUV rivals such as the BMW X5, Audi Q7, Lexus RX and Mercedes-Benz ML-Class.
Although recommended retail prices for the well-specified FX range were revealed in July, this week the company announced driveaway pricing that adds considerably to the bottom line – about $10,000.
That means the entry-level FX37 V6 petrol in GT specification – which is priced from $83,900 – will cost $93,371 to drive out of the showroom, while the top-of-the-range FX50 in S Premium spec (RRP $114,900) will be $125,920 driveaway.
What the FX driver does get is the expected high level of specification, including a standard seven-speed automatic transmission with magnesium paddle shifters mounted directly to the steering column rather than the wheel itself.
Other standard equipment includes 20-inch alloy wheels, adaptive bi-Xenon headlights with automatic levelling, a sunroof with sliding shade, heated and ventilated front seats, 10-way power driver’s seat adjustment with lumbar support and manual thigh extensions, heated exterior mirrors, keyless entry and start, dual-zone climate-control, roof rails, a rear-view camera, tyre-pressure monitor, an eight-inch information screen and a premium 11-speaker Bose sound system.
The FX also features ‘self-healing’ paint with a special clear top coat that repairs fine scratches such as those caused by fingernails under the doorhandles.
Stepping up to the S package, which adds $9000 to the base price, brings an electronic suspension control system with Auto and Sport modes, active rear-wheel steering for sharper response, 21-inch alloys – developed by Enkei and said to be as light as a rival make’s 18-inch units – front sports seats, 14-way driver’s seat adjustment and a number of exterior and interior refinements.
The S Premium package costs a further $3000 and adds a birds-eye-view monitor to aid parking, a forward collision warning system with automatic emergency braking, active cruise control, and an active lane departure prevention system that, in addition to warning the driver, uses the brakes on one side to steer the vehicle back into its lane unless the driver has indicated.
Infiniti first appeared in Australia in 1993 as a direct rival to Lexus, but only 132 examples of the Q45 luxury saloon were sold here before the brand quietly disappeared five years later, so the Nissan-owned company sees this as a new beginning.
Infiniti Cars Australia general manager Kevin Snell said at the national launch on the Sunshine Coast this week there was not much awareness of the Infiniti brand from the 1990s and that it now represents something relevant and bold to younger vehicle buyers.
“The Infiniti FX crossover is a superb combination of sportscar-like performance and SUV luxury,” he said.
“The FX range delivers Infiniti’s brand promise of ‘Inspired Performance’ with its powerful design and dynamic driving experience, making it an exciting step away from the current crop of luxury SUVs.
“The FX’s aggressive styling is a clear indication of its performance underpinnings, yet it cleverly delivers room for five passengers and the cargo capacity to hold four full-sized golf bags.”
The entry-level FX37 is powered by Nissan’s familiar 3.7-litre four-valve V6 petrol engine that has served the company and its affiliates well over the years, including in the 370Z sportscar.
Tuned by Infiniti, the V6 produces 235kW of power at 7000rpm and 360Nm of torque at 5200rpm, pushing the FX37 from 0-100km/h in 6.8 seconds while consuming 12.1 litres of 95 RON premium petrol per 100km on the combined cycle and emitting 282 grams of CO2 per kilometre.
A Renault-based 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6 engine powers the FX30d, delivering 175kW at 3750rpm and 550Nm at 1750rpm, which makes it 1.5 seconds slower to 100km/h at 8.3 seconds, but reduces fuel consumption to 9.0L/100km and emissions to 238g/km.
Nissan provides the 5.0-litre V8 for the range-topping FX50 and this engine – which will form the basis of Nissan’s local V8 Supercar racer next year – requires high-octane 98 RON petrol to produce 287kW at 6500rpm and 500Nm at 4400rpm, dragging down the 0-100km/h time to just 5.8 seconds while consuming only 8.3 per cent more fuel (13.1L/100km) and emitting 8.9 per cent more CO2 (307g/km).
The FX50 performance leader has generated the most interest from potential Infiniti customers, but Infiniti Australia expects the balance to shift to the cheaper V6 variants once this initial demand from the early-adopters is satisfied.
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