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Pebble Beach: Infiniti JX finally laid bare

Veil lifted: The Infiniti JX seven-seater SUV's styling has finally been revealed in full, including the distinctive kinked c-pillar.

After seven teasers in seven weeks, Infiniti reveals its all-new JX seven-seat SUV

Infiniti logo19 Aug 2011

By TERRY MARTIN

AFTER what seemed like an infinitely long teaser campaign prior to this week’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in California, Nissan’s Infinity luxury brand has finally revealed its all-new seven-seat JX crossover.

Although described as a concept, the JX is close to production and confirmed for sale in the United States in the first half of next year, with an Australian launch expected in 2013.

Infiniti Cars Australia general manager Kevin Snell told GoAuto today that the JX was still on the company’s agenda for launch after the initial range hits showrooms in September next year.

“We continue to study the business case for introduction post the initial launch next year,” Mr Snell said.

“I can confirm the launch line-up will not include JX the focus will be on the performance luxury crossover – the FX – the Infiniti M sedan, G Coupe and Convertible models.”

As expected, the JX’s heavily sculpted, almost molten-metal exterior is in keeping with the brand’s design ethos and concepts such as the 2009 Essence sportscar, while the cabin comes with claims of class-leading roominess and lashings of luxury, from hi-tech multimedia to soft leather upholstery.

16 center imageTechnology such as a new ‘backup collision intervention’ system also debut on the vehicle, and the big SUV was this week confirmed as the first Infiniti to use a continuously variable transmission (CVT).

Full specifications are still to be revealed – the production version will appear at the Los Angeles auto show in November – but Infiniti says the CVT is fuel-efficient and sports-tuned (mimicking a conventional step transmission when the Sport mode is engaged) and will combine with a V6 engine to drive either the front wheels or all four wheels, with two drivelines now confirmed as being made available from launch.

The engine is expected to be a version of the VQ35HR 3.5-litre petrol V6 used in other models, including the FX – in which it develops 226kW of power and 355Nm of torque.

In unveiling the JX, Nissan/Infiniti senior vice-president and chief creative officer Shiro Nakamura said the vehicle “advances the Infiniti design language, sharing design cues of the Infiniti Essence concept, yet interprets those elements in ways suitable to the needs of a family luxury crossover”.

“From the dramatic front grille and headlight design to the crescent-cut D-pillar and greenhouse shape, the JX concept shines as a fresh, bold alternative to the many flavours of vanilla currently dominating the three-row luxury crossover segment.” Practical features include an innovative tilt and slide design on the second row seat for optimum third row access, which can be performed even when a child seat is fitted in the centre row.

Infiniti Americas vice-president Ben Poore also promised that the third row “isn’t the typical penalty box either, with adult-sized room for all occupants and five-and-a-half inches (140mm) of second row forward-back adjustability.”“The three-row luxury crossover segment is one of the fastest growing among all luxury vehicle segments, providing a huge opportunity for Infiniti,” Mr Poore said.

“And like every segment Infiniti enters, we plan to shake up the status quo – with a vehicle that is guaranteed to instantly become the new benchmark for style, hospitality, roominess, advanced telematics and safety technologies.”‘Blind spot intervention’, ‘lane departure warning’, ‘around view monitor’ and other technologies already available on Infiniti models are incorporated into the JX, while the new ‘backup collision intervention’ system is designed to help the driver detect crossing objects behind the vehicle when he/she is reversing.

If necessary, the system will automatically engage the brakes to help avoid a collision.

Hi-tech creature comforts to be available on the JX include a 14-speaker Bose sound system (with ‘Waveguide’ bass technology), neatly integrated DVD screens behind the front headrests, and a telematics system that can reportedly synch with the owner’s personal schedules and provide navigation guidance to appointments.

Mr Nakamura said: “As a premium crossover with a real third row – along with Infiniti levels of hospitality and driving pleasure – the new JX is another breakthrough design from the brand that has been breaking new ground for more than 20 years.

“We will continue to challenge conventional thinking.”

As GoAuto has reported, Nissan’s recently announced ‘Power 88’ mid-term business plan (covering fiscal years 2011 to 2016) includes sales growth for Infiniti from its 2010 level of 150,000 vehicles to 10 per cent global market share among luxury brand segments – a level that represents 500,000 vehicles, based on the current market.

To do this, the company will add at least three new models, including the JX. A compact sedan and an all-electric vehicle (expected to be based on the Nissan Leaf) are understood to be in the pipeline.

A high-performance road car developed in collaboration with Formula One partner Red Bull Racing and an all-new sportscar are also believed to be either in development or under serious consideration.

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