The crossover with a shark instinct
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2012 Infiniti FX
By Antony Dickson
The Infiniti FX always impressed ever since its debut several years ago. Its aggressive looks always made heads turn and still does. The 2012 FX sports a new fascia design with the grille and headlights getting some treatment with an influence from the stunning Infiniti Essence Concept. The rear end also see some changes with sleeker tail lamps that extend beyond the body. The dual exhaust pipes with chrome finishers scream a ‘don’t mess with me’ attitude. The large 21-inch wheels adds to crossover’s racer look. But don’t be fooled, this machine performs as good as it looks. With Infiniti actively involved in Formula 1, technology from the sport is sure to trickle into Infiniti vehicles giving them the edge.
The FX’s shark-like front-end is almost menacing when seen in the rear view mirror. During my week with the FX, I was given way almost immediately as I approached cars in front of me on the left lane, which is nice when you drive something that’s itching to cross the boundaries. The tester we had was the FX35 Limited Edition, a new addition to the line up this year. The FX35 Limited Edition comes exclusively in Electric Blue, which is gorgeous to look at on sunny day. With that, the 2012 FX is offered in three models: FX50 AWD with 5.0-litre V8, FX35 AWD with 3.5-litre V6 and FX Limited Edition with 3.5-litre V6.
Based upon the FX35 All-Wheel Drive model, the Limited Edition features an available exclusive Electric Indigo exterior colour, 21-inch 10-spoke aluminum-alloy graphite finish wheels with P265/45R21 V-rated all-season tires, dark tinted headlights with Adaptive Front lighting System (AFS) and auto-leveling, and dark tinted side air vents and lower door trim. Other Limited Edition features include aluminum roof rails and roof rail crossbars with graphite finish, aluminum pedals, graphite floor mats with unique blue piping, Infiniti Hard Drive Navigation System, Around View Monitor (AVM) and much more.
The FX is available in two engine choices — a 5.0-litre 32-valve DOHC V8 engine that churns out 390 horsepower or the 3.5-litre 24-valve DOHC V6 engine that develops a cool 303 horsepower. Both engines are paired with a standard 7-speed automatic transmission featuring Adaptive Shift Control (ASC). One might think the 5.0-litre package dubbed the FX50 would be the better choice. But the 3.5-litre doesn’t disappoint on any count. It is fast off the line and when driven hard, the note from the tail pipes are music to the ears. The FX50, of course, produces a more throaty note, but no complaints from the FX35’s performance. The FX almost makes you forget that you’re at the wheel of a crossover and not a sports car. FX utilizes the rigid FM (for Front Midship) platform architecture, with a balanced front-to-rear weight distribution to help provide exceptional handling performance. Infiniti excels in generating sporty performance out of their vehicles without sacrificing too much of ride comfort. However, on the flip side, fuel efficiency is sacrificed. The FX35 turned out to be a guzzler and averaged 14 litres/100 km in a mix of city and highway driving.
On the inside, the FX is made to seat five persons. The front row front passengers enjoy ample leg room, but it’s a different story in the back. Boot space is limited too, thanks to the low roof line. But with proper planning, the occasional road trip is no issue. A decent load of luggage can be squeezed in the back. The Infiniti FX’s interior includes a command centre-style cockpit designed to enhance the driving experience. The leather-appointed front seats offer 10-way driver’s side/8-way passenger side power adjustments and a heating and cooling function for maximum comfort in any season. The FX offers an array of comfort and convenience equipment ranging from a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob to dual front and rear cupholders, four 12-volt power outlets, power windows with front one-touch auto-up/down function, power door locks and available tonneau cover and aluminum pedal accents. Besides these options, the FX boasts of an amazing sound system powered by Bose that features 11 speakers, an AM/FM/CD player and USB connection port for iPod Interface and other compatible devices. Also available is the XM Satellite Radio, for which one has to subscribe after the free trial expires. The advanced Infiniti Hard Drive Navigation System – standard on FX50, available on FX35 – features Zagat Survey restaurant guide and Streaming Audio via Bluetooth, along with an Infiniti Voice Recognition system for navigation and audio systems.
The FX is loaded with innovative safety features too. To name a few are Intelligent All-Wheel Drive, double-wishbone front/multi-link rear suspension and large 4-wheel disc brakes, along with available Continuous Damping Control (CDC), Intelligent Brake Assist (IBA), 21-inch lightweight aluminum-alloy wheels and Rear Active Steer. The Rear Active Steer system, which uses precise, electronic motor-driven control to turn the rear wheels up to one degree, helping generate a nimble steering response at low speeds and enhance handling feel at high speeds. As a showcase of Infiniti’s groundbreaking technology capabilities, the FX offers available Intelligent Brake Assist (IBA), Distance Control Assist (DCA), Intelligent Cruise Control (Full-Speed Range), Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Lane Departure Prevention (LDP), and the Around View Monitor (AVM) – which provides a virtual 360° view of objects around the vehicle, helping to manoeuver it in tight spots.
Overall, the FX is one beautiful crossover inside out. It could be called one of the sportiest in its class. It almost had the instincts of a shark, when it came to responsive driving. Our tester, loaded with various options, was priced at $63,850 excluding taxes. If price is not the issue, the FX is a perfect choice to stand out among the crowd.