Now on its second generation since it exploded into the scene back in 2003 with eye-popping performance to back up its radical extroverted sheetmetal, the Infiniti FX just keeps getting better! The FX is one of those unique vehicles that defies convention and looks like a concept car showcase instead of a full production product. It takes a lot of confidence and bravado to build a vehicle to compete head-on against the most formidable Europeans and actually succeed. Okay, so the Infiniti FX never completely shattered an equally equipped BMW X5 from the same model year, but it did crush the previous generations and most of the Mercedes Benz ML-class non-AMG variants, a great start I think. At the very least Infiniti has created a very compelling and seductive alternative that will leave its buyer with little to explain to his or her neighbors.
Just think, when was the last time a Japanese SUV was this sensual and fabulously dynamic? The king of the range is the 390 bhp V8 FX50 which we are scheduled to drive in a few weeks and has the promise to completely embarrass the supercharged Range Rover Sport and perhaps even a Porsche Cayenne S. Until then we had the opportunity to once again be behind the wheel of the rear wheel biased V6 variant, the FX35 which has significant improvements over what was already an excellent mid-size crossover SUV.
As soon as we were on the open road, the new found power from the 3.5 liter coupled to the standard 7-speed automatic transmission featuring Adaptive Shift Control (ASC) and Downshift Rev Matching, shot forward with enough thrust to even best the last generation’s V8 powered FX45! Besides the new fabulous interior and exterior designs, I was more impressed with how much more lively and exciting the new FX35 is. The FX always made its significantly more modest brother the Nissan Murano feel inert, and they did it again. The new Murano is at its finest breaching the capabilities of the previous generation Infiniti FX, so I reckon the white coats at Infiniti simply could not tolerate that so the new FX35 is once again several rungs up the evolution ladder.
Even without the optional Continuous Damping Control (CDC®) suspension and Rear Active Steer, the FX35’s aluminum double-wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension proved to be both very compliant and athletic thanks in part to the special Dual Flow Path™ shock absorber technology used with unique rebound springs for better response without compromising ride comfort. To make up for the very long list of standard equipment that does have a weight penalty, efforts were taken to reduce weight to compensate which include the use of aluminum doors and hood. Our test unit did have 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 maneuver it in tight parking/maneuvering situations though.
Our FX35 AWD test unit also had Infiniti’s Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system, which uses an advanced torque split control strategy that automatically redistributes torque to the wheels (0:100 up to 50:50 front to rear) according to road and driving conditions. Considering the FX35 uses 2-piston front/1-piston rear brake calipers and modestly sized vented brake rotors (12.6” front/12.1” rear) that look a bit too small for our test unit’s 20” wheels with Bridgestone P265/50R20 V-rated all-season tires, they worked satisfactorily and only started to fade a bit after repeated spirited driving through the countryside. This is the only real weakness that the FX35 has.
The other neat feature that made our experience with the FX35 memorable was the advanced Infiniti Hard Drive Navigation System that actually had a Zagat Survey® restaurant guide on top of the already fantastic Bose audio system! As desirable and brilliant the FX35 is, the Europeans get the more powerful 330bhp FX37 version which out accelerates the FX35 from naught to 100 km/h by .4 seconds and has a 5 km/h faster top speed too! Wow!
Specification – 2011 Infiniti FX35 AWD
Engine: V6, 3498 cc, dohc 24V, CVVT, 7-Speed AT
Max power: 303 bhp @ 6800 rpm
Max torque: 262 lb ft @ 4800 rpm
0-100 km/h (0-62mph): 6.2 sec.
Top Speed: 230 km/h (144 mph)
Fuel Mileage: 16 mpg City & 21 mpg Highway
Price as tested: US$ 52,920.00
+Thrilling inside and out, strongest challenge to the German establishment
-3.7 liter V6 FX Euro version even better, FX50 the best
C! RATING 9.5/10