Infiniti FX35 is stylish, sporty SUV
By JOHN STEIN Automotive Editor May 21, 2012 9:47PM
2012 INFINITI FX35
ENGINE: 303-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6
TRANSMISSION: seven-speed automatic
DRIVETRAIN: all-wheel drive
FUEL ECONOMY: 16 city/21 highway
BASE PRICE: $43,050
AS TESTED: not available
The FX35 makes an immediate impression with its curvy exterior expression of speed meets sophistication. As you might expect from Infiniti, the graceful lines are just a taste of the quality inside the cabin and under the hood.
I have always enjoyed the FX’s styling; it’s one of the most unique and out-of-the-box vehicles on the road. From the big oval grille and large fender flares to the sloping roofline and squat, athletic stance, the FX35 is a big crossover that delivers outstanding performance and elegant interior surroundings.
The FX is built on the same platform as it cousins, the Infiniti G and Nissan Z sports cars. Somewhat of a trend in sport sedans, this crossover offers all-wheel drive although it is a rear-wheel-drive platform. This is a real enhancement and a true nod to the sporty side of the FX’s performance genes.
Available in three models, Infiniti FX35 is powered by a 303-horsepower V-6 with rear- ($41,600) or all-wheel drive ($43,050). If you really want a statement in size and power, the FX50 ($56,400) offers a powerful 390-horsepower V-8 and AWD.
All models come with a responsive seven-speed automatic transmission that is silky smooth and adept at managing whatever challenges you want to attempt. When you run the FX in manual mode, downshifts do not occur automatically.
The outstanding performance aspects and sporty handling of this Infiniti crossover are its hook, line and sinker. The FX35 AWD version will reach 60 mph in just six seconds. Unfortunately, the FX’s high-revving power plant requires premium fuel. Additionally, the AWD version I tested had an Environment Protection Agency-estimated 16 city/21 highway mpg rating, so saving fuel is not a priority when buying the FX.
Inside the cabin of my FX tester, luxurious stitched leather surroundings were accented by stained maple wood, matted silver finishes and soft-touch surfaces. I really liked the thick, three-spoke steering wheel that was loaded with easily managed toggles for audio as well as magnesium shift paddles with leather on the backs for a perfect feel. The FX offers a fairly unique left-side downshift with a right-side upshift function.
The FX’s gauges are pure G37, which is a great thing. The tachometer and speedometer frame a message center with trip data, scrolling information and a gear indicator. This is a dash built to reflect a performance approach to driving and it looks great.
From the B-pillar forward, the sightlines are excellent. The sloping roofline, while supremely stylish and a signature cue for this crossover’s great looks, decreases rear-seat headroom and overall rear cargo space.
The FX is not an off-roader, though it is keenly capable of handling poor road conditions and bad weather. Drivers will appreciate the extra ride height, especially sitting atop the 20-inch (optional 21-inch) wheels. The FX AWD is not meant to tow much, capable of a paltry 2,000 pounds.
The FX does not lack technology. It had everything from the around view monitor, which displays images of everything around the FX on the navigation display, to the smart cruise control and voice-recognition navigation with real-time weather and traffic. The rear-seat entertainment system was a life-saver on one family road trip.
My tester included a power rear lift gate that manages to make this big performance crossover a real family pleaser for convenience. The FX35 may not appear to be a family vehicle, but it can be just that — with a real touch of class and a big helping of horsepower.
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