Infiniti FX37 S Premium First Drive
Good looks, impressive on-road dynamics, and an exhaustive list of standard equipment make the newcomer Infiniti FX37 a front runner, says Isaac Bober.
You could be forgiven for not knowing the name or brand of vehicle you’re looking at right now. It’s an Infiniti, or an Infiniti FX37 S Premium to give it it’s full name, and it’s a relative newcomer to Australia.
Officially launching in North America in 1989, Infiniti is the luxury arm of Nissan Motor Company (think Toyota and Lexus) and arrived in Australia at the end of 2012. Infiniti describes the FX as being ‘like nothing else’ and ‘where powerful performance meets inspired design’. And, visually speaking, it’s impossible not to be impressed.
The FX is offered with a range of engines: 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel; or a 3.7-litre V6 or 5.0-litre V8 petrol engine. As you may have guessed from the name, we’re testing the 3.7-litre V6 petrol which produces 235kW of power and 360Nm of torque (or pulling power). All three engines are mated to a creamy and clever seven-speed automatic transmission which is able to learn your driving style and adjust its gearshifts accordingly. In terms of fuel consumption, the FX37 is claimed to return a combined figure of 12.1L/100km, but expect it to drink more around town and, so, if you’re doing a lot of driving you might be best off looking at the diesel-powered FX which is claimed to return a reasonable 9.0L/100km.
Like the Range Rover Evoque, the Infiniti FX aims to stop you in your tracks and have you drooling over its looks before you even get behind the wheel and press the starter button. Indeed, more than one in three FX buyers reckon they buy the car on the looks alone.
Clamber into either the front or the back of the FX and you’ll be impressed not just with the quality of the materials used but also the fit and finish – the FX feels a much more expensive vehicle than it is. Thanks to electric rake and reach adjustment on the steering wheel and 14-way electric adjustment on the driver’s seat (on the Sport variant I’m testing here, 10-way is standard) it’s impossible not to find a comfortable driving position, and while some writers have criticised back seat space I found it to be fairly generous. And if, like me, you’ve got kids, then you’ll get two children’s seats into the back without a drama and while the 410 litres of boot space isn’t huge, it’s enough room for a pram and sundry other items. Fold the rear seats down and bootspace grows to 1305 litres.
Quality aside, the FX impresses with its generous level of standard features too, its sticker price of $83,900 (+ORC) is icing on the cake. The test car, a FX37 S Premium, lists for $95,900 (+ORC), but comes with just about everything you could need, including an around view monitor with corner sensors (which is handy in tight parking situations), continuous damping control, lane departure, forward collision warning, adaptive front headlights (read: cornering function), sunroof, dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth with audio streaming and 8GB hard drive.
On the road the FX handles, turns and controls its body with all the agility of a sports car and it’s the dynamic equal of anything from either Audi or BMW. And while the 21-inch alloys and very low-profile rubber on our FX37 S (non-Sport models sit on 20-inch alloys) offer a firm ride there’s still enough give that your fillings won’t shake loose on anything that isn’t billiard table smooth.
The steering is nice and direct with decent weight, while standard-fitment all-wheel drive, with clever stability and traction control aids, means grip is impressive no matter the conditions. That said, just because the FX37 offers a high-ish ride and all-paw grip doesn’t mean it’s an off-roader. It’s a soft-roader and while it’ll handle slippery dirt roads with ease we’d advise against trying to follow a Land Rover Discovery 4 up a mountain.
PRACTICAL MOTORING SAYS
The FX37 S Premium not only looks exciting but is also exciting to drive, and its generous level of standard equipment makes it a genuine contender in the segment. So, if you’re after something that matches the Germans (read: BMW X3/X5 and Audi Q5/Q7) for drivability and offers a fair dollop of exclusivity without costing the earth (relatively speaking), then the Infiniti FX37 S might just be the car for you.