When the Infiniti FX was introduced in 2003, the luxury performance SUV was a novel, if strange, idea. Now, nearly every brand has some version of a sporty crossover, which means many drivers are looking for sports car performance with SUV functionality.
Although not the sales leader it once was, the Infiniti FX continues to offer unique styling and competitive performance. For its mid-cycle update, Infiniti has given the 2012 FX a mild makeover. Most noticeable is a revised front fascia that gives the FX a decidedly more aggressive appearance.
To generate additional interest, Infiniti is also offering a Limited Edition of the FX35. With only 500 available in the U.S., the model features Iridium Blue paint and 21-inch graphite finish wheels turbine patterned spokes. The combined look is striking and drew the attention of many motorists.
The Limited Edition features the same 3.5-liter V6 engine found in all FX35s. With 303 horsepower, acceleration is brisk, although I had to wait for the RPMs increase before the acceleration impressive. Buyers looking for more oomph should consider the FX50 and its 392 horsepower V8.
Perhaps the performance weak spot is the 7-speed automatic transmission. Although shifting is smooth, when I stabbed the gas there was a noticeable delay before any downshifting occurred. Considering how much the engine likes to rev, this proved frustrating when tackling twisty roads that require accelerating hard out of tight corners. There is a manual mode to keep a lower gear, but the absence of paddle shifters makes this more chore than pleasure.
Luckily the FX35 allows quite a bit of speed through the turns. The suspension keeps the FX remarkably flat through the turns and low-profile tires provide plenty of stick. The process feels disconcerting, though, as the FX sits high off the ground. It definitely takes courage to push the car anywhere close to its limits.
The FX35 continues the Infiniti tradition of providing a well-designed interior and some of the latest technology. The Around View Monitor makes for easy parking, as it gave me a bird's eye view of the car. Equally useful is the Adaptive Front lighting System, which swivels the headlights while negotiating corners at night.
The FX35 proved more practical than its sleek shape suggests. With the rear seats folded down, the cargo area easily swallowed two bikes and camping gear for a quick trip to the Sierra Nevadas. Try doing that in a sports coupe
Unfortunately one habit the FX35 shares with most high-powered sports cars is frequent gas station visits. Even on the highway EPA 20 mpg estimate is hard to achieve, a premium unleaded is required.
The FX35 pricing starts at $43,700, with the Limited Edition priced at $51,550. Despite its substantial cost, it's thousands less than a similarly equipped BMW X6.
Although a high performance SUV like the FX35 might sound like an oxymoron, the FX35 is a perfect do-everything vehicle. Commute to work in the morning, haul groceries in the afternoon, and go canyon carving on the weekend. And do it all in style