INFINITI FX 50S  - Page - 1
The FX is Infiniti's first ever crossover-SUV, and its most successful to date. Technically a successor to the Infiniti QX4, which was actually a re-badged Nissan, its launch year coincided with Infiniti's first major move against BMW in the premium segment. Though it's mostly taken for granted now, especially following the worldwide success of the BMW X6, the FX was actually the world's first premium four-door crossover coupe.

We know that's a bit of a mouth full, but bare with us. When BMW launched their X6 crossover, this was pretty much how they conveyed to portray their four-wheeled contrivance. If you think about it, it does make a bit of sense. You have the looks and the proportions of a four door coupe, almost seamlessly blended with the functionality of a crossover/SUV.

Back in 2001, the Infiniti FX 45 Concept was being unveiled at NAIAS, testing the waters for a second similarly-named concept to be unleashed the following year. Code-named the "Bionic Cheetah", the first FX 45 Concept looked like no Infiniti had ever looked before it, having a very similar look with the current BMW X6.

The second FX 45 prototype had more than 90% of the design elements found on the production version, which was launched a year later, in 2003. Based on the same FM (Front Midship) platform as almost the whole rest of the current Infiniti range (except the Nissan Armada-based QX 56), the FX stormed the crossover/SUV market with its original styling, sporty handling and hi-tech gadgetry.

In 2008, the second generation of the FX crossover/SUV was unveiled. It was first launched in the US, its original market, while a European version followed in after a few months for the very first time. Currently, three engines are available for Europe: a 3.7-liter gasoline V6, shared with the rest of the European range of models, a Renault-sourced three-liter turbodiesel V6 and a thunderous 5.0-liter V8.

We managed to get our hands on an Infiniti FX 50 in "S" trim, fitted with all the bells and whistles currently available on this model. Read on to see what we thought about the 390 horsepower powerplant, the seven-speed automatic transmission and the array of gadgets fitted on the "S" version.

Unlike the very first concept car from 2001, the current Infiniti FX no longer uses the "Bionic Cheetah" look, being designed under the direction of Takashi Nakajima, Nissan/Infiniti head of design. "Utterly ugly from every angle" or "a complete masterpieces on wheels" are probably the most said words about the FX's exterior design.

We failed to fall into either category of criticism, but we must admit that it has a "love it or hate it" look, and the controversy it managed to draw upon it made us argue quite a number of times about the design it displays.

The most controversial part of the FX's design is obviously the front end. Our photographer's best bet about which animal it resembles was an albino mole, so that pretty much describes the antithetic feelings this car managed to influence.

Compared to the first generation, the grille has a similar overall trapezoidal shape but it's now much larger and it also adds four lines patterned like dark-tinted waves. In contrast to the large area of the grille, the headlights are very slim and long, while their overall shape resembles that of a carnivore's front teeth, or two sharks swimming together upside down. That or the eyes of the aforementioned albino mole, according to some...

The side view was generally well-received, with a very long hood which is both a reminiscent of old-school GT cars and of the fact that it uses a front-midship positioning of the engine. Also, the side air outlets are both nice-looking and fully functional, helping to evacuate the hot air inside the engine compartment. The 21-inch alloy wheels our "S" version was sporting are a very nice touch as well, even though at first we were thinking they might be a bit of an overkill.

The rear is as sporty as it gets for a crossover/SUV, with the general design cues transmitted from the first generation of the FX, but modernized following the "taillights with in the shape of teeth" principle. The two oversized round exhausts are both cool-looking and responsible for some of the car's "soundtrack". On the whole, the long hood, large wheels and petite windows make the FX look like nothing else on the road, but sadly its overall design remains controversial, so we can't give it full marks.

At first glance, the Infiniti FX 50S's interior can only be described with superlatives. The quality and pattern of the leather stitching on the seats absolutely flawless, while the overall atmosphere is that of a raised grand tourer.

Our test car was fitted with a black leather upholstery and piano black inserts on the center console, with the occasional aluminium silver inserts around the gear knob and on the steering wheel, which are obviously a nice touch. What we didn't like, although we should probably put that more gently, was the lack of 100% cohesion with the rest of the Infiniti model range.

To be more explicit, there is no direct connection between the steering wheel column and the instrument cluster, like in the G models or the Nissan 350/370 Z for example, so you can only adjust the position of the steering wheel independently from the dashboard dials. Even though that option would have been a nice touch, at least the steering wheel is two-way electrically adjustable.

Both the front seats and the rear ones are highly comfortable, with a sporty touch becoming evident as soon as you hit the curves. As far as the overall space, the FX isn't exactly delivering much of it, especially considering the humongous exterior size.

You don't feel cramped inside, but the interior volume is much smaller than you would expect judging from the outside, while the transmission tunnel almost transforms the interior seat layout into a 2+2.

Moreover, the luggage compartment doesn't excel in size, with its standard volume of only 410 liters (14.5 cubic feet). The good news is that the rear seats can be folded almost flat using a 60:40 criteria, and the volume can therefore be almost quadrupled. All in all, the Infiniti G 50S's interior is a very nice place to sit in, even though it doesn't offer a gigantic amount of interior space "thanks" to the low roofline and the front-midship positioning of the engine.

Naturally, we were expecting the FX 50S to feel as inappropriate in the city as an M1 Abrams tank. After all, it's almost as long and as wide as short bus, while the 5-liter naturally-aspirated V8 can't really be called economical. The addition of a seven-speed transmission doesn't help the fuel economy either, even though it's a pretty efficient piece of engineering.

The truth is that the FX is pretty easy to drive in congested traffic, as long as you don't pay much attention to the gruesome fuel economy. During our city part of our test drive, the best figures we managed to achieve as far as fuel consumption goes were around 20-21 liters per 100 kilometers (US 11.2-11.8 mpg).

During prolonged stop-and-go traffic, the consumption rose to as far as 25-26 liters per 100 kilometers (US 9-9.4 mpg), which is a bit far from the official 18.9 liters per 100 km (US 12.4 mpg). Then again, we didn't exactly drove in the most economical matter having no less than 390 horsepower under the hood.

Even with the car's huge size, parking maneuvers are actually much easier than you would suspect. No, it's not thanks to the front and rear parking sensors, albeit they do help, it's the "Around View Monitor" system. By using four different cameras (one on top of the engine grill, one under each exterior rear view mirror and one just over the rear license plate) and a pretty cool software, the interior LCD screen can portray a birds-eye view of the car when going under 10 km/h (6 mph).

On top of this system and the parking sensors, the Infiniti FX also possesses a pair of simply gigantic exterior rear view mirrors, so parking should be a breeze as long as you have the room for it. Speaking of which, the only thing that was a bit annoying (apart from the fuel consumption) were the rear view mirrors, which show you everything that's going on at the car's rear, but the driver's side one is also obstructing part of the view ahead when making left turns.

With only 5.8 seconds required to reach 100 kilometers per hour (62 mph) from a dead stop and an electronically-limited top speed of 250 km/h, the Infiniti FX 50S is not exactly the embodiment of your everyday-slouch SUV. The five-liter naturally-aspirated V8 does a pretty good job at moving over two tonnes of steel, aluminium and magnesium, while the seven-speed automatic transmission is fast enough at gear-changing, also adding a yummy rev-matching feature.

Naturally, the 21-inch alloy wheels, fitted with high-performance tires, don't exactly scream "off-road ready", but that's pretty much the generic response that pops into someone's head when you mention "higher ground clearance" and "advanced all-wheel drive" in the same sentence.

In other words, even though the ATTESA E-TS all-wheel drive system is as modern and as efficient as they get, and despite the rather high ground clearance (over 20 centimeters, or 7.9 inches), the Infiniti FX 50S is clearly a car made for the road. Sure, you can always use it without too many problems in the snow or muddy backroads through mountain forests (as long as you have the right tire/wheel combination, of course), but it can offer the most fun on tarmac.

With so much power on tap and an advanced suspension, that's using the multi-link principle both in the frond and in the rear while also having electronically-controlled dampers, you can pretty much guess that you can have lots of fun with this car, despite its gargantuan size and weight. There are two settings for the suspension's hardness, just like on the seven-speed automatic, which at its fastest setting can change a gear in just 200 milliseconds.

As soon as the fun is over, mainly because of a police radar or if you have your mother-in-law in one of the passenger seats, you can also gently cruise with the FX 50S in absolute comfort. By using the laser-based Intelligent Cruise Control system, you can even forget about using your feet on the highway.

Working in a somewhat similar manner with the "tractor beam" from Star Trek, the system sends a radar signal towards the car in front and it can brake or accelerate the car by its own to keep a safety distance from the traffic in front. Of course, you can also use it as a "normal" cruise control system, by giving it a designated maximum speed at which it can operate. Great stuff!

As far as the open road fuel consumption, we again didn't manage to get very close to the official 9.8 liters per 100 kilometers (US 24 mpg), but that was mainly because we drove it in a somewhat sportier manner, given the car's specifications. The lowest figure we achieved was around 12 liters per 100 kilometers (US 19.6 mpg), while a "drive it like you stole it" manner of driving rose those figures to over 15 liters per 100 kilometers (US 15.7 mpg). All in all, the Infiniti FX 50S is a very potent grand tourer that comes with the benefit of all-wheel drive and a higher ground clearance.
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autoevolution May 2010
In the city
Open road
Tech facts
57user rating 17 votes
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Infiniti FX50s detailed crash resultsInfiniti FX50s whiplashInfiniti FX50s CRSInfiniti FX50s pole impactInfiniti FX50s driver after frontal impactInfiniti FX50s frontal impactInfiniti FX50s head airbag badgeInfiniti FX50s thorax airbag badgeInfiniti FX50s driver airbag badgeInfiniti FX50s steering wheel buttonsInfiniti FX50s steering wheel buttonsInfiniti FX50s steering wheel controller (electric)Infiniti FX50s Around View MonitorInfiniti FX50s engine start/stop buttonInfiniti FX50s subwooferInfiniti FX50s radarInfiniti FX50s exterior rear view mirror cameraInfiniti FX50s rear cameraInfiniti FX50s front cameraInfiniti FX50s wheelInfiniti FX50s exhaust tipInfiniti FX50s rear suspensionInfiniti FX50s front suspensionInfiniti FX50s engine bayInfiniti FX50s suspension control and seat heatingInfiniti FX50s rear armrestInfiniti FX50s front seat controlsInfiniti FX50s rear benchInfiniti FX50s front seatsInfiniti FX50s three quarters front shot - open roadInfiniti FX50s open road panningInfiniti FX50s open road panningInfiniti FX50s tracking shotInfiniti FX50s Around View MonitorInfiniti FX50s in the parking lotInfiniti FX50s in the parking lotInfiniti FX50s rear ride heightInfiniti FX50s middle ride heightInfiniti FX50s front ride heightInfiniti FX50s rear ground clearance Infiniti FX50s front ground clearance Infiniti FX50s city pannningInfiniti FX50s nighttime tunnel shotInfiniti FX50s nighttime tunnel shotInfiniti FX50s tracking shotInfiniti FX50s tracking shotInfiniti FX50s menuInfiniti FX50s menuInfiniti FX50s tire pressure monitorInfiniti FX50s luggage compartment, rear bench foldedInfiniti FX50s luggage compartment, rear bench foldedInfiniti FX50s luggage compartment - spare tire and subwooferInfiniti FX50s luggage compartmentInfiniti FX50s rear armrestInfiniti FX50s rear armrestInfiniti FX50s rear benchInfiniti FX50s glove compartmentInfiniti FX50s dashboard viewInfiniti FX50s front armrest with connectivity optionsInfiniti FX50s front armrestInfiniti FX50s door controlsInfiniti FX50s seat badge stichInfiniti FX50s air ventInfiniti FX50s BOSE center speakerInfiniti FX50s rear view mirror controlsInfiniti FX50s rear view mirrorInfiniti FX50s gear patternInfiniti FX50s gear stick - side viewInfiniti FX50s gear stickInfiniti FX50s suspension control and seat heatingInfiniti FX50s navigation controlsInfiniti FX50s air conditioning and audio controlsInfiniti FX50s center consoleInfiniti FX50s trip buttonInfiniti FX50s mirror adjustment controlsInfiniti FX50s dashboard buttonsInfiniti FX50s driver side door controlsInfiniti FX50s front seats and dashboardInfiniti FX50s rev counterInfiniti FX50s steering wheel buttonsInfiniti FX50s steering wheel buttonsInfiniti FX50s shift paddleInfiniti FX50s headlight control leverInfiniti FX50s wiper control leverInfiniti FX50s dashboard buttonsInfiniti FX50s gaugesInfiniti FX50s steering wheel badgeInfiniti FX50s steering wheel close-upInfiniti FX50s steering wheelInfiniti FX50s steering wheelInfiniti FX50s high angle dashboard viewInfiniti FX50s dashboard viewInfiniti FX50s nighttime center consoleInfiniti FX50s nighttime gaugesInfiniti FX50s nighttime dashboard view Infiniti FX50S rear badgeInfiniti FX50S rear badgeInfiniti FX50S taillightInfiniti FX50S taillightInfiniti FX50S rear side detailInfiniti FX50S exterior rear view mirrorInfiniti FX50S exterior rear view mirrorInfiniti FX50S driver side door handleInfiniti FX50S air outletInfiniti FX50S front cameraInfiniti FX50S front badgeInfiniti FX50S grilleInfiniti FX50S headlightInfiniti FX50S headlightInfiniti FX50S detailed front fasciaInfiniti FX50S rear viewInfiniti FX50S three quarters rear viewInfiniti FX50S side viewInfiniti FX50S front viewInfiniti FX50S three quarters front viewInfiniti FX50S front view, fisheyeInfiniti FX50S rear view detailInfiniti FX 50SInfiniti FX 50SInfiniti FX 45Infiniti FX 45 Concept (2002)Infiniti FX 45 Concept (2001)