Saturday, January 26, 2013
Infiniti FX37 AWD
Having just spent the prior week driving a storied sports sedan, I was prepared to be under whelmed by the performance of this tall, rather ungainly looking sports utility.
But beauty is as beauty does, and what the FX37 does best is cover ground fast. Faster, in most instances than that storied sports sedan I thought I’d be missing so much. To the everlasting credit of Infiniti engineers, they have produced a lithe and agile package that belies its looks, its weight and its perceived station in life. If there’s a sporting award for SUVs, the FX37 is a clear first place winner.
Its efficient 3.7 liter V6 proves you don’t need a V8 to wring top drawer performance from such a sizeable vehicle. Despite the Infiniti’s curb weight of 4,156 lb., the 325hp motor is adequate to any acceleration need, and will also tow 3,500 lb. Just floor the throttle, or select the appropriate gear of the 7 available, and the FX flies into action like a Special Forces commando truck. Although you can also order a 390hp V8 version of the FX designated FX50, you’ll sacrifice the decent (17/24 MPG) gas mileage of the V6 for the voracious appetite (14/20 MPG) of the 5.0 liter V8. Thanks to the responsiveness of the V6, the V8 is more motor than you need.
The engine’s stellar power band, silken transmission, and perpetual all-wheel-drive wouldn’t be worth much without suspension to match, but the underpinnings of the FX offer sportscar alacrity at the cost of ride comfort. Unlike so many SUVs that depend on live rear axles inherited from truck architecture, the crossover FX features multi-link independent suspension front and rear. Ground hogging 10-spoke, 21 inch graphite alloys, which measure 9.5 inches in width, mount 265/45R21 Bridgestone Dueler H/L 400 tires.
The front compartment, however, is a different story. Here, ride quality is quite acceptable, thanks to lavishly overstuffed leather seats that feature 10-way adjustment for the driver and 8-way adjustment for the passenger. Both front seats are heated. Heating and cooling vents for the aft compartment make life back there more tolerable.