What is it?
The latest Infiniti FX, the car the BMW X6 owes its existence to. The FX was the original SUV that claimed to also be a sports coupe. Now in its second-generation, it’s Infiniti’s best-seller in the UK (and we’re only talking barely hundreds, not thousands), and has just undergone the most subtle of mid-life revisions.
What’s it like?
Very similar to before. Infiniti says more than one in three FX buyers say they make their purchase chiefly on its looks, so styling revisions are kept to a minimum, the latest FX distinguishable from before mainly by its new front grille. Other changes include new alloy wheel designs and colour choices, plus a subtle tweak to the instrument panel inside.
The four trim levels – GT, GT Premium, S and S Premium – remain, and the 235bhp 3.0-litre V6 diesel and 316bhp 3.7-litre petrol engines carry over unchanged. Those opting for the range-topping S Premium trim can also go for the 385bhp 5.0-litre V8 petrol engine, which piques our interest the most.
The V8, which comes mated to a seven-speed auto’ with paddle shifters, is a real firecracker. Despite having to haul more than two tonnes of FX, it can crack 0-62mph in just 5.8sec. In-gear performance is strong, too, the FX often best left in its auto’ mode rather than getting the driver involved as it has a happy knack of reading the situation and selecting the right cog.
The sports-orientated S and S Premium models also get 21inch wheels, active damping, rear-wheel steer and sports seats as standard over their more comfort-biased GT and GT Premium siblings.
But the upgrade to the 21inch wheels are a blessing in disguise. Yes, the FX50 S Premium steers and handles with a great degree of competence, offering particularly good body control at higher speeds with the active dampers, but the ride and road noise don’t half suffer for the larger rims.
We also tried a passively damped GT Premium model on 20in wheels and its ride was marginally better. But the trade off is worse body control, and less responsive handling and steering; the active dampers and rear-wheel steering being missed.
Should I buy one?
Perhaps the best FX for the heart is the one Infiniti doesn’t make: an FX50 S Premium on 20in wheels. But while the V8’s performance will leave you with a big grin, that’ll soon turn to a frown when you’re back at the fuel station again thanks to its 21.6mpg combined economy.
By far and away the most popular FX in the UK is the 3.0-litre diesel model in S Premium. It’s not hard to see why; the engine’s real world usable performance isn’t too far behind the V8 petrol’s, and its economy is predictably a vast improvement, at 31.4mpg.
Even so, it remains practically impossible to logically recommend an Infiniti FX of any kind over say a Range Rover Sport, BMW X6 or Porsche Cayenne. But the FX is one of those niche cars that if you really like it, you must have it, regardless of its poor ride, cramped rear cabin and small boot.
It comes back to that ‘reason for purchase figure’. While more than one in three buy it for the way it looks, less than one in ten buy it for the way it drives.
Infiniti FX50 S Premium
Price: £58,280; 0-62mph: 5.8sec; Top speed: 155mph (limited); Economy: 21.6mpg; CO2: 307g/km; Kerb weight: 2120kg; Engine: 5026cc, V8, petrol; Power: 385bhp at 6500rpm; Torque: 369lb ft at 4400rpm; Gearbox: seven-speed automatic