From £45,001
The Infiniti FX50 S Premium is an SUV that claims to be a sports car. It has its flaws, but remains a quirky alternative

Our Verdict

Infiniti FX

The Infiniti FX is an interesting alternative to the norm, but lacks space and comfort to compete in this class

  • First Drive

    Infiniti FX 50S Premium

    The Infiniti FX50 S Premium is an SUV that claims to be a sports car. It has its flaws, but remains a quirky alternative
  • First Drive

    Infiniti FX30d S Premium

    You'll have to really like FX30d's toys and looks to choose this over the Cayenne

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 FX 50S 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

 

Join the debate

Comments
18

9 May 2012

I think this car is ugly, but it's good value for money and a quirky alternative to the norm. It's the underdog, and for that reason alone, I quite like it.

9 May 2012

Infiniti and Lexus seem to be moving towards more or less the same grille shape. What always strikes me about the FX is how long the bonnet is.

9 May 2012

IMHO, it looks better than any other SUV/4x4 - that's not saying much, granted - it has left-field/quirky appeal, will no doubt be more reliable than any Land Rover product and, probably, any rivals from BMW or VW Group, or Jeep.

9 May 2012

Everyday another new or updated SUV appears.Most are ugly,ungainly,inefficient....i could go on .Everyone to their own.

9 May 2012

[quote Fidji]I think this car is ugly[/quote]Much loved by Angelinos, any number parked in the cinema multiplex lot.

When you first see them in the metal you think, good, a refreshing take on the SUV. Approaching it tells you the thing is huge, weighs a ton, (or two) a closer look tells you the design in lumpen, and might well have sired that bastard thing, the BMW X6. A drive tells you it doesn't do anything better than any other big SUV and in many respects does things badly, including interior space and mpg. Finally you walk away disappointed if not disgusted.

9 May 2012

I find this most unattractive and a bit confusing as a shape. The rise over the front wheels suggests to me a structuals failure behind the front wheels, almost like the chassis has dropped behind the front wheels. It is different. But so would be a 4000 foot tall, 6 legged mouse.

9 May 2012

[quote Fidji]It's the underdog, and for that reason alone, I quite like it.[/quote] I like it for this reason too, although I did love the way it looked. I always toyed with the idea of adding one to my 'lottery win shopping list' but not sure if I would be brave enough to a) navigate it around a busy city and b) cope with all the staring and possible heat from eco warriors. Sadly I think the facelift makes it look less distinctive and more Japanese in a bad way if that makes any sort of sense?

10 May 2012

[quote Mario B] a 4000 foot tall, 6 legged mouse.[/quote]

an interesting analogy! that'd eat a lot of cheese.

10 May 2012

21 MPG!!! In your dreams, I drove this and got 12MPG and the BMW's are in a different league , these cars (all of them) are Lexus wanabes, and fail miserably.

10 May 2012

[quote Autocar]

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.The sad thing is, that from a distance, it looks like any other SUV,there's nothing radically different to make it stand out.



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 loo...Read the full article

[/quote]

Peter Cavellini.

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