What is it?
The new Infiniti FX, which first appeared in early 2008 and has now finally gone on sale in the UK.
Three models are available, the £42,600 FX37 GT and £44,600 FX37 S both of which are powered by a 3.7-litre V6 engine. However, £53,600 will get you the range-topping and spec-heavy 5.0-litre V8 FX50 S. Indeed, so replete is the FX50’s standard features list, that the only option (at £650) was the ‘Umbria Twilight’ paint.
Aside from the 5.0-litre V8, the FX50 gets a seven-speed autobox (with nifty magnesium paddle shifters), all-wheel drive, speed sensitive and even rear wheel steering. Bundle all that together with the FX50’s front mid-engine balance, wide track and lowish centre of gravity and you have a highly competent cross-country machine.
What’s it like?
Even on a winding and dipping narrow country lane it’s possible to keep up an impressive head of steam, without having to wrestle with car. Although it doesn’t step off instantaneously, this is a very quick machine and it can carry the speed in challenging conditions mostly thanks to the really excellent body control and accurate, well-weighted, steering.
It’s extremely well-balanced on the most laterally undulating roads and has a remarkably good ride on the standard-issue 21-inch wheels, for which we should partly thank the highly impressive Continuous Damping Control. The FX’s appetite for back roads was not just measured by the driver’s sense of progress, the stopwatch backed up the car’s ground-covering abilities.
Without disturbing the horses, I managed to knock a substantial amount off my usual journey time from Hertfordshire to central London and the Sunday evening traffic was possibly heavier than normal.
There’s something about the combination of the car’s poise and the driver’s seating position that makes the FX feel imperturbable, whether it is on a B-road or carving along the motorway. It’s difficult to pinpoint why this is, but the combination of the mid-engined layout and much of the car’s weight being low down is probably the majority of the equation, though the exceptionally subtle rear-steering is probably the real key.