New York Auto Show 2008: 2009 Infiniti FX
Coupe SUV Refined
The next new Infiniti arrives in June 2008, in the form of an updated FX, and facing new competition from the only other coupe-SUV in the BMW X6. The new FX offers more power from a refined 302HP 3.5L V6 or an all-new 390HP 5.0L V8, with all-wheel drive still optional. There is a new standard seven-speed automatic transmission, new electronic aids for crash avoidance and easier city driving, and even self-healing paint. Infiniti gave the FX a worldwide introduction at the Geneva motor show, launching the brand in Europe at the same time, the U.S. introduction is at the 2008 New York Auto Show.
The FX keeps its unique overall shape, with short overhangs and coupe-style roofline, but a slightly longer wheelbase makes for a longer hood and better-proportioned stance. Everything about the FX has been tucked and reshaped. The reshaped integrated rear spoiler and tailgate surround are bodycolor, though the tailgate opening looks as though it is smaller this time. There are still dual exhaust pipes, but the shape of the lower rear fascia is smoother. The new LED taillights carry a more distinct, decorative shape than the prior car.
At first glance, the side of the vehicle looks about the same. But there are reshaped side-view mirrors and door handles; more significantly, the FX’s 200-pound weight-loss program included moving to aluminum exterior door skins. Infiniti says the vents aft of front tires are functional, allowing air to move out from the engine compartment and reducing lift to increase high-speed stability. As decorative side vents seems to be nearly required these days, it’s these are functional.
But check out the pumped up new face of FX. The 2009 car takes all the elements of the first generation, with its sculpted hood, cat’s-eye headlights, and large chrome grille, and boosts the volume. The hood has sharper creases and the new grille looks thoroughly aggressive and not just large. The new sculpted headlights are the least attractive element, though. The lower-edge scallop loosely ties with the rear taillights, but not to the strength of the other front fascia elements.
Inside, a Better Place to Be
We’re not big fans of the flat-surface approach to the navigation/audio controls in the center stack, but it is something Infiniti seems dedicated to. Aside from that, the interior looks more refined than the outgoing car. The steering wheel and gear-shift lever look better integrated and more comfortable to handle, the tall side bolsters on front seats look ready to keep you in place, and the three-zone layout of the center stack is more intuitive and clean.
Don’t Forget the New Technology
The FX already offered Nissan’s Lane-Departure Warning and Prevention systems, but the 2009 FX incorporates more useful braking aids and the rear active steer system seen in the M cars. A continuous damping control suspension and superlight 21-inch Enkei wheels are also available. New to the FX are the Intelligent Brake Assist and Distance Control Assist features. IBA is Infiniti’s variation of a system that warns if you’re getting too close to a front object and will apply the brakes to help avoid a collision. DCA, Infiniti says, reduces the stress of heavy traffic by “intuitively helping to release the throttle and apply the brakes.”
Other familiar Infiniti systems available on the FX include the Around-View Monitor, Intelligent Key, and Intelligent Cruise Control (available at all speeds). The self-healing clearcoat paint system uses heat from sunlight to self-repair small, fine scratches, which should contribute to a better-looking vehicle over its lifecycle and slightly improve resale value.