2008 New York Auto Show: 2009 Infiniti FX
Infiniti ups its game and the FX's V-8 power. Take that BMW!
What’s New – Infiniti redesigns the FX, its rear- or all-wheel drive crossover based on the same platform as the G sedan. Although styling isn’t radically different on the second generation, there are a few new features, including a seven-speed automatic transmission and larger V-8 engine. The 5.0-liter, eight-cylinder engine powers the FX50, while the FX35 will continue with a V-6, although details haven’t been released.
Why It Matters – With the second generation, Infiniti adds features to keep the FX desirable to buyers who are looking for a mid-size crossover with sporting intentions, advanced safety and high-tech gadgetry.
2009 Infiniti FX Preview – 2008 New York Auto Show: Now in its 20th year of existence, Infiniti has come a long way from what was a shaky start. First, the cars were, to put it politely, peculiar looking. Second, the original ads didn’t show the cars; instead, potential buyers were treated to 30 seconds of pseudo-Zen. Still, innovations such as four-wheel steering and active suspension made the flagship Q45 sedan a hit. The remainder of the line wasn’t as successful, and after 10 years the division was in danger of extinction.
Fast forward to the now, and the company makes several popular, well-regarded automobiles. The G35 sedan and FX35/45 crossovers breathed new life into Nissan’s luxury division and were immediately popular. That brings us to the company’s introduction of the new FX.
Infiniti’s emphasis is on the all-wheel drive FX50 in unveiling the second generation crossover, so named because of its new 5.0-liter V-8 engine. As was the case with the original Q45, the FX50 offers innovation along with luxury. Several technologies are carried over from the first generation and joined by some new things.
2009 Infiniti FX – Notable Features
The larger 5.0-liter V-8 engine and the new seven-speed transmission top the list of performance features on the FX50.
On the safety and technology front, there’s Distance Control Assist, which controls the throttle and brakes to keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you. That feature joins the already available Lane Departure Warning and Prevention, Intelligent Cruise Control and Intelligent Brake Assist, which provides front collision warning and automatic emergency braking. Opposed-piston brake calipers are available as an upgrade and there’s an optional Sport Package, which includes Continuous Damping Control, Rear-Active Steer and 21-inch alloy wheels. Infiniti makes its Around View Monitor system, introduced on the EX35, available on the FX. The system uses four exterior cameras to create a composite view of the area surrounding the vehicle and works at low speeds.
2009 Infiniti FX – Under the Hood
The new 5.0-liter, overhead-cam V-8 engine produces 390 horsepower, a whopping 70 horsepower gain over the 4.5-liter version. No details have been released about the FX35’s V-6, although if the 3.5-liter engine found on the G35 sedan is employed, that model produces 306 horsepower and 268 lb.-ft. of torque.
The seven-speed automatic transmission has what the carmaker calls Adaptive Shift Control; it’s not clear how that differs from the two five-speed gearboxes offered on the 2008. That pair of automatics allowed the driver to shift manually and rev-matched on downshifts. Independent suspension and four-wheel disc brakes carry over from the previous generation. Opposed-piston brake calipers are an option. The benefit is better and more efficient braking.
2009 Infiniti FX – Design
Exterior changes on the new FX aren’t screamingly obvious.
Overall shape is retained, with the redesign addressing specific areas such as the headlamps, taillamps, grille shape and gill vents behind the front wheels. Sheet metal changes are subtle, with the raised tops of the fenders being most noticeable. Inside changes are more obvious. The dash is now two-tiers and more curvaceous, while the steering wheel is a more traditional three-spoke design.
2009 Infiniti FX – Competitors
Infiniti has made it clear that it set its sights on BMW, which makes the X5 the natural prey for the FX50.
BMW can pretty much beat everyone else when it comes to the number of available options, including many you never knew you needed. But in this round, the horsepower war goes to the FX50, which leapfrogs the X5’s 350 horsepower by 40 ponies. Both have luxury interiors, modern exterior styling and advanced technology.
Photo credit: Infiniti, Oliver Bentley