What it Is
Infiniti EX Concept Preview – New York Auto Show: OK, so maybe there are enough smallish luxury-type crossovers to build a bridge across the Atlantic. And we would agree that the last thing needed on this side of the Pond is a swoopy import CUV. But wait…hold on for just a second. There may be room enough for just one more, if that one is the Infiniti EX Concept. Debuted as a concept vehicle at the 2007 New York Auto Show but with a date for production later in the year, the Infiniti EX Concept looks to give the Acura RDX and the BMW X3 a hard time, with a more powerful engine and a list of innovative safety technology devices.
Why it Matters
Built off the same underpinnings that hold up the Infiniti G37 coupe, the EX Concept should provide a sporty driving experience, loads of safety and a nice modern style, inside and out. Then again, Grumpy Gus would tell you that it may not matter at all, as there are too many to choose from already and the winners are the default companies with deeper advertising pockets or a penchant for special lease deals. Either way, we’ll find out soon enough because Infiniti says we’ll see a production version of the EX Concept, named the Infiniti EX35, by the end of the year.
What’s Under the Hood
The EX Concept is powered by Infiniti’s new 3.7-liter V6 engine via a five-speed automatic transmission, with power traveling to all four wheels via an all-wheel-drive configuration. Built on the FM platform (see the Infiniti M, FX and G), the EX promises to offer a crisp handling experience and an overall sporty ride. The concept rides on 19-inch alloy wheels and 245/55R19 tires. Perhaps the biggest news under the hood, however, is safety: the EX will debut two significant safe-driving devices, Infiniti’s Around View Monitor (AVM) and Lane Departure Prevention (LDP) systems.
What it Looks Like
As with many of its ilk, the Infiniti EX Concept has dramatic, swooping sheetmetal that’s quite attractive and modern, yet also impractical in terms of rear head room and visibility. While the Around View Monitor (AVM) will certainly help with visibility, it’s also nice to be able to look around for yourself without the aid of cameras. One thing the concept has that we wish the production version would get, but know that it won’t, is the liquid crystal full-length glass roof panel that changes from transparent to translucent via input from a special touch sensor system.
What Infiniti Says
“The Infiniti FX, M and most recently the new 2008 G Coupe, can all trace their evolution from show stoppers to Infiniti showrooms in a short period of time,” said Mark Igo, vice president and general manager, Infiniti Division, Nissan North America, Inc. “With this stunning EX Concept, we’re pleased to announce that along with the basic exterior and interior designs, the production Infiniti EX will include much of the EX Concept’s innovative technology, including the Around View Monitor and Lane Departure Prevention.”
What We Think
Though the market is getting crowded with pseudo-luxury crossover vehicles, choice is always a good thing. When the Infiniti EX Concept does become the Infiniti EX35 later this year, it will provide the type of performance, luxury and safety to make it a viable player in a hotly contested market.
Photos courtesy of: Infiniti, Brian Chee