On the inside, the BMW garners high marks for elegance, build quality, and cohesiveness. Fans of the brand will feel perfectly at home in the X6's richly appointed cabin, but first-timers coming from other luxury brands may have nits to pick with the details, particularly iDrive. While the X6 has a backup camera and the sonar Park Distance Control system, both systems pale in comparison with the FX's goodies-particularly the Around View Mode, a bird's-eye viewing system that has to be seen to be believed.
"The X6 interior is businesslike, not trying to impress anyone with cool lighting or exotic wood. That said, it does come across as a bit cold and austere," notes Kiino. "I prefer the FX's interior-it's cleaner, more straightforward, and, despite being all-black, warmer. The design and the layout are inviting, with all the controls in easy-to-find places."
The X6's shifter looks like a fancy Bang & Olufsen remote, but has a hollow, almost cheap feel. Pushing forward to downshift, as nature intended, is quick but artificial-feeling. With the FX's more traditional beefy-triggered lever, backward tugs evoke downshifts from the all-new seven-speed auto. While it shifts slower than the BMW's, the action is nicer, with a bit of resistance that feels more like actual cog swapping.
Same goes for the FX's steering-column-mounted paddles. These slim, rubber-trimmed alloy crescents have enough travel to serve up a satisfying gearshift "ka-thunk." Reynolds prefers them over the X6's dual-action, wheel-mounted buttons on the skidpad and figure eight. The FX's fixed-position paddles mean he doesn't have to chase them around during large steering inputs.
Legroom for driver and front passenger is tighter in the FX as the transmission hump protrudes in from the center line. The trade-off is a lower-riding, more carlike feel, one advantage of being based off Nissan's FM car platform versus a traditional SUV like the X6.
Kneepads mounted ahead of the X6's shifter are the giveaway. At first, they seem like a thoughtful bit of kit, but after driving the FX, you realize why the Infiniti doesn't need them. While you don't exactly flop and flail about in the BMW, there's more of a feeling of sitting on top of the car, rather than in it, especially as it leans into corners.With the Infiniti's center armrest folded down, the rear seats are nearly identical-the main difference is that while the FX has a spot for a fifth passenger, the X6 has a console and pass-through for long items. Both split 60/40 for additional cargo room, though the volume advantage goes to the X6 when the seats are up.
Legroom is competitive as well; each has inches to spare between the kneecap to the back of the driver's seat for this six-foot editor with a 32-inch inseam (assuming an identically proportioned driver). Headroom is naturally compromised, slightly more so in the X6, where bouffant 'dos will brush up against the headliner. More disturbing is turning to look out the side window and finding the X6's sloping C-pillar so close.