Quick Test: 2009 Infiniti FX35 AWD
Stomping on the loud pedal of Infiniti's volume SUV
We've already told you all about the second-generation Infiniti FX series as well as how its burlier big brother, the 390-hp, 5.0L V-8-powered Infiniti FX50, performs at the track. Now it's time to see what the kid brother FX35 can do when fired down the dragstrip and through our radar beam.
But first a recap: The second-generation Infiniti FX35 is all-new for 2009 and has a considerably more polarizing, some say shocking, design than the vehicle it replaces. The nose is longer, more sharklike, complete with wide-set headlights and metallic "gills." Sheetmetal and accents are all-new from the wavy, dark chrome grille to the redesigned taillights. Inside, the cabin also has been updated and is more in line with the interiors of the M35/M45 and recently refreshed G35/G37. While the quality of materials improved, so has the feature set. One of our favorite additions? The Around View Monitor system that made its debut on the Infiniti EX35 -- this four-camera parking-assist system provides a top-down view of the road like no other. After trying it once, you'll wonder how you ever parallel-parked without it.
Under the hood, the FX35 receives the updated VQ35HR 3.5L V-6 engine -- the new twin-throttle body version that's also in the 350Z. Output has been increased to Z-like levels as well; the FX35 makes 303 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. All these pounds and ponies are shuttled to either the rear wheels or all four of them via an all-new seven-speed automatic transmission -- the first of its kind for an Infiniti vehicle.
So how does well does all this new gear work? Good, but not great.
The FX35 takes 6.1 sec to get to 60 mph; not a bad time for a 4293-lb SUV, but there are quicker rivals in the class. From that speed, full stops come in at 127 ft -- an acceptably short distance, but not the shortest we've seen.
The FX35 records 0.82 g on the skidpad and 27.1 sec at 0.67 g on the figure eight. Again, good numbers, but not standouts by any measure, which is a shame since the feedback from the FX35's test session is compelling.
Though the all-new seven-speed transmission is not the quickest-shifting system around, technical editor/test driver Kim Reynolds likes the position of the magnesium alloy paddle shifters. "I like that the paddles stay put when I'm cornering," comes his feedback from the figure-eight course.
"The FX brakes into the corners a lot more neutral," he continues, "and you can get it to rotate quite a lot -- perhaps too much."
To stay clear of the nagging from the stability-control nanny, Reynolds advises that the FX35 be, "stabilized with the brakes before applying power.
"Brake fairly gently and you don't get too much yaw," he continues, "Then it'll pivot, and you can get it to rotate quite a bit."
Overall, Reynolds finds the FX playful and fun to drive. Had it been equipped with the optional 20-in. wheel and sticky tire package, perhaps the numbers would've backed up our subjective findings as well.
|2009 Infiniti FX35|
|Drivetrain layout||Front- engine, AWD|
|Engine type||60 V-6, alum block/heads|
|Valvetrain||DOHC, 4 valves/cyl|
|Displacement||213.0 cu in/3498cc|
|Power (SAE net)||303 hp @ 6900 rpm|
|Torque (SAE net)||262 lb-ft @ 4800 rpm|
|Weight to power||14.2 lb/hp|
|Suspension, front; rear||Struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar; multi-link, coil springs, anti-roll bar|
|Brakes, f;r||12.6-in vented disc; 12.1-in vented disc, ABS|
|Wheels, f;r||8.0 x 18-in, cast aluminum|
|Tires, f;r||P265/60R18 109V Bridgestone Potenza RE92A|
|Track, f/r||64.4/64.6 in|
|Length x width x height||191.1 x 75.9 x 65.0 in|
|Turning circle||36.7 ft|
|Curb weight||4293 lb|
|Weight dist., f/r||52/48 %|
|Headroom, f/r||39.3/38.5 in|
|Legroom, f/r||44.7/34.6 in|
|Shoulder room, f/r||57.3/57.4 in|
|Cargo volume||24.8 cu ft|
|Acceleration to mph|
|Passing, 45-65 mph||3.2|
|Quarter mile||14.5 sec @ 96.4 mph|
|Braking, 60-0 mph||127 ft|
|Lateral acceleration||0.82 g (avg)|
|MT figure eight||27.1 sec @ 0.64 g (avg)|
|Top-gear revs @ 60 mph||1960 rpm|
|Price as tested||$47,300|
|Airbags||Dual front, front side, f/r head, f/r curtain|
|Basic warranty||6 yrs/70,000 miles|
|Powertrain warranty||4 yrs/ Unlimited|
|Fuel capacity||23.8 gal|
|EPA city/hwy econ||15/20 mpg|
|CO2 emissions||1.2 lb/mile|
|Recommended fuel||Unleaded premium|