Mountain Wheels: Hey, sexy lady: Bouncing in the Infiniti FX37
December 1, 2012
Not unlike that portly South Korean who has so captivated the world with his funny horsey dance, I got a little burst of Gangnam Style every time I set out in the Special Edition of Infiniti’s new FX37 crossover.
For the FX, long-known for its rounded shape and sharp interior, suddenly took on a much more showy look with standard 21-inch, dark-finished aluminum spoke wheels – each looking like the fans of a giant air turbine – which considerably jack up both the FX’s looks, and its ride.
And sitting behind the wheel of that taller FX, the ride is certainly as giddy as some K-Pop disco tune. Those big wheels produce a considerable amount of road noise and lead to a ride that can be a little bumpy at times.
When combined with the gigantic, Corvette-sized arches atop the front wheels, the whole dune-buggy-with-giant wheels effect is a little strange – especially as you can only get it with a glowing, pearlescent white paint job. But mostly awesome, I must admit. Other Special Edition features include tinted headlamps and aluminum pedals, plus the entire technology and safety package optional on other models.
This is also brought home with a considerably more powerful variation of the Infiniti V6, which produces 325 horsepower – more than enough to haul the AWD FX37 around at an impressive clip.
Should that not be quite enough power for you, there’s also the FX50, with a 5.0-liter V8 making 390 HP. Or, there’s that ridiculous Sebastian Vettel-approved version with 420 HP, just as nutty as the Nissan Juke with the GT-R engine, geared at the millionaire Russian and Middle Eastern market.
Over here, you’ll be more than pleased with the basic-engine FX, though, as always, its actual smallness is a curious part of the deal.
Sure, FX looks big, with that prominent hood and the flowing arch of the roofline – accentuated by cargo bars – but on the inside, it’s not especially huge. Granted, you get more head room than you do in a Lexus RX, not to mention better front visibility, but rear leg room is miniscule, and the feeling inside can be more than a little claustrophobic.
My advice is to jack those front seats down as low as possible, which will just add to the Gangnam Style you’re trying to achieve, and open the sunroof. You may look like a second-string Bronco when you roll around town.
Happily, the exterior looks (and not just with those massive Special Edition wheels) do continue to improve each year, with that big chrome bar grille and super-aerodynamic headlamps and brakelamps that stick far out of the body. There are even some cool looking chrome vents on the back of the front wheels, though even the final Saturn Vue had those, too.
And provided you’re not squeezed into the rear seat, the FX’s interior experience is just as sparkly, with the regular blessings of Infiniti’s high-end design and technology features – a booming 11-speaker Bose stereo, a fine navigation system with weather and traffic connections, and a very impressive 360-degree Around-View camera system.
Seating is especially sporty, with strong back and thigh bolstering, and the leather quality is top notch throughout (with red stitching everywhere for added effect). A car which offers crushed velvet trim on the inside of the glove box and even inside the ashtray/coin tray on the center console is doing something right.
The blue-lit instruments are easy to read and a litany of wheel-mounted controls (plus voice-activated controls for all of the navigation and radio features) will keep your eyes on the road. There are no wheel shifter paddles but if you want to customize the ride, especially on steep downhill jaunts, the column-mounted shifter provides smooth and instantaneous steps between the seven gears.
That transmission is indeed a pleasant system and works rather smoothly on its own, helping a bit to contribute to a decent but not outstanding 18 combined mpg.
You can, if you wish, take the FX37’s sportiness and go crazy – you do have 325 HP to work with, the steering and braking is still quite concise and you’ll certainly be held in your seat with all that bolstering.
Actually getting into the car does require a bit of a leap over a pronounced door sill, but electric-sliding power seats get you in place in no time at all.