Utilizing the same basic platform as the athletic Nissan 370Z sports car, the Infiniti FX50 is among the sportiest mid-size luxury crossover vehicles available on the market. The FX50 and its less powerful sibling, the FX35, were recently given a light refresh that included revised front-end styling and a Limited Edition variant.
Though the aggressive stance and muscular lines of the outgoing model remain, the latest FX50 features a more menacing chrome grille that takes inspiration from Infiniti's Etherea Concept. The lower front fascia is also new and features chrome bands around the fog-light nacelles. In profile, the FX50 features a gently arching rear window design, short overhangs and chrome vents aft of the front wheels that visually underscore the crossover's sporting intentions.
The interior is largely unchanged, leaving intact the well-trimmed but slightly busy dashboard that incorporates a vertical center stack with sweeping side areas. Buttons abound thanks to the lack of an iDrive-style controller system. Materials are high quality, and space is ample for five adults.
Cargo space, on the other hand, is somewhat compromised for the sake of style: the FX50's short rear overhang and sloping rear window translate to just 24 cubic feet of trunk room, less than what is offered by some "compact" crossovers like the Honda CR-V. Fold down the rear seats, and storage space swells to a more useful 62 cubic feet.
The FX50 is powered by a 5.0-liter V8 that produces 390 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. Allied with a seven-speed automatic transmission, the motor helps the crossover accelerate from zero-to-60 mph in just over five seconds. The FX50 comes standard with an all-wheel-drive system that improves traction by sending up to 50 percent of available power to the front wheels in slippery situations. When properly equipped, the FX50 can tow up to 3,500 pounds.
Fuel efficiency for the FX50 is rated at 14 mpg in the city and 20 mpg on the highway.
Standard and Optional Features: the Nitty-Gritty Details
The FX50 comes well equipped with a sunroof, quilted leather upholstery, heated and cooled front seats with power adjustability, a navigation system with real-time traffic and weather services, an 11-speaker Bose sound system, dual zone automatic climate control, a power rear liftgate, foglamps, cruise control, a dash-mounted seven-inch color information display, 21-inch alloy wheels.
Also standard is an innovative Around View Monitor that uses four exterior cameras to provide a virtual 360-view of vehicle surroundings to help with with parking maneuvers.
Optional features are grouped into two separate packages.
The Technology Package nets a laser-based Intelligent Cruise Control system with Distance Control Assist, a lane-departure warning system, an Intelligent Brake Assist system (which primes the brakes for shorter stopping distances when a possible collision is detected) that partners with a Forward Collision Warning system, rain-sensing wipers and an Adaptive Front Lighting system (which turns the lights to provide better illumination in curves) with HID xenon auto-leveling lights.
The Sport package adds sports seats with extra bolstering, solid magnesium paddle shifters mounted on the steering wheel, dark-tinted air vents and lower door trim, adaptive headlights that turn to provide enhanced illumination when cornering, a Continuous Damping Control system that employs electronic sensors to measure body and wheel movement and adjust the shocks for improved handling control and ride comfort and, finally, a Rear Active Steer system that selectively turns the rear wheel to tighten the FX50's turning circle and provide more responsive handling.
All Infiniti FX50 models come standard with dual front, side and side-curtain airbags in addition to ABS, traction and stability control systems and a tire-pressure monitoring system.
Up until recently, the FX50 was unique among luxury crossovers for its emphasis on wild styling over interior space. However, it now faces competition from even more radically styled "coupe-crossovers" like the BMW X6 and Acura ZDX.