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Infiniti FX and M 2012 review: snapshot

The big FX and the M sedan will appeal to those looking for something different.

Nissan is pulling a Toyota (Lexus) with its parallel premium brand called Infiniti. It took Lexus years to make inroads into the local market and even now, pales against the Germans.

But obviously Nissan thinks Infiniti can cut it with the big boys as the brand lobs this month with a couple of dealers and a couple of cars; the FX, a mid-size luxury SUV priced from $83,900 and the M medium large luxury sedan from $85,900.

Infiniti's full dealer network is yet to be established - at least one in each capital city and possibly a few in major regional centres. Infiniti execs are pretty confident of success with their American-centric cars. The two on offer first up have plenty of appeal and are really different from anything else on offer.

Value

The FX is up against Audi Q7, BMW X5/X6, Mercedes ML and Lexus RX. It comes fully equipped as standard unlike German competitors which have extensive and expensive options. The M sedan competes with the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series, Mercedes E-Class and Lexus GS offering generous luxury equipment levels, way beyond what the competition offers as standard.

But metallic paint is $1500 extra...Both vehicles have a four year/100,000km warranty and a generous roadside assistance program with provisions for accommodation, accident coordination, alternate vehicle supply.

Technology

FX has been around for quite a while and consequently, has older technology. It is powered by a choice of V6 petrol or diesel engines and a 287kW petrol V8 of 5.0-litres rated at 13.1L/100km. The M is all V6-powered with a choice of petrol, diesel or hybrid power trains.

The hybrid is the performance model with a total output of 268kW. It's more economical than the diesel and will also operate in full electric mode up to 100km/h if there is enough battery charge. All models have seven-speed automatic transmissions with downshift rev matching and paddle shifters.

Drive in the FX is on demand all wheel drive depending on available traction. It defaults to rear wheel drive with the front axle engaged as needed. The M is a conventional rear-wheel drive only. Digital technology abounds in both vehicles especially in the M. Both have Bose audio and the M gets a noise cancelling system to assist quiet running.

Incoming cabin air goes through air-conditioning with humidity control, aromatherapy and a grapeseed polyphenol filter to decrease allergies. Four wheel steering is featured on the top of the line M and the FX has an auto tailgate.

Design

They are Japanese-made vehicles specifically designed for Americans which explains the overt styling with plenty of chrome and a macho look to the frontal area. Aussies should like them. 

The FX looks lower and wider than a BMW X5 for a dynamic, road-holding appearance. The M is a touch of S-Type Jag in feel and appearance. Rear seat room in both vehicles is generous and there's plenty of boot space in both models except in the M hybrid which suffers battery intrusion in the boot.

Safety

Five stars from Euro NCAP for the FX but the M has yet to be tested.

The drive

There is more of a sense of being in a Lexus than a German car from inside both vehicles - high quality build, tasteful amounts of bling, a quiet environment and a feeling of super-refined engines. 

They are performance oriented vehicles, underlined during our test drive. All engines offer strong performance across a wide rev range matched by sporty handling in both models. High levels of grip doesn't mean a harsh ride, as it’s "plush" over broken patches of road. The Bose noise-cancelling system works a treat, aided by double-glazed windows.

Verdict

The M sedan will appeal to those looking for something different. And the FX is a big, luxury SUV that will appeal to those looking for something different.

Pricing guides

$22,710
Based on third party pricing data
Lowest Price
$18,800
Highest Price
$26,620

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
GT 3.0L, Diesel, 7 SP AUTO $18,800 – 26,180 2012 Infiniti M30d 2012 GT Pricing and Specs
S Premium 3.0L, Diesel, 7 SP AUTO $19,100 – 26,620 2012 Infiniti M30d 2012 S Premium Pricing and Specs
Pricing Guide

$20,800

Lowest price, based on 3 car listings in the last 6 months

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