Lexus RX350 2012 Review
Lexus swamps the cabin with technology - but makes it easy to understand. The problem with modern...
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As a motoring journalist I typically drive between 250 and 300 cars every year. Yet there are some out there who drive 10 times as many vehicles as I do, perhaps 20 times. The guys and gals who valet park your car in upmarket hotels are finely tuned to the vehicles they drive and take an interest in anything that’s new to them.
So when I rolled up to the Sheraton Mirage on the Gold Coast the other day in a new Infiniti FX the eyes of the guys lit up. To be honest (sorry to all the marketing people at Infiniti) they had no idea what the big SUV was. The badge – showing a road disappearing into infinity – was totally unknown to them. Indeed, though they immediately recognised it as being a prestige vehicle they made a couple of incorrect guesses before I explained that Infiniti is to Nissan what Lexus is to Toyota.
They loved the looks of the Infiniti FX inside and out, describing it as one of the most stunning vehicles they had seen for a long time. We have to agree with them; unlike other sporting SUVs that are simply standard vehicles with revisions to the body to give it a tougher look, the Infiniti was designed from the start to be a 4WD that was anything but shy.
Infiniti’s big new FX is a genuinely sporting SUV that’s been designed like that from the ground up. With a starting price of around $100,000 it provides very good value in this semi rarefied market segment and we can see it building up strong sales as soon as buyers start to sample its dynamic abilities.
TECHNOLOGY - FXs
We tested two Infiniti FXs during a two-week period, one powered by a glorious 5.0-litre petrol V8 that gives it the sort of thrust that’s sure to bring a smile to the face of any keen driver. It not only provides plenty of acceleration but does so with just the right sort of V8 sounds and slightly uneven beat that only a bent-eight can manage.
It’s a bit of a gas guzzler in a manner that typical of the breed, though it has to be said that a high-performance SUV using 12 to 15 litres per hundred kilometres in general driving really isn’t all that bad. Interestingly, this is the engine upon which next year’s Nissan V8 Supercar is (loosely) based. Exciting.
DESIGN - FXs
Just look at the long swooping bonnet with the sort of lowered centre section usually only seen in low slung sports cars; at the sloped rear end styling and the huge wheels and you will soon agree that the shy are retiring had perhaps better look elsewhere.
There are disadvantages in any sporting vehicle and the big Infiniti suffers in the cargo area because the long slope of the tail restricts the height of long, tall items. Still that’s not unusual in the latest generation of SUVs. The boot area is long and easy to access through a large tailgate that was power operated in the models we road tested.
The interior is as eye catching as the exterior, with the FX having a twin-cockpit area for the two in the front, with a real emphasis on the driving position. During a hot, sticky start to spring up here on the Gold Coast we found the air conditioned front seats to be a real bonus. Seat comfort in front is good with bolsters that give a strong cue to the fact this vehicle is aimed at the sporting driver.
Back seat travellers have head and legroom that’s good without exactly being generous, a function of the FX being as more of a tall coupe than a traditional 4WD.
TECHNOLOGY - FX
The second week saw us behind the wheel of a 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel Infiniti FX. Like all modern diesels the Infiniti unit provides plenty of grunt in the lower to middle ranges, yet is more of a fuel sipper than guzzler. We had no trouble in getting in under eight litres per hundred kilometres on the motorway and even around town sub-10 litre number were the norm.
DESIGN - FX
Big 21-inch wheels and wide tyres are always going to provide plenty of grip and the suspension is nicely sorted out. Nimble the FX is not, but it does hang on determinedly and is nicely balanced with cornering. There’s some road roar on coarse-chip surfaces but we have hear worse.
The complete Infiniti FX range is:
FX37 GT 3.7-litre petrol five-door wagon: $83,900
FX37 S 3.7-litre petrol five-door wagon: $92,900
FX37 S Premium 3.7-litre petrol five-door wagon: $95,900
FX30d GT 3.0-litre turbo-diesel five-door wagon: $85,900
FX30d S 3.0-litre turbo-diesel five-door wagon: $94,900
FX30d S Premium 3.0-litre turbo-diesel five-door wagon: $97,900
FX50 S Premium 5.0-litre petrol five-door wagon: $114,900
Price: from $83,900
Engine: 3.7-litre petrol 6.0-cyl, 235kW/360Nm
Transmission: 7-speed auto
Thirst: 12.1L/100km, CO2 282g/km
|GT||3.7L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO||$22,440 – 27,720||2012 Infiniti FX37 2012 GT Pricing and Specs|
|S||3.7L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO||$24,530 – 30,250||2012 Infiniti FX37 2012 S Pricing and Specs|
|S Premium||3.7L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO||$30,800 – 37,070||2012 Infiniti FX37 2012 S Premium Pricing and Specs|
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