The Infiniti FX tested

Infiniti might be almost unknown in England, but will a new diesel engine throw the luxury manufacturer into the spotlight?

The Infiniti FX tested

Infiniti might be almost unknown in England, but will a new diesel engine throw the luxury manufacturer into the spotlight?

Unless you spent your childhood roaring around the world’s racetracks in impossibly exotic machinery courtesy of Gran Turismo, you’ve possibly never heard of Infiniti.

Common in America and Japan, Infiniti is to Nissan what Lexus is to Toyota – a luxury sporting division of long-term purveyors of sensible and reliable motoring. Only on sale in Europe since 2008 they’re still not a common sight on our roads, but that could be all set to change with this car – the FX30d.

The important part of that charmingly romance-free designation is the ‘d’. It stands for diesel and Infiniti hopes it’s a golden ticket to UK sales success.

You see, the FX isn’t a brand-new car. Trouble is, to establish its sporting credentials it was launched only with two preposterously large petrol engines. Consequently, with fuels costs trending upwards at the sort of trajectory that would push your spleen out of your feet, and a UK market in love with fuel-efficient diesel sippers, few were sold.

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Now Infiniti has seen fit to shoehorn a diesel engine into the FX’s shapely curves, it’s a real world contender in the German-dominated SUV/soft roader market.

Shapely curves isn’t wrong, either. Described as ‘a sports car at heart’, the FX is a welcome break from conservatively styled rivals, and goes a long way to putting the ‘sport’ into SUV. I’d happily suggest it’s better looking that any other car in its sector, but it’s going to take more than a sleek and stylish metal skin to win buyers over.

Which is why there’s a new engine, marking something of a departure for Infiniti. Not tempted to throw any old diesel engine into the FX30d, Infiniti has fitted an impressively light, refined and sophisticated powerplant of which it’s quietly proud. The 3.0-litre turbodiesel V6 has a block made from lightweight graphite iron, and firing it up reveals the reason for the company’s pride. It’s incredibly refined. Honestly – go and drive one. At idle it’s as good as silent and when you move off, the 235bhp gives you a silent but urgent shove in the back. 0-60mph takes 8.3 sec and such is the fluidity of progress, you’ll hardly notice the seven-speed auto gearbox working away under you.

Chuck the FX into some bends and you won’t be disappointed either. Handling is tidy from the four-wheel steering system and body roll well-checked, but the hard ride does let the experience down somewhat, due in no small part to the large wheel-and-tyre combinations offered.

A generous sprinkling of standard toys inside will further sweeten the deal for potential buyers, too. Tyre pressure sensors, six airbags, seven speaker audio system, Bluetooth audio streaming with mobile connectivity, a rear view camera and powered, heated memory seats are all luxuries that come as standard, making rivals look positively mean.

Integrated into a smart and luxurious interior, some owners will lament the small boot and lack of a seven-seat option, but it’s low driving position and tailored feel make it a proper alternative to a sports saloon.

So should you buy one? �45,000 for a virtually unknown badge seems like a lot of money when that cash could buy you similar machinery from Porsche, BMW, Land Rover, Volkswagen and Audi. But the Infiniti’s rarity makes it more exclusive than any of these, it’s undeniably luxurious without being ostentatious, the dealers will treat you like royalty and it was built by the company that wrote the book on reliability.



Price: from �45,150

Performance: 0-60: 8.3sec, 132mph

Economy: Expect low 30s

CO2: 238g/km

Engine: 3.0litre turbodiesel V6

Gearbox: Seven-speed auto

Contact details: Tel: 0203