2009 Infiniti FX50 Long-Term Road Test

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2009 Infiniti FX50: It Grows On You

December 04, 2009

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I'm the first to admit that the FX is a slightly silly vehicle. Too small to be a utility vehicle and too big to feel truly sporty, it's one of those crossovers that seemingly has no business case.

Then I drive it and like it which makes me think Infiniti is on the something. If I had some money to spend and wanted something fast, luxurious and completely different compared to the BMW and Mercedes sedans already crowding the office parking lot, the FX might make my list.

There's the still the issue of ride quality, which is not good, and the almost comical cargo capacity. Then again, it can rip freeway on ramps as well, or better, than many sedans and the V8 barely seems to notice the substantial weight. Looks pretty cool too in my book.

Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor, Edmunds.com @ 26,678 miles

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2009 Infiniti FX50: Road Trip Day 2 -- Canyon Country

September 02, 2009

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From the Bryce Canyon region, Route 89 snakes south to Kanab, Utah, where you can either continue east on 89 to Page, Arizona, or take the southerly 89A until it rejoins 89 in Bitter Springs. If you're ever in the area, set aside half a day and do the entire loop. You'll be so busy staring slack-jawed out the window that the time commitment will seem utterly inconsequential.

In between photographic pit stops, I decided to stretch the Infiniti's legs a little on this closed course of sorts, emboldened by the Escort 9500 that I'd serendipitously discovered in the console bin the night before. First logbook comment: "Seventh gear is for the autobahn." Think about how hard your car's working at 97 mph, and now consider that it takes the Infiniti that long to hit 3,000 rpm. I can't think of a taller Japanese cruising gear off the top of my head.

Antelope Canyon (right) was on the itinerary as well, and as dusk approached I made a mad dash for the Grand Canyon's North Rim, which included an impromptu handling test along the winding five-mile road to Point Imperial. More notes and pics below.

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2009 Infiniti FX50: Not Much Wheel Travel

August 19, 2009

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Okay, so only a fool would take an Infiniti FX50 with its 21-inch summer tires off-roading, but does the hilly parking lot at Laguna Seca count? Hey, its got four-wheel drive don't it?

Well, obviously suspension droop wasn't a priority during the FX's design process, but approach and departure angles must have been. Believe it or not, I pulled this boneheaded move without so much as touching a body panel to the Earth. No scraping of the front airdam or the tailpipes.

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2009 Infiniti FX50: 7 Things I Learned in Monterey

August 18, 2009

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This past weekend our long-term Infiniti FX50 and I spent 800 miles together. Most of it (600+ miles) was highway running from Santa Monica up to Monterey and back. The rest was city driving in and around the Carmel Valley and Monterey Peninsula, including several trips to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

Spend that much time in a car you're bound to learn a few things about the machine. I learned 7 things about the FX50. And here they are.

1) Its seat is extremely comfortable on a long run. After the late night 300+ mile run up to Monterey I emerged from the FX without a single ache. And I hadn't spend a single second of the ride trying to get comfortable.

2) The FX has range. It'll go more than 400 miles on the highway on a single tank. Nice.

3) It feels great at 130 mph and still has some speed left in it. (I learned this thanks to a professional driver who experienced the truck's speed on a closed course.)

4) Its navigation system is one of the best. It's extremely easy to program, its screen is large and well detailed and it never gave us a bum direction all weekend.

5) Its steering is near perfect with just the right weight, ratio and feedback.

6) It's quiet on the highway, which is another reason why you can drive the thing over 300 miles with zero fatigue.

7) The last thing I learned about the FX is that I'm a fan. This is a great vehicle. One I should have appreciated sooner.

Scott Oldham, Edmunds.com Editor in Chief @ 19,791 miles

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2009 Infiniti FX50 AWD: Not Slow

July 30, 2009

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This morning on my way to the office, I was stuck driving behind a police car.

This car was filled with, I surmise, one experienced officer showing off for the ropes to three young recruits. He was deliberately driving a little under the designated speed limit. And they were all laughing and having a jolly old time watching the rest of the cars stay behind them. If the speed limit said 35, they did 32. If it said 30, they drove 25.

I'm sure it was a barrel of laughs for them.

Anywho, my point is, it's very difficult to maintain only 25 mph in the 2009 Infiniti FX50. With 390 horsepower, 369 lb-ft of torque and a zero-to-60 time of 5.5 seconds, the Infiniti FX50 wants to rush forward at every opportunity. It's like trying to walk a lion on a leash.

Are modern vehicles getting too fast and powerful for city streets?

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2009 Infiniti FX50 AWD: Commute Switch

July 27, 2009

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There are times when the 2009 Infiniti FX50's six-speed automatic transmission thinks too much. Like when you're driving to work, for example.

Creeping along in the morning traffic accordian, the six-speed transmission is trying too hard to give you that sporty respoinse thing, cycling quickly between gears and optimizing things for sharp throttle response. The trouble is, you can feel the transmission thinking (albeit quickly) and the result always seems too much throttle that arrives a little too late. The FX is just a little too eager to burst out of the starting blocks, especially when you've got the back end of a cement truck in front of you.

Sometimes you want just simple smoothness. So sometimes I'll engage the snow programming and then the FX makes getaways in second gear and the throttle rsponse is a little slower. When it comes to commuting, a little less thinking by the transmission and throttle equals a little more smoothness.

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor @ 17,460 miles

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2009 Infiniti FX50: Can't Hold Its Horses

July 23, 2009

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It's not like I haven't driven our 2009 Infinti FX50 before. I have plenty. Yet every time we reconnect, it first feels like I'm trying to reign in a couple of fiesty bucking broncos.

Barely tap into the FX's 5.0-liter V8, and the curvy SUV's tall, horsehead-like fender flares bob and snort as you grab the leather-wrapped steering wheel for dear life.

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2009 Infiniti FX50 AWD: The Drumbeat of Performance

July 02, 2009

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Got to love the 21-inch tires on our FX50 AWD, right? The 265/45R21 Bridgestone Duelers help the FX deliver on its hot-rod promise, something to give it the wild look that everyone always liked about the 2002 BMW X5 4.6is. Makes the FX look like a lunar rover powered by a NASCAR engine. Which is a worthwhile thing, actually.

Trouble is, when you're driving along, these tires boom like four big drums against every seam in the road. It'll drive you crazy on any stretch of concrete slabs. And not just like a drum, because they really are drums, resounding with every impact. Sounds like someone slapping a truck inner tube with a stick. Not that there are so many truck inner tubes around anymore, nor kids to play with them in backyard swimming pools.

Good thing the Infiniti FX50 has a good audio system to keep you from noticing. But this is a thing at Nissan, a tendency to let some egregious flaw make it through into production as long as the behavior is masked by something else. Like the weak fresh-air intake into the FX50 because it's assumed the air-conditioning will be running the whole time anyway.

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor @ 15,250 miles

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2009 Infiniti FX50: Sexy Beast

June 08, 2009

I know a lot of folks aren't really that into the looks of our FX. It's got big ol' wagon wheel sized rims, a funky face reminiscent of a catfish, bad visibility and terrible gas mileage. But I think for a lot of folks that's the point.

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Well, maybe not for the terrible gas mileage, but the power and grunt you get out of that engine is worth it. That's is if you don't mind paying for it. I know I greatly appreciated it for the old Interstate 110 full stop highway entrances when there is a lot of fast moving traffic. An open space, a mash of the pedal and this thing roars to life.

It's luxury interior appointments let you know you're riding in style. You think it's got an ugly face? The Susan Boyle of the automotive world? It doesn't look like much else out there and that's a good thing in the Civic, Prius, and Camry crowded highways of Los Angeles.

I'm giving our FX50 two big thumbs up. Yay! for fuggly!

Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer @ 14,582 miles

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2009 Infiniti FX50 AWD: Stopping Power

April 19, 2009

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When we track-tested our 2009 Infiniti FX50, its four-wheel ventilated disc brakes and performance Dunlops brought the car down from 60 mph in 117 feet.

That's pretty impressive for a vehicle that weighs more than 4,600 pounds.

And the stopping was consistent. Here's this from our testing team: "Solid, fade-free and confident from 1st to last stop. And it's a good thing given this SUV's motor."

Our Infiniti FX50 with the optional sport package is car of the week.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2009 Infiniti FX50 vs. 2008 BMW X5

February 10, 2009

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I'm going to go out on a limb here; our long-term 2009 Infiniti FX50 is the quickest factory bone-stock SUV we've ever tested. In recent testing it hit 60 mph in 5.5 seconds (5.3 seconds with one foot of rollout like on a dragstrip) and covered the quarter mile in 13.7 at 101.5 mph. Impressive.

Around town, the Infiniti is mellowed by a sluggish throttle tip in, but lay into it and hold on. That big 5.0-liter under the hood really pulls, and it relines at a four-cylinder like 6800 rpm.

But this blog post is not about the FX50's thrust, it's about its other abilities. Which are also impressive; 60 - 0 stopping distance of 117 ft., 63.3 mph in the slalom and .82g around our skidpad. As far as SUVs go, this thing is a hot rod.

Still, I was expecting more.

It's on huge 21-inch summer tires for Pete's sake. Dunlops. SP Sport 01. 265/45R21 front and rear. That's quite a bit of contact patch. Far more rubber than our long-term BMW X5 wears. It rides on all-season Michelins. Latitudes. 255/50R19 front and rear.

Yet, the BMW nearly matches the Infiniti's dynamic performance. It stops from 60 mph in 123 ft., covers the slalom at 62.9 mph and circles the skidpad at the same .82g. Sure the FX50 smokes it in a straight line, but with more aggressive rubber the BMW would certainly stop and handle better.

Oh, you want proof. Then check out our recent road test of a 2008 BMW X6. That truck wore the optional meats. Huge all-season Dunlops. SP Sport Max. 275/40R20 front and 315/30R20 rear. And it smoked the Infiniti in every dynamic track test except acceleration. It stopped from 60 mph in just 111 ft., blasted through the slalom at 65.3 mph and circled the skidpad at .87g.

So are the Infiniti's dynamics disappointing or are the BMWs abilities so redamndiculous that this entire blog post is worthless?

Scott Oldham, Edmunds.com Editor in Chief

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2009 Infiniti FX50 AWD: Track Testing

February 06, 2009

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(photo by Scott Jacobs)

Vehicle: 2009 Infiniti FX50 AWD

Odometer: 1,362
Date: 12/09/08

Specifications:

Drive Type: All Wheel drive

Transmission Type: 7-speed Automatic
Engine Type: V8
Displacement (cc / cu-in): 5026cc (307cu-in)
Redline (rpm): 6,800
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 390 @ 6500
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 369 @ 4400
Brake Type (front): ventilated disc
Brake Type (rear): ventilated disc
Steering System: speed-proportional power steering
Suspension Type (front): double wishbone
Suspension Type (rear): multi-link
Tire Size (front): 265/45R21 (104W)
Tire Size (rear): 265/45R21 (104W)
Tire Brand: Dunlop
Tire Model: SP Sport 01
Tire Type: performance
Wheel Size: 21 X 9.5 front - 21 X 9.5 rear
Wheel Material (front/rear): alloy
As tested Curb Weight (lb): 4,621

Test Results:

0 - 30 (sec): 2.1
0 - 45 (sec): 3.6
0 - 60 (sec): 5.5
0 - 75 (sec): 7.9
1/4 Mile (sec @ mph): 13.7 @ 101.5
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 5.3

Acceleration Rating: Very Good


30 - 0 (ft): 30
60 - 0 (ft): 117
Braking Rating: Very Good
Slalom (mph): 63.3
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g): .82
Handling Rating: Very Good
Db @ Idle: N/A
Db @ Full Throttle: N/A
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: N/A

Acceleration Comments: This is one quick SUV. however, much like VQ35/37 this V8 isn't quiet or smooth @ high RPM. Still with a rush of accel like this, who cares.

Braking Comments: Solid, fade-free and confident from 1st to last stop. And it's a good thing given this SUV's motor.

Handling Comments: (With VSC off, the FX50 was good around the skidpad until the limits are approached. Then, the AWD system begins doing something that requires both throttle and steering input to maintain a smooth arc.

In the slalom, the FX50 is one of those rare AWD vehicle that reponds well to aggressive input (steering and throttle). Eventually over-steer becomes limiting factor. Quick turn-in and yaw response. A little hard to learn and trust, but it works. 4,600-lbs?! Really? Doesn't feel like it. .

Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant

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2009 Infiniti FX50 AWD: The New "Five-Oh" V8

January 14, 2009

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Remember the 5-liter Mustang? I remember growing up in the mid-1980s and being impressed by the 1987 Mustang GT's then-heady output of 225 horsepower.

And hey, our long-term FX50 has a 5.0-liter V8, too. But now we have 390 horsepower, 369 pound-feet of torque and a redline close to 7,000 rpm. In a crossover SUV, no less.

Plus, the FX50 meets Bin5 (LEVII) for federal tailpipe emissions standards. On this historical EPA emissions guide, it looks like Bin5 is limited to 0.07 grams per mile for NOx tailpipe emissions and 0.01 for particulate matter. For a 1987 (Tier 0) Mustang, the emissions standards were 1.0 for NOx and 0.2 for PM. These numbers are just standards, but they give you an idea about how much cleaner cars are today.

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