Just as a small car can feel faster than it really is (simply by the nature of its diminutive size and weight), the FX45 masks its acceleration in a large, SUV body. Certainly it feels "quick for an SUV" as soon as you step on the throttle, but getting to 60 mph in 6.53 seconds makes it simply "quick" without any qualifications. With all-wheel drive, traction was never a problem in the FX45, even with VDC turned off. Upshifts are crisp and come at 6,500 rpm, slightly before the 6,700 rpm redline. When placed in manual shift mode the automatic will hold a gear and bounce off the rev limiter at 7,000 rpm rather than upshifting. The engine remains smooth and refined from idle to past redline.
After four braking runs our distances ranged from 109 to 115 feet, with the second shortest distance coming on the last run (proving fade was not an issue). Like acceleration and handling, the FX45 does not stop like an SUV. Front-end dive is minimal and the vehicle remains straight while producing a lot of G-force. It takes a hefty press on the pedal to induce ABS, but overall braking action is progressive and easy to modulate. The actual ABS noise/vibration is about typical for a modern car.
Built on the FM platform, the FX45 feels much like the G35 sedan when navigating the slalom. That's both good and bad. It's good because the steering is quick and body roll is well controlled. It's bad because there is little warning when the tires break free, and the vehicle tends to rotate quicker than expected. Add in the super-sensitive throttle, along with the merely average steering feel, and being smooth through the slalom wasn't easy. Another mitigating factor was the FX45's gearing, which had it nearing the rev-limiter in second gear, but way down on torque in third. I ended up using second gear, but on our faster runs we would hit the rev-limiter as we excited the cones. Despite all of these issues, the FX still averaged an impressive speed for a high profile utility vehicle. Karl Brauer