About them rims... - 2009 Infiniti FX50 AWD Long-Term Road Test

2009 Infiniti FX50 Long-Term Road Test

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2009 Infiniti FX50 AWD: About them rims...

April 22, 2009

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Our long term 2009 Infiniti FX50 AWD rolls on massive Enkei 21 x 8.0-inch 6-spoke aluminum alloy wheels, shod with 265/45WR21 hi-po summer tires. 18- and 20-inch diameters are your other choices.

The 21s look awesome, particularly because of this vehicle's imposing size. Like a lot of guys, I like big wheels. Yes, the ride will suffer due to the short 45-series section height. And the increased unsprung mass will have detrimental effects on acceleration, braking, and handling.

I don't care. They look better.

Infiniti knows that now, and knew that back in 2003 when they beat almost all carmakers in the jumbo factory wheel race when they introduced the original FX.

I was working for a leading carmaker at that time, and we had just purchased a then-new FX35 for extensive benchmark evaluation. Word had spread through the company that the car was sitting in the Human Factors lab.

I came down to the lab to do some work and was met with over a dozen engineers in their 20's drooling over the FX. I stood there dumbfounded. The car certainly was different looking, but attractive enough to provoke that Pavlovian response?

"It's gotta be the rims," I said to myself.

Infiniti was the first (or at least one of the first) carmaker to put on 20" (or larger) factory wheels. If that original FX had just 18" wheels on it (still large in 2003), I doubt it would have elicited that reaction.

Nowadays, you can get subcompacts with 18" wheels, and even the not-a-minivan Toyota Venza is available with 20s. Our visual expectations for wheel size has grown just in the last few years, and you no longer have to go to the aftermarket to fill that need.

Could you imagine what our FX50 would look like on 18s?

I could: like Hell.

Albert Austria, Sr Vehicle Eval Engineer @ 11,870 miles

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  • Full Review
  • Pricing & Specs
  • Road Tests (1)
  • Comparison
  • Long-Term

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