- We like...Looks, power
- We don't...Lack of cabin space
Big off-roader from new Japan-based luxury brand looks different. It's fast, and agile, too. But should you buy one? Grrr indeed: this gruff looking monster is currently Infiniti’s top seller in Europe. It certainly looks striking and an appearance like that will divide opinions. Love it or hate it, you’ll not mistake it for anything else.
With a price the high side of £50,000 it’ll jostle for buyers with Land Rover’s just-revamped Discovery 4 and its close relative, the Range Rover Sport. But while lacking as it ds a diesel-engined option, sales will be restricted. To say nothing of the fact that – at time of writing – there’s just one UK Infiniti dealership, in Reading, Berkshire. Others should open in Birmingham and Glasgow by summer 2010.
Step inside; it is as individual as it is out. Despite the slicked back styling you sit high and the cabin has all the wood and leather you’d expect in such an upmarket ‘cufflink carriage’, although the maple inlay and some of the details are evidently styled for Japanese tastes: they’re fussy and overworked. That said, the seats hold you well and the cabin feels airy although in truth it’s not very big. It is, however, packed with equipment: on this model you’ll find cruise control that adjusts itself to keep a safe distance from the car ahead, rear-wheel steering, and intelligent brake assist, along with 10GB storage for your music, ‘self-healing’ paint and adaptive headlamps. Tot everything up on paper and it looks to be strong value.
Once rolling, it’s clear that it’s very quick: no surprise given the 5.0-litre petrol V8 pushing 384bhp through its seven-speed auto and through its tyres. Fearsomely swift, actually, given its two-tonne weight. Its moderately quick steering and good body control means that it can be driven with zest but the payback comes in the ride, which allows more jolts to reach the cabin than it should. The suspension sounds off now and then, too. The engine is muted until you extend it, when it’ll make a suitably deep-chested, beefy sound. And at speed you’ll hear roar from its tyres, though wind noise isn’t an issue.
Should you buy one? If driving something that pretty much no-one else has matters most, it’ll be just right. More practically, its 21.6mpg thirst and 307k/km CO2 emissions output will scratch it from the lists of many. And, for now, there’s the lack of a dealer network although Infiniti says that anyone who buys from its sole (for now) UK outlet will get free pick-up and return for annual servicing within a 150-mile radius. What’s more, Infiniti’s ambition is to have 13 UK dealers operating within two years.
The FX50 is intriguing and not without appeal. But while Infiniti is established and revered in its native Japan, it’s still scarcely known here. It's an expensive way to dare to be different.
- Engines5.0 V8 petrol
- 0-60 mph5.8secs
- Insurance groups20
Motors.co.uk value verdict: