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CAR OF THE MONTH August 2009

2009 Infiniti FX50 AWD Review

Go-Getting Gizmo

A three-quarter front view of a 2009 Infiniti FX50 AWD

In short: A sexy, powerful and techno-savvy luxury crossover.

he aggressively designed FX50, akin to the BMW X6, evokes a crouching mountain lion ready to snatch her prey while simultaneously retaining the graceful bearing of a house cat. Along with its ready-to-strike stance, Infiniti’s all-new and fashionable mid-size crossover flaunts muscular lines, a sloping roof, an integrated rear spoiler and 21-inch aluminum-alloy wheels. Matching the premium utility vehicle’s polished and masculine exterior is a monster 390-horsepower 5.0-liter V8 engine married to a seven-speed automatic transmission with standard magnesium paddle shifters. No, the fuel economy is nothing to brag about, but this automobile is fun to drive and can keep on par with some real racing coupes with its impressive 5.7-second 0-60 mph acceleration time. On the road, our tester—equipped with an intelligent all-wheel drive and vehicle dynamic and traction controls—felt like an elevated sports sedan with its responsive handling. However, on uneven surfaces the FX50 is a rough rider, something an available Continuous Damping Control system helps by electronically moderating the shock absorbers.

An interior view of the 2009 Infiniti FX50 AWD A view of the V8 engine on the 2009 Infiniti FX50 AWD

Needless to say, it is not meant for going off-road, and given the five-passenger automobile’s maximum 62 cubic feet cargo area, it is not meant for utility either. Instead, it’s intended for entertainment and comfortable cruising. The crossover’s modern cabin boasts quality components, such as a hand-stained maple wood trim and quilted leather-appointed seats—the front ones are eight-way power adjustable and climate-controlled. The command center-styled cockpit features white/violet electroluminescent gauges, steering wheel-mounted cruise and audio controls, a Bluetooth hands-free phone system and a HomeLink universal transceiver. Standard to the FX50 is a powered moonroof, electric liftgate closure assist, and 300-watt eleven-speaker XM satellite radio-capable Bose audio system with two subwoofers. The pricy luxury wagon also comes equipped with a navigation system (with an eight-inch display screen and 9.3-GB music box hard drive) and an Around View Monitor, which uses four small superwide-angle cameras to project a bird’s eye-view of the car, helping to reduce blind spots when parking. Auto-leveling headlights, sport-style front seats, intelligent brake assist with forward collision warning, a lane departure warning and prevention system, pre-crash seat belts, intelligent cruise control (full speed range), distance control assist and a DVD player with a nine-inch roof-mounted LCD screen are all optional.

A three-quarter rear view of a 2009 Infiniti FX50 AWD

Warranty/Service: 4-year/60,000-mile basic warranty; 6-year/70,000-mile powertrain warranty; 7-year/unlimited-mile corrosion warranty.

Base Price: $56,700 / As tested: $65,816

Technical Specifications

Vehicle type: front engine, all-wheel drive, 5-passenger, 4-door crossover

Engine: 5.0-liter, 32-valve DOHC V8 with VVEL (variable valve event and lift system)
Horsepower: 390-horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
Torque: 369 lb-ft @ 4,400 rpm
Transmission: 7-speed electronically controlled automatic overdrive with manual shift mode and adaptive shift control

Curb weight:
4,575 lbs
Wheelbase: 113.6 in
Length/Width/Height: 191.3/75.9/66.1 in
Turning circle: 36.7 ft

all-wheel vented disc with ABS, EBD and brake assist
Suspension: independent double-wishbone in front; independent multi-link in rear; stabilizer bar in front and rear

Traction: traction control system; vehicle dynamic control

0-60 mph: 5.7 seconds
60-0 mph: 126 ft
Top Speed: 155 mph (electronically limited)

EPA City:
14 mpg
EPA Highway: 20 mpg

dual-stage supplemental front airbags with passenger seat occupant classification system; seat-mounted side-impact airbags; roof-mounted curtain airbags; front and rear crumple zones; slide-away brake pedal assembly; break-away rear engine mount; high-strength side-door guard beams; energy-absorbing steering column; tire pressure monitoring system

sporty; exhaust sound

Dislikes: price; rough ride; smallish cargo area


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Text: Stephen Volkamer
Photography: AlphaMedia

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