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2009 Infiniti FX Preview

2009 Infiniti FX Preview

By Jeff Youngs, December 31, 2008
Critical Knowledge:
  • All-new for 2009

  • New 5.0-liter V-8 engine

  • Three different models

  • Seven-speed automatic transmission

  • Continuous Damping Control (CDC) suspension

  • Distance Control Assist (DCA) safety feature

  • On sale in June 2008



Introduction
Infiniti launched the first-generation FX in 2003 with the introduction of the FX45. The innovative 4-door entered an SUV segment crowded with traditional boxy truck-like offerings. The unveiled Infiniti FX looked more like an auto show concept car than a production vehicle. Under the skin, it shared Nissan's FM (Front Midship) platform with the G35 Sedan and G37 Coupe, giving it sports-car like handling, according to the manufacturer. Under the hood, a V-8 engine borrowed from the flagship Q45 sedan gave it the power of a muscle car. Arriving in showrooms, it was joined by the 6-cylinder FX35 model. Over the years, Infiniti updated the FX platform with leading-edge technology such as the first-of-its-kind Lane Departure Warning (LDW) system. In 2006, the FX received a significant facelift on both the interior and exterior. Evolutionary in appearance, the all-new, second-generation Infiniti FX debuted at the 2008 Geneva Motor Show.

Model Lineup
Infiniti is offering three different models of the FX for 2009. The flagship of the model lineup is the 8-cylinder FX50 AWD. The two other models are both powered by a 6-cylinder engine. These are designated the FX35 and FX35 AWD. The smaller powerplant is a slightly detuned version of the 3.5-liter, 306-hp engine found in the Infiniti G35 Sedan. The standard model is rear-wheel drive, with the FX35 AWD all-wheel-drive (AWD) rounding out the lineup.

Hardware
The big news for the 2009 Infiniti FX is the all-new, 32-valve, 390-hp, 5.0-liter V-8 engine under the hood of the FX50. The powerful 8-cylinder model will have a standard full-time AWD powertrain (a variant of Nissan's ATTESA E-TS) coupled to a 7-speed automatic transmission with adaptive shift control and available magnesium paddle shifters. Powering the FX35 is a 24-valve, 303-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 engine. It shares the same 7-speed automatic transmission found in the FX50. The second-generation FX rides on a modified derivative of the FM platform shared with the G35/G37. This new platform rides on a double-wishbone suspension with Continuous Damping Control (CDC) and Rear-Active Steer. The FX35 rides on 18-inch, split 5-spoke wheels with all-season tires; 20-inch wheels are optional. Standard on the FX50 are 21-inch cast super-lightweight aluminum wheels designed by Enkei.

Safety
Infiniti will offer a wide range of standard safety equipment on the new 2009 FX. In addition to standard driver and passenger front air bags, side air bags, and side curtain air bags, the FX is equipped with standard traction control and anti-lock brakes. Customers may also choose Intelligent Brake Assist, which provides forward collision warning and automatic vehicle braking, and Lane Departure Warning/Lane Departure Prevention, a system designed to keep the vehicle on its intended travel path. Distance Control Assist (DCA), a new technology designed to maintain safe vehicle separation, is also available.
Technology
Under development by Nissan for more than two years, the electronic DCA system helps drivers maintain a safe distance between their vehicle and the car in front of them, the automaker explains. Utilizing a radar system mounted in the front bumper of the FX, DCA continuously calculates the speed of both vehicles. If the system determines that braking is required, and the driver is not pressing on the accelerator pedal, DCA will automatically apply the brakes. Simultaneously, the driver will be alerted with both audible and visible indicators. Distance Control Assistant is just one of the innovations Nissan has developed as part of their "Safety Shield" concept. It is part of a current effort to halve the number of fatal and serious injuries involving Nissan vehicles over a 20-year period.
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