With its FX45 crossover, Infiniti sought to combine sports-car performance with sport utility vehicle functionality. The FX45's 4.5-liter V-8 sends 320 horsepower to a five-speed-automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is standard, and the FX45 has a sport-tuned four-wheel-independent suspension.
Nissan's luxury division also produces a similar FX35, which uses a 3.5-liter V-6. The FX35 is listed separately in the cars.com Research section.
For 2006, the grille, front bumper and wheels have been updated. All models add a 300-watt Bose audio system and a RearView Monitor. The 2006 FX45 now features the contents of the previous Premium Package as standard equipment: a sunroof, universal garage door opener and aluminum roof rails. The FX45 also adds a standard Bluetooth-based hands-free phone system.
Flaunting a tapered back end and "taut canopy" greenhouse/pillar design that evades the customary SUV profile, Infiniti's boldly styled crossover has a wide stance, a long hood and a relatively long, 112.2-inch wheelbase. Chrome wheels hold 20-inch tires. Ground clearance is 7.6 inches.
As many as five occupants can fit inside the FX45, which features leather-appointed seats and a wraparound-style cockpit with aluminum accents. The steering wheel and gauges move up and down, and drilled metal pedals are installed. Rear occupants get a 60/40-split, folding bench seat. Cargo volume is 27.4 cubic feet, which expands to 64.5 cubic feet when the rear seat is folded.
A Hands-Free Package with an "intelligent key" is standard. The optional Technology Package includes a 3-D bird-view navigation system, Lane Departure Warning and intelligent cruise control with preview braking. A DVD-based backseat entertainment system with a 7-inch screen is optional.
Under the Hood
The FX45's 4.5-liter V-8 produces 320 hp and 335 pounds-feet of torque; it teams with a five-speed-automatic transmission with manual-shift capability. The all-wheel-drive system starts off with a 50/50 torque split, front to rear. If no slippage is detected while cruising, it begins to send 100 percent of engine power to the rear wheels. The FX45 can tow up to 3,500 pounds when properly equipped.
All-disc antilock brakes, Infiniti's Vehicle Dynamic Control electronic stability system, and side-impact and side curtain-type airbags are standard. A Snow-Mode function can enhance traction in slippery low-speed conditions.
Both the FX45 and its FX35 sibling deliver a road-going experience that comes considerably closer to a sports car than a typical SUV. Each grasps the pavement tenaciously and provides a satisfying ride.
What you get in the FX45 is a healthy helping of fierce power that goes beyond the impressive capabilities of the V-6-powered FX35. The FX45 is solid throughout and has a heavy overall feel, but in a truly satisfying sense.
The available Lane Departure Warning system can discern and analyze lane markings, even in rainy weather. As the FX45's tires reach the marking — whether through driver inattention or drowsiness — the system delivers a series of mild but immediately audible beeps. A dashboard switch can shut off the system.