The idea of a sporty SUV or crossover has always struck us odd. The unholy collection of a high ride and high-speed gives us terrifying images. Despite our distaste for the creations, there have been a few models that stood out from the crowd. The Infiniti FX35 was one of these stand outs. With its bones based on the G series cars, it felt more high-riding sports car than over powered SUV. It had some kinks in the armor though thanks to its engine. The VQ35 is a potent mill, but always felt a bit too sluggish and harsh for the luxury leaning of the FX. Infiniti claims that has now changed with the 2013 Infiniti FX37. Powered by the newer more powerful 3.7-liter V6, the newest FX promises to best its predecessor in nearly every way.
Aside from the new engine, an advanced Moving Object Detection system is the only change for 2013. The FX received a refresh last year. If you need a refresher course, the newest FX rides on a slightly longer wheelbase than its predecessor and features a more refined design that is evolutionary of the second generation model. Our model, with its Iridium Blue paint is quite the stunner, especially with the large 20-inch wheels at all four corners. We have always been fans of the majority of Infiniti design, but the FX is easily one of our favorites. From the inside those large fenders and long hood stretch out from the windshield and provide a feeling of power and expansiveness. We are far too tired of short hoods, or drop-off angles that prevent us from seeing the nose of a vehicle.
The interior of the FX37 is nothing short of magic. Our tester was fitted with the Deluxe Touring package which swathed the interior with acres of quilted black leather and flamed maple interior trim. The flamed maple may be a far stretch from the quilted wood grain used in many luxury interiors, but Infiniti is not any luxury brand. The unique vertical graining and sunburst style color made us feel like rock stars and garnered compliments from everyone who saw it. The front thrones came with heating and cooling to match the high-end nature of the quilted leather. All of this luxury does not come cheap, our tester carries sticker of more than $55,000.
There are a few features that we wish Infiniti had left in the showroom floor, like the rear tonneau cover. This piece of incomprehensible garbage comes as part of the Deluxe Touring package that gave us that beautiful woodwork. Unlike the sexy wood that we love, we want nothing more than to set this cargo cover on fire. Unlike every other cargo cover, parcel shelf, or tonneau cover we have ever used this does not simply lift out or fold out of the way. It is a convoluted system of folds and clips that keep it in place and it is nearly impossible to remove. There are instructions, but they are printed on the underside near the rear seats. It is also printed upside down. Based on the scratches and scuffs around the cover mounting points, it is easy to see that we are not the first to struggle with this demonic contraption.
Once the cover has been removed, you are greeted with a vastness that will swallow nearly any cargo you may have. If you need more space, the rear seats are easily folded with the handles on the seats; there are also redundant fold handles in the rear cargo area to make the task easier. When folded you are presented with a nearly flat load floor and 62 cubic feet of cargo space.
None of that really matters though. The soul of the FX37 is the new engine and the driving dynamics. Does the new 3.7-liter V6 and rear wheel drive chassis give this crossover the proper level of “sport”? In short, yes. We always felt the old 3.5 liter was too rough and coarse for a luxury application, and while the 3.7 still displays some of those features, they are far lessened. The 3.7 liter also feels better than the 3.5 in its power delivery. Luxury vehicles should not launch or scramble, they should push. When you step on the accelerator you are met with a gentle touch of torque as the FX37 accelerates. There is no drama, just a purposeful surge of speed.
Thanks to rear drive platform, handling and steering feel are excellent as well. Gone is the numbness that is present in the AWD. The wheel is speed sensitive but never felt over boosted; instead it tended to lean toward the heavier side. If we had one complaint about the drivetrain, it would be the seven speed automatic transmission. While it is supremely smooth in drive, but when in the select shift mode it is very slow to respond to commands. This meant you had to preemptively shift to keep from banging into the rev limiter. There are a few redeeming features though, as the transmission will happily bang into that limiter for as long as you wish, so at least it doesn’t override your gear choice.
When the FX37 rolled into our drive, we were fully prepared to experience a mild refresh of a crossover that was no better than the model it replaced. We were pleasantly surprised to experience the difference a bit more displacement and some refinement could deliver. It only took a few miles to fall in love with the FX37, and we were more than a little sad to see it go. We still hold that sports SUVs make no sense, but sometimes those are the most fun and memorable.