Sebastian Vettel is a Nissan-backed, factory racing driver and is currently the reigning Formula One Champion. Not too long ago, Vettel and Shiro Nakamura, Infiniti’s Chief Creative Officer, began a discussion about building the ultimate all-purpose vehicle. These talks have turned into an actual creation as Infiniti released one of its fastest vehicles yet and a truly unique crossover at the Frankfurt International Motor Show: the FX Sebastian Vettel edition.
Vettel set a goal for Infiniti: get an FX crossover to hit 300 kilometers per hour (186 mph). The racing champ put in a lot of personal input into the build and is proud to have his name on the vehicle. “This is the first road car I have helped develop. Usually I have hundreds of engineers building one car just for me. So it is fantastic for me to contribute to the design of a car. The result is an Infiniti I am very proud to have my name on. It is all I hoped for: 300km/h, plenty of downforce – and I can still fit my mountain bike in the back. Plus it is totally exclusive – and as an Infiniti driver, that’s important,” said Vettel.
To get a large crossover to hit 300 km/h, important changes had to be made. First was more power. Based on the flagship FX50S Premium, the Vettel edition now makes 414 horsepower from its 5.0 liter DOHC naturally aspirated V8 compared to 385 horsepower for the factory engine. Basic ‘bolt-ons’ were all that was needed to make the jump in power: a lighter weight, free flowing exhaust system and a retuned ECU. Once the engine was taken care of and the speed limiter was removed, a longer final drive ratio was installed. This is a big player in the 300km/h cruising speed that the Vettel FX is capable of and doesn’t hinder acceleration too much. 62 mph comes up in just 5.6 seconds thanks to Infiniti’s all wheel drive system.
Vettel would never be satisfied with just straight line speed so his FX receieve plenty of handling treatment. Lowering springs make the Vettel FX 20mm lower than the standard vehicle and exclusive, 21 inch wheels help the entire crossover weigh 46 kilograms (101 lbs) less than the factory. Standard Dual Flow Dampers with continuous damping control are featured as well as four piston front and two rear brake calipers. To make such a large vehicle aerodynamically stable at such high speeds, the Vettel FX has a 30 percent improvement in coefficient of lift and a five percent lower cefficient of drag. A new front splitter, grille, mirror covers and rear diffuser were all made out of carbon fiber and give the FX a much more aggressive and lower stance.
“We are always keen to listen to what our customers have to say about our cars, whoever they are. Equally we are always keen to show how individual our cars are, and how personalization can subtly alter their character. Making the perfect FX for Sebastian was the ideal demonstration of this,” said Shiro Nakamura.