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—Lake Orion, Michigan
The Infinti FX is quite a favorite here in the Winding Road offices. It’s the rare luxury crossover that is fun to drive, featuring responsive and engaging controls, a fair amount of feedback balanced between the steering and the chassis, and a cockpit that encourages the driver to focus on driving.
It used to be, though, that if you wanted a fun FX, you needed to opt for the FX50, as its 5.0-liter V-8 was a great fit for sporty CUV. With 390 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque, the 5.0 was a brute of an engine. But with a starting price north of $60,000 ($61,500 for a 2013 model), it was quite pricey.
The base V-6, meanwhile, was rather overlooked. It pumped out a respectable 303 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. And with a redline that sat at 7500 rpm, it was a bit of a screamer. In practice, though, it just didn’t deliver the satisfying grunt of the V-8.
For 2013, the 3.5-liter V-6 of the 2012 FX has been replaced by the same 3.7-liter that’s populated the rest of the Nissan/Infiniti range. Power is up to 325 ponies while torque receives a more modest increase to 267 pound-feet of torque. The redline remains at 7500 rpm, while the seven-speed automatic is also a carryover from the 2012 FX.
While it could be merely the placebo effect, the FX’s new engine sounded better, and was even more willing to rev than 3.5-liter. Really, this is a fun vehicle to run up to redline. We’d have liked a pair of paddles to snap off an upshift, but for reasons that are only obvious to Infiniti, only the FX50 can be had with Infiniti’s excellent magnesium paddle shifters. Low- and mid-range thrust is slightly better, while high-end shove is still lacking. A faster-revving engine is something we can always get behind, as it really adds to the car’s overall character.
Character is a big part of the FX experience. Where the FX50 seems to be straining against its leash, its 5.0-liter V-8 taunting you to dig the pedal into the carpet, the FX37 is more relaxed while still offering the ability to wind things out a bit. It’s this combination of actual performance balanced with a relaxed character that elevates the V-6-powered FX from the budget option to a legitimate alternative to the V-8.