Cars Worth Noting -- 2004 Infiniti FX35
We weren’t fast enough. By the time we reached the line of shiny new Infiniti FXs, parked out in front of our Palm Springs, Calif. hotel, the V-8-powered FX45s were all gone. We had our choice of two V-6-powered FX35s and our passenger, Chief Product Specialist Eijiro Fukai smiled and said that we’d like the V-6 version. “It is better balanced.”
He was right.
If your heart’s set on racing old guys in old Jags on Indian Canyon Drive, then you might need the V-8. But if you’re flying through the twisty mountain roads that surround the city, the 280 hp V-6 is more than adequate.
Our FX35 was equipped with Infiniti’s ATTESSA all-wheel-drive system. The system allows the vehicle to perform like a rear-drive car, delivering power to the front wheels only when necessary for traction. Driving into a corner the torque distribution is almost 100 percent to the rear wheels. If the system senses any rear wheel slippage, torque is transferred to the front wheels (maximum 50/50 split), allowing for better acceleration out of the corner.
Handling is not the first word that comes to mind as you gaze upon this somewhat awkward looking vehicle, sitting high up on its 18- inch wheels and tires. But surprisingly, our tall sports car’ performed like a short one, as we pushed it through the switchbacks, shifting the five-speed automatic in manual shift mode with the smoothest of gear changes.
The car held firm in the corners with no body roll and at some 200 pounds lighter than its big brother (which we drove later), it was better balanced.