When you look at the FX45, do you think ĎBionic Cheetahí? No, itís not the name of your old Strombecker slot car, itís the concept that Nissanís designers used to inspire the FX45ís cats-eye headlamps and powerful rear haunches. Designed in Japan and engineered primarily for the North American market, the FX45 is Infinitiís entry into the premium crossover segment." />

Issue: Mar 2003


Product in Brief -- 2003 Infiniti FX45



Infinitiís ĎBionic Cheetahí Chases Porsches and BMWs

by John Peter

The Basics

When you look at the FX45, do you think ĎBionic Cheetahí? No, itís not the name of your old Strombecker slot car, itís the concept that Nissanís designers used to inspire the FX45ís cats-eye headlamps and powerful rear haunches. Designed in Japan and engineered primarily for the North American market, the FX45 is Infinitiís entry into the premium crossover segment. According to Infiniti, the premium crossover segment is one of the fastest growing segments in the market. The forecast for 2002 was approximately 240,000 vehicles and that could double by 2006.

Manufacturing
Underneath its skin, FX45 shares the same platform that brought us the G35 and 350Z. The FM platformís rigidity was improved by increasing the plate thickness of the front side members, inner sills and rear inner fenders. Reinforced strut housings were added to transfer loads from the font struts to the front side members. The FX45 is built at the Shatai, Japan, plant, the same plant that produced Z cars all the way back to the 240Z. FX45 utilizes several modules. The front end module is supplied by Calsonic Kansei and includes the radiator, headlamps and cooling system. The body-color rear hatch is made of steel reinforced composite and is assembled and painted separately from the vehicle. The module is then sequenced into the assembly process.

Details
The all-wheel-drive FX45ís 4.5L 315 hp V-8 is based on the Q45 powerplant. FX45 shares its rear suspension with G35 but uses a strut-type front suspension for added ruggedness. FX45 sits well off the ground on 20-inch 8-spoke aluminum alloy wheels wrapped in 265/50R20 all-season tires. Infinitiís all-wheel-drive system functions like a rear-drive system under normal driving conditions. Power is transferred to the front wheels (up to a 50/50 split) if either rear wheel starts to slip.

What we think
Nissanís FX45 can easily play in the same sandbox with the Porsche Cayenne. In my opinion, it wins the beauty contest and at $44,225 MSRP itís a better value than the $56,000 Cayenne. But are there really 30,000 40-something, rock-crazed mid-life crises out there?

They havenít missed one yet.





2003 Infiniti FX45
What is it? An AWD, 315 hp V-8-powered premium crossover SUV.
Whoís it for? The 40-something individualist whoís looking for an exciting and unique vehicle.
Whereís it built? Nissan Shatai Co., Ltd., Kanagawa, Japan
Competitors: Acura MDX, BMW X5, Porsche Cayenne
Sales target: 30,000 +

Supplier Involvement
Auto Rib: Side curtain and side airbags
Bose: Audio system
Calsonic Kansei: Exhaust system, IP, Analog clock
Central Glass: Glass
Dunlop/Goodyear: Tires
Ichikoh Industries: Headlamps
Kayaba Industry: Front strut and spring, Shock absorbers
Mitsubishi Steel Mfg.: Springs
Murakami: Mirrors
Nihon Plast: Steering wheel
Takata: Airbags
Tachi-S: Seats
UBE Automotive: Wheels
UNIPRES Japan: Fuel tank
Unisia Jecs: Power steering pump
Yorozo: Front suspension sub frame







 
The sports car-influenced interior is functional without being over-the-top. The multi-function touch screen is also used for the optional DVD-based navigation system and the five-speed automatic has a manual shift mode. Gear changes are very smooth.



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