2009 Infiniti EX35

The Infiniti EX35, with its seductive, coupe-inspired design and luxurious interior, is a preview of the all-new Infiniti EX35 luxury crossover SUV. The EX35 also showcases two innovative systems that are expected to be the first production versions in the world. The AVM system utilizes front, side and rear-mounted cameras to help reduce the blind spots when parking, while the LDP system takes Infiniti’s currently available Lane Departure Warning System into a new dimension of safety by actively using the Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) system to help assist the driver in maintaining lane position if the vehicle inadvertently starts to drift out of the lane.

Like every Infiniti model, the EX35 also emphasizes exhilarating driving performance, combining V6 power, a 5-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive.

The EX35 exterior includes many signature Infiniti touches, including the double-arch grille, large L-shaped headlights with Adaptive Front lighting System (AFS), integrated fog lights, distinctive LED taillights and “dynamic arch” profile. The most striking exterior design element of the EX Concept is its dramatic liquid crystal full-length glass roof panel that is able to change from transparent to translucent via input from a special touch sensor system.

Inside, the EX Concept’s rich, leather-appointed and aluminum-alloy trimmed interior offers plenty of passenger luxury – with deep, supportive seats and an ambient lighting.
Infiniti relentlessly pursues a sporty image as much as Lexus claims to relentlessly pursue, well, you know what. So it surprised us somewhat that Infiniti chose the stodgy ol’ Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance to unveil—officially, anyway—what is arguably its sportiest ute yet: the G35-based EX35 crossover. Think of it as a G35 wagon. Or a mini FX35. We see a spiritual descendant of the 1980 AMC Eagle wagon built upon one of the world’s most prolific and capable platforms and stuffed with a swank interior.

Infiniti calls the EX35 “a fusion of coupe and sport-utility vehicle,” which means, essentially, that it’s a ute you can’t put much stuff inside. Or, as Infiniti might rather we said, it’s a sport-utility that’s heavier on sport than utility—something the big-brother FX35 and FX45 have always have been. And in case you’ve been living under a rock recently, this “sport-uselessity” trend is only poised to continue (next up: the BMW X6).

Another Member of the “FM-ily”

At least the EX35 should be enjoyable to drive. Most of what you’ll find under its curvaceous skin—including its 3.5-liter V-6 and five-speed automatic transmission (with requisite rev-matching on downshifts)—is closely related to the other FM-platform-based Infinitis, the G35 and M35 sedans and the FX35 SUV. In this application, the V-6 makes 290 horsepower. Base models get rear-wheel drive and 17-inch wheels, but all-wheel drive and 18-inch wheels are upgrades we expect many people to make.

Tight, Yet Fashionable Inside

Thanks to its low roofline, the EX35 feels decidedly snug inside compared with competitors like the BMW X3, although the actual interior width is impressive. Materials appear to be on par with the class leaders, and the design is familiar to anyone who has spent a stint inside any of its FM-platform brethren. Infiniti worked hard to lower the cargo floor to enhance practicality, but nonetheless the steeply sloping D-pillar may require you to trade the EX for your neighbor’s buddy’s Explorer for those Saturday afternoon Home Depot splurges.

The EX35 will be available in two trim levels: base and Journey, the latter being the better equipped of the two with standard leather seating, front and rear sonar parking aids, and power folding rear seats. Like other Infinitis, the EX35 will be chock-full of available technology, including a hard-drive-based infotainment system with 11 Bose speakers, adaptive cruise control with predictive braking, an active lane-departure prevention system that uses the stability control system (i.e.: individual brakes) to keep the vehicle in its lane, and our favorite, self-healing paint. Creepy.

Has the Eagle Finally Landed?

In essence, the EX35 is the most carlike SUV yet, not counting the aforementioned AMC Eagle. But whereas the Eagle looked bad and drove worse, the EX35 looks good and promises to drive even better. When it hits showrooms in winter of 2007 with prices starting in the mid $30Ks, we’ll find out if the public believes it’s an idea whose time has finally come, or if it’s an eagle that has not yet landed.

Scribbled on July 15th 2008 in Infiniti, Infiniti EX35
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