It seems like its taken a while to shove the larger corporate V6 into Infiniti’s sporty crossover (Europe has had it for two years), but the wait was worth it. Boasting most of the performance of the FX50 S with frugality of the older 3.5-liter model, the FX37 hits a sweet spot in the burgeoning ranks of five-passenger sports-oriented SUVs.
This version of the venerable VQ-series punches out 325hp and 267lb-ft of twist, enabling the Infiniti to run in the sixes to 60mph and serve up the kind of midrange muscle that was sometimes lacking in the older engine. It also seems the best match yet to the corporate seven-speed gearbox. The ratios seem well chosen—unlike in some of the other Infiniti models—and there’s no undue hunting around the box. The sport and available manual modes with rev-matched downshifts make the most of all the horses in the corral.
And I needed all of them on the 700-mile round trip that I subjected the FX37 to. Originating in Denver, the journey was a dash between storms to deliver another vehicle to a client in the stunningly beautiful town of Telluride, ensconced in the gloriously dramatic San Miguel mountains of southwest Colorado. The route was over some of the state’s best highways and involved miles of arrow-strait running across the high central plateau, many twisty mountain passes and every type of winter weather, from dry and frigid to snow pack and sheet ice.
In most ways the Infiniti was a great companion. Its seats were comfortable for long stints yet supportive when pressed through high-g corners, its driving position fatigue-free, infotainment interface user friendly, and Bose sound system excellent. Visibility was fine, despite the fashionably narrow window line, and the interior’s colors, textures, and materials held up well to the kind of scrutiny that multiple hours in the saddle provide time for.
Dynamically the FX37 was well matched to the terrain. The 3.7-liter was much less harsh when extended to high RPMs—necessary on a regular basis, as altitude ranged from 5,000 to over 10,000 feet—than in other installations of this V6. It rarely felt winded, even when passing at the highest elevations, and actually got its rated fuel economy, a rarity these days.
The Infiniti’s chassis was also a good ally, with enough wheel travel and softness to keep things from becoming too tiring, yet the kind of body control and steering precision needed on the snow- and ice-covered switchbacks of Monarch pass. The FX37’s brakes were also excellent—fade free and with good pedal weighting. The only thing undermining confidence was the fitment of a mediocre all-season set of tires to the snazzy 21” matt-finish wheels. They lacked the kind of reassuring bite one looks for to properly exploit an all-season, AWD vehicle, and slowed progress in the most treacherous sections.
But that accusation can be leveled at many high-end SUVs and crossovers when fitted with their bigger, badder-looking wheels. Owners who regularly run in the snow and ice would be well served to put the FX37 on a set of dedicated winter tires. In most every other area the Infiniti was a faithful, fun companion, not to mention a very stylish one.
Fuel economy: 16/22; 18mpg combined
Price as tested: $53,700
Here is what Infiniti has to say about the FX37.