The 2007 Infiniti FX45's futuristic exterior houses a wealth of entertainment and communication tech in the cabin. Its car-based platform and brawny V-8 give it admirable performance, but you'll pay for it at the pump.
Fortunately, Infiniti does away with the twiddly joystick control that Nissan uses in its cars, relying instead on a collection of buttons and a rotary dial as the main interface. We particularly like the inclusion of the "Voice" button on the dial for calling up voice guidance on demand and the "Where am I" function in the Route menu, which gives information on current location by giving distances to previous and upcoming roads.
The interior of the Infiniti FX45 is a mixture of classic fixtures and trim (rosewood trim and leather seats) and flowing, ergonomic design that keeps with the car's exterior. Forward visibility is excellent, as the cowl sits relatively low, giving the driver good sight lines over the FX45's wavy hood.
As part of its $4,200 Technology Package, the FX45 comes with a Lane Departure Warning (LDW) system. LDW works by mounting two range-finding CMOS cameras, which constantly monitor road markings, on the underside of each of the car's wing mirrors. If the car starts to change lanes by drifting over a lane dividing line, a light turns on in the instrument cluster, and a chime sounds in the cabin to let the driver know. On the FX45, the system only kicks in when the car is traveling at more than 45mph and is overridden if the turn signal is activated as the driver has declared an intention to change lanes. It can also be turned off with a button (second from left in picture) near the driver's left knee.
The 2007 FX45 comes with a 300-watt Bose audio system, which makes itself heard through 11-speakers around the cabin. The standard audio deck is a six-disc in-dash changer that will play MP3 and WMA discs as well as regular CDs. For MP3 and WMA tracks, the system displays full ID3 tag information (press the Display hard button), although, there appears to be no way of browsing files without skipping through tracks.
As its name suggests, the FX45 boasts Infiniti's 4.5-liter V-8 engine, making 320 horsepower and a stout 335 foot pounds of torque. These vital statistics translate into a brisk driving experience as the hefty FX45 responds quickly to throttle inputs, especially when driven in manual shift mode, which uses downshift rev-matching to eliminate lurches between ratios.
Other cabin tech in the FX45 includes a standard Bluetooth hands-free calling interface. As we have found with other Nissan and Infiniti models, the cell phone pairing process for the Bluetooth system, which is done entirely by voice command, is trickier than it should be, and we had to try repeatedly to get the system to recognize our phone. When the car and phone were paired, however, voice dialing was straightforward, with the system able to understand our spoken numbers and commands without any trouble.
As we noted in the review of the , Nissan and Infiniti incorporate a number of unique elements into their maps, including specifically rendered points of interest. For example, when driving around San Francisco, we saw icons for City Hall, the Transamerica Pyramid, and the Bay Bridge. Maps are clear and rendered well, and the navigation system offers an impressive selection of views including a very useful bird's eye perspective, which we found particularly helpful when driving in urban situations.
In addition to the standard audio system, our test car came with extra media playback capability with the inclusion of Infiniti's optional DVD mobile entertainment system ($1,400), which comes with two sets of wireless headphones. To take their minds off the cramped seating arrangement, rear-seat passengers can watch DVDs on the system's seven-inch ceiling-mounted display. Discs are inserted into a slot in the DVD console near the floor, and those in back get full control, courtesy of a dedicated remote.