Infiniti is gearing up to launch its all-new EX35, a car that is part crossover, part coupe, and loaded with advanced safety and entertainment tech features. CNET Car Tech spent some time this week playing with some of the new model's sophisticated gadgetry.
For entertainment options, the EX35 makes use of a built-in hard drive, which allocates 9.3GB of memory to Infiniti's Music Box storage and playback application.
The EX35 is the first production vehicle to feature Infiniti's optional Around View Monitor (AVM) system, which uses four CMOS cameras to give a top-down view of the car while parking. The cameras are located under each rear-view mirror, on the license-plate holder on the rear, and under the Infiniti badge on the front of the car. While the view on the in-dash monitor appears to provide a 360-degree panorama, the AVM does have blind spots on the vehicle's corners. To mitigate these, the car also comes with ultrasonic proximity sensors on all four corners.
In addition to its surround view, AVM has an alternative curb-side view that enables drivers to better judge distances while parallel parking. During parking, the left-hand side of the in-dash display shows green guidance lines that show the car's projected forward path and yellow projection lines while the car is reversing.
One of the most sophisticated features of the Music Box function is its ability to automatically categorize music by genre, giving drivers the option to select music by "mood." Available moods include relaxing, lively, slow, and upbeat.
The second innovation on the EX35 is its Lane Departure Prevention (LDP) system, which builds on Infiniti's Lane Departure Warning (LDW) system on existing FX and M models. Like LDW, the LDP system works by using cameras to monitor lane markings on the road in order to detect inadvertent drift. While the LDW simply notifies drivers of the lane departure, LDP intervenes to bring the car back into its lane by activating ABS on the car's offside wheels.
Because of the active intervention of the LDP system, drivers must turn it on when entering the car, thereby acknowledging that they are aware that it is in operation. An icon in the tachometer illuminates to indicate that LDP is active.
Drivers can rip Red Book CDs to the system and can upload digital audio files using the in-dash compact-flash card reader. A built-in Gracenote database indexes and tags music files uploaded to the Music Box application.
Another notable tech feature of the EX35 is its "Fluid Finish" scratch-resistant paint. According to Infiniti engineers, this patented gel-like coating makes use of a high-elasticity resin that flows to "heal" scratches when heated.
The EX35 is motivated by fourth-generation VQ35HR 3.5-liter V-6 engine making around 290 horsepower, which is mated to a five-speed automatic transmission with sport-shift mode. The car's 7,400 rpm redline suggests the EX was designed with spirited driving in mind.
The 2008 EX35 will go on sale at the end of 2007 with a price tag comparable with that of the Infiniti M sedan, but options--including most of the advanced tech features--are likely to drive the price above $40,000 for a loaded model.
Infiniti says that the EX35 is a cross between a luxury coupe and a high-utility SUV. Its long hood is reminiscent of that on Infiniti's G coupes and M sedans, while its raked D-pillar is evocative of its FX big brother, which is taller, longer, and wider than the EX
The 2008 Infiniti EX35 is a true crossover between a car and an SUV: Shorter--but more powerful--than both the BMW X3 and the Acura RDX, the EX35 combines bold exterior styling with impressive performance specs, and usable cargo room. Like Infiniti's M35 sedan (with which it shares its platform), the EX35 comes with two rear-wheel drive and two all-wheel-drive model choices, as well as a whole host of trim and technology packages.