The navigation system is the same one that Infiniti has been offering for a few years, and includes a 3D view with rendered buildings. Although the maps aren't as nice-looking as Audi's, the map views are more complete than those offered by Toyota or Honda; they show all the relevant information, including traffic. The system also shows weather forecasts, with pop-up warnings for severe weather alerts.
Infiniti has also improved its phone system over the last year to download a paired phone's contacts, making them available onscreen or through voice command. This useful feature is in addition to a dedicated vehicle phone book, something of a legacy from the previous generation of this cabin tech suite.
For audio sources, Infiniti includes all I could want. The FX35 not only has a USB port for iPod connectivity or a USB drive, but also an onboard hard drive for music storage and Bluetooth audio streaming. The music library presentation for iPods and the onboard hard drive shows music categorized by the usual categories, such as album and artist, but it only displays music on USB drives by folder and file.
The FX35 comes with a Bose-branded 11-speaker sound system. Although not quite audiophile-quality, this system is certainly above average. It has ample amplification for playing music loudly and produces good detail. I like the separation, the ability to hear different instruments distinctly. But I felt the system lacked a certain depth. I couldn't hear all the tones from an individual guitar string being picked, and electronic trills lacked that high-frequency glistening sound that better systems can bring out.
Although its driver assistance systems, such as lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, and surround-view cameras, are excellent, other cabin tech in the 2012 Infiniti FX35 Limited Edition no longer reaches the cutting edge. Navigation, phone, and stereo systems are all better than most, but fall behind those of other luxury carmakers.
The addition of the seven-speed automatic transmission is a good step forward for Infiniti, but other areas of performance tech are in need of an upgrade. For example, a smaller-displacement, direct-injection V-6 should improve fuel economy considerably.
The FX35 is well-designed from an aesthetic view point, carrying Infiniti styling effortlessly from sedan to SUV. The cabin tech interface also wins it design points. But while the cabin is comfortable, its cargo space is limited, losing a little on practicality.
|Model||2012 Infiniti FX35|
|Power train||3.5-liter V-6 engine, 7-speed automatic transmission|
|EPA fuel economy||16 mpg city/21 mpg highway|
|Observed fuel economy||17.6 mpg|
|Navigation||Standard hard-drive-based system with traffic data|
|Bluetooth phone support||Standard, with contact list download|
|Disc player||MP3-compatible single-CD|
|MP3 player support||iPod integration|
|Other digital audio||Bluetooth streaming audio, onboard hard drive, USB drive, satellite radio|
|Audio system||Bose 11-speaker system|
|Driver aids||Adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane departure prevention, distance control, surround-view camera, front-view camera, rearview camera|
|Price as tested||$52,445|