Infiniti's breakthrough FX45 continues in 2004 to offer a unique combination of aggressive styling, outstanding performance and luxury car comfort. The FX was conceived on the theme of a "Bionic Cheetah," utilizing advanced technology to create one of the best performing premium crossover SUVs ever imagined. Again for the 2004 model year the FX is available in FX45 and FX35 designations, each offering the practical utility of a SUV with the heart of a sports car.
The all-wheel drive FX45 offers a standard 315-horsepower 4.5-liter DOHC V8 (based on the Infiniti Q45 powerplant) and features standard 20-inch wheels and tires, leather-appointed seats and a sport-tuned 4-wheel independent suspension. The FX35 features a 280-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 and is available in all-wheel or rear-wheel drive models. The FX35 V6 is shared with the award-winning Infiniti G35 sport coupe and sport sedan. All FX models utilize a modified version of the advanced FM (Front Mid-ship) platform enhanced for SUV duties. A similar, less modified version of this platform is also found in the G35 sport coupe and sport sedan.
“The FX45 is an innovative design with its trend-setting exterior and interior styling, and in its application of technology and engineering toward the creation of stunning performance,” said Mark Igo, vice president and general manager, Infiniti Division. “For the new model year we’ve made a number of small enhancements to the FX’s look and feel – such as refining the suspension for improved ride comfort – making its standout performance and features stand out even more from the pack of ordinary crossover SUVs."
Among the changes for 2004 are the addition of standard 8-way power front passenger seat (replacing the previous 4-way design), the availability of aluminum roof rails and chrome-plated 20-inch wheels, a new dark silver metallic finish for the 20-inch wheels (non chrome-plated), the addition of a standard HVAC filter for all models and the addition of a new Snow-Mode function.
Dynamic Styling, Aggressive Stance
In creating the FX, its designers sought what they called a "cool fusion" – the blending of a substantial, SUV lower body with the sleek, elegant upper body more reminiscent of a classic sports car or sports GT.
"The FX draws on a foundation born of the modified FM platform – elements of which come through the first time you drive it," said Igo. "The exterior is all about projecting a unique sense of agility and dynamic performance – along with a healthy dose of SUV versatility and the available all-wheel drive flexibility to occasionally leave the paved world behind."
The exterior of the FX features a wide, aggressive stance with a long, sleek hood, sleek roof and a "taut canopy" greenhouse. The short front and rear overhangs provide SUV-level approach and departure angles, while also helping accentuate the long wheelbase, wide track and large tires (20-inch on FX45). The wide yet narrow headlights and taillights give the FX an "in-motion" look, with the taillights extending past the body slightly to help create aerodynamic downforce.
The exterior also features a large Infiniti signature grille, standard fog lights, xenon headlights and large, split dual tailpipes with chrome finishers. Special attention was also paid during the design process to surface quality, parts quality and in creating a sense of elegance and grace.
A special palette of exterior colors (eight total) was chosen to highlight and, at times, contrast the aggressive nature of the FX, ranging from a vivid Laser Red and signature Liquid Copper to a deep Beryllium 16 and cool Brilliant Silver.
Choice of Two Confidence-Inspiring Engines
The FX's long 112.2-inch wheelbase and wide track (62.7-inches front, 64.6-inches rear) combine with large wheels and tires (standard 20-inch on FX45) to provide a stable foundation for on- or off-road driving – as well as a large interior for both passengers and cargo. The FX utilizes an enhanced version of the innovative FM (for Front Mid-ship) platform used on the G35 sport coupe and G35 sport sedan, which positions the engine behind the front axle.
This results in an optimized front-to-rear weight balance of 54:46 (V8 AWD), which factors in weight transfer during key handling maneuvers, such as entering and exiting corners. The FM platform's rigidity has been enhanced, for use specifically with the FX, by increasing plate thickness of the front side members, side sills and rear wheel housing.
Two engines are available, starting with the high-performance power of the 4.5-liter DOHC V8. This advanced powerplant, also used in the Infiniti Q45 and M45 sedans, has been specially tuned for use in the FX45 and produces 315 horsepower and 329 lb-ft of torque.
The engine's advanced design includes titanium valves, modular cylinder heads, microfinished crankshaft, lightweight pistons, super-silent single stage cam drive chain and a hydraulically driven cooling fan to help optimize performance. In addition, the VK45DE is outfitted with a variable length air induction system and Continuously Variable Valve Timing Control System (CVTCS) to enhance the engine’s power delivery and operation efficiency.
Also offered is a 3.5-liter DOHC 24-valve V6 engine with aluminum-alloy block and heads and electronically controlled “drive-by-wire” throttle system. Both the standard all-wheel drive and optional rear-wheel drive V6 engine-equipped versions are designated as FX35 models.
The V6 has been tuned specifically for use in the FX35, with a horsepower rating of 280. Torque is rated at 270 lb-ft. A 5-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode, designed for high torque capacity and light weight, is standard with both V8- and V6-equipped models. A new Snow-Mode function changes the throttle input algorithm in low-speed slippery road conditions (once activated by the driver) for enhanced traction control.
Infiniti’s advanced Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) system with Traction Control System is also standard on every 2004 FX. Vehicle Dynamic Control adjusts brake pressure and engine torque automatically in understeer, oversteer or slippery road surface situations, helping the drivers keep their intended paths.
The ATTESA E-TS™ (Advanced Total Traction Engineering System for All Electronic Torque Split) all-wheel drive system utilized on the FX45 and FX35 AWD model uses an advanced torque split control strategy that automatically transfers optimum torque to the wheels according to road and driving conditions. It provides outstanding cornering capability due to optimum torque distribution for front and rear (0:100 up to 50:50). The system also provides high starting traction performance and smooth, stable acceleration, especially in snow-covered or off-road situations with the 50:50 torque split at standing start.
The FX's dynamic handling is a result of its advanced 4-wheel independent suspension with extensive use of aluminum-alloy components to reduce unsprung weight and incorporate special “High Frequency Control” shock absorber technology with a Rebound Spring for responsive yet comfortable ride and firm, tight handling. The front suspension utilizes an independent front strut design, while the rear features a multi-link design. Large diameter stabilizer bars are utilized front and rear (front only on FX35 RWD model). For 2004, the suspension has been refined to provide a more comfortable ride.
Helping enhance ground clearance and all-terrain drivability are the FX45's standard 8.0JJx20 8-spoke aluminum-alloy wheels and 265/50R20 all-season tires (optionally available with V6 models). Standard on V6-equipped FX35s are 8.0JJx18 7-spoke aluminum-alloy wheels and 265/60R18 all-season tires.
Standard braking system components include 4-wheel ventilated disc brakes, Brake Assist (BA) and Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD). Responsive steering is provided by an engine-speed-sensitive power rack-and-pinion steering system.
Also available on FX45 models with the Intelligent Cruise Control System is a special feature of the standard Brake Assist System – Preview Braking. Brake Assist with preview function is designed to help improve brake response. Whereas normally braking is activated only when the driver recognizes the need and moves his or her foot to activate the brake pedal, the preview function utilizes the ICC sensors to identify sudden braking situations (by sensing the vehicle ahead in the same lane and the distance and relative speed from it) and “pre-pressurizes” the Brake Assist system before the driver steps on the brake pedal. This helps maximize braking response and performance by reducing the normal brake system activation time lag.
A High Tech Interior Accentuated with Luxurious Comfort
The five-passenger interior of the FX provides a blend of the comfort and amenities of a luxury car with an array of high tech features for the driver and passengers. The designers created three separate "zones" ¬– each personalized for the specific needs of the persons using it.
The "driver zone" maximizes driving excitement through the creation of a cockpit-like feel with driver-oriented controls, 8-way power-adjustable seat with memory function, driver-dedicated automatic air conditioning, information display monitor (6.3-inch standard, 7.0-inch with the Technology Package) and a three-spoke, leather-wrapped steering wheel with power tilt (standard on V8 models, moves in tandem with the instrument cluster) and telescope, integrated cruise and available steering wheel-mounted audio system controls.
The "comfort zone," designed to maximize comfort for the front passenger, includes an 8-way power-adjustable seat, passenger adjustable armrest and individual air conditioning control. The "play zone" offers rear seat passengers such available features as a DVD player with wireless headphones, personal reading lamps, center armrest with tray and storage, dual seatback pockets for storing DVDs and magazines, reclining seats and rear B-pillar mounted air conditioning vents for enhanced cooling performance.
Every FX model also offers exceptional utility, including a large cargo area with easy cargo accessibility, flip-down rear seats with quick-release levers conveniently located in the cargo area, three underfloor storage compartments and a lightweight, steel-reinforced composite rear cargo door with electromagnetic opener switch.
A number of special high tech features are also available in the Technology Package, including an advanced DVD-based Infiniti Navigation System, Intelligent Key with keyless entry and engine start system and RearView Monitor. The RearView Monitor projects a view of what's behind the FX onto the navigation system monitor using a small camera mounted near the rear license plate (the system operates only when reverse gear is selected). Also available is Infiniti's Intelligent Cruise Control System, which uses the brakes, throttle and laser sensors, to maintain a set distance between the FX and a vehicle in front of it.
The Infiniti Mobile Entertainment System features a DVD player with 6.3-inch roof-mounted rear LCD screen. An AM/FM/cassette/6-CD audio system with six speakers is standard, while a 300-watt digital Bose® premium audio system with 11 speakers is also available.
Other interior amenities include an Infiniti signature analog clock, driver and passenger one-touch up/down power windows (front and rear on V8 model) and door locks, to name just a few.
Four unique leather-appointed interior color combinations are offered: Graphite, Willow, Willow/Black two-tone and the signature Brick/Black two-tone. The Willow interior is also available in cloth.
High Level of Safety
From a safety standpoint, every FX model comes with standard dual-stage front supplemental air bags with seat belt sensors, front-seat side-impact supplemental air bags and front and rear seat curtain side-impact supplemental air bags.
Also standard are 3-point ALR/ELR seat belts (driver’s side ELR only) and front seat belts with pretensioners and load limiters and adjustable upper anchors. It is also equipped with the LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) system.
The FX's SUV-enhanced FM platform Zone Body construction is designed to help protect occupants in a collision by efficiently absorbing crash energy through use of front and rear crushable zones.
In a high-speed frontal collision, for example, the crushable zone crumples while the engine is designed to move under the occupant compartment. This has the effect of expanding the crushable zone, thereby helping to reduce the deceleration g-force and simultaneously helping minimize cabin deformation, especially in the leg area.
In offset impacts, the strong body construction helps decrease the amount of cabin deformation. Other features also contributing to improved occupant safety, include the breakaway brake pedal and a breakaway construction of the propeller shaft (connected with the engine-drop function) and the double-wall construction of the bulkhead.
Models and Packages
The fully equipped FX is offered in three engine/drive configurations: the V8-powered AWD FX45, the V6-powered AWD FX35 and the V6-powered FX35 with optional rear-wheel drive.
In addition to the long list of equipment on the V6 FX35, the FX45 includes additional standard equipment, including sport suspension tuning, leather-appointed seating and trim, heated front seats, driver's seat memory system with two settings, 20-inch tires and unique aluminum-alloy wheels.
It also offers power tilt and telescope steering wheel, power driver's seat lumbar support, heated outside mirrors with memory system, auto up and down feature on all windows, aluminum pedals (accelerator, brake and footrest) and a unique V8 engine cover.
A number of optional packages are also available. The V6 Touring Package includes leather-appointed seating surfaces, heated front seats, driver's memory seat and power lumbar support, power tilt and telescopic steering wheel, heated outside mirrors, sunroof, 300-watt Bose audio system, HomeLink® Universal Transceiver, auto on-off headlights, steering wheel audio controls, cargo floor protector, cargo net and black colored roof rails.
The Premium Package for the V8 includes sunroof, Bose audio system, HomeLink Universal Transceiver, auto on-off headlights, steering wheel audio controls, cargo floor protector, cargo net and polished aluminum roof rails.
The Sport Package (available only on FX35 models and requires the V6 Touring Package) includes 20-inch wheels and tires, sport-tuned suspension, aluminum pedals and aluminum roof rails.
For buyers looking for the ultimate in advanced equipment, the Technology Package adds (in addition to all Premium Package features) the Infiniti Navigation System, Intelligent Cruise Control, RearView Monitor System, Tire Pressure Monitor System and Intelligent Key.
The Intelligent Key is a new generation keyless system that eliminates the need to use the key fob when locking, unlocking and starting the engine. The key fob, which incorporates a circuit board, emergency key and transponder, can be carried with the driver in a pocket, briefcase or purse. To unlock or lock the door, the driver pushes a request switch on the door handle (driver’s, passenger’s or tailgate). The transponder checks the Intelligent Key unit for the correct identification and unlocks or locks the doors.
To start the engine, the driver pushes the ignition knob into the steering column. If the identification is correct, the knob can be turned to start the engine. The knob is rotated back to the ACC position to stop the engine. The engine can also be started conventionally by inserting the emergency key into the ignition slot.
The Intelligent Key has the same functions as current remote entry systems, including panic alarm and selective unlock mode and answer back.
“The FX45 and FX35 epitomize Infiniti’s most advanced thinking - with dramatic styling, unmatched handling and performance, advanced technology features and the utility of all-wheel drive and flexible cargo space,” said Igo. “It truly is the fusion of a sports car and SUV, providing all the excitement you’d expect from either one in one dynamic package.”
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