Infiniti's 2008 EX - a new five-passenger crossover with a "performance coupe soul" - goes on sale in December after its first public showing this week at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.
The new crossover vehicle will share a drivetrain with other vehicles from Nissan's "FM" rear-drive architecture. That means a 3.5-liter V-6, in this version with more than 290 horsepower and something Nissan calls the "Infiniti Swell" acceleration feel. The V-6 is mated to a five-speed automatic with sport mode, adaptive shifting, and a manual gate.
The EX sports an independent suspension all around, with double control arms up front and a multi-link rear. The control arms are crafted from aluminum alloys, and shock absorbers are tuned for sporty handling. The steering rack is speed-sensitive, and the four-wheel disc brakes have anti-lock control. Standard 17-inch wheels can be subbed out for 18-inch, eight-spoke alloys with 55-series tires.
Inside, the EX has a flexible seating arrangement, with an eight-way power driver seat and a four-way power passenger seat up front. Those seats can be ordered with memory control and can be heated. The second-row seats are split 60/40, and a power-folding function is available. A power sunroof is another option, as are xenon headlamps and Bluetooth connectivity.
When it goes on sale at the end of the year, the EX may be the first vehicle to sport two new technologies aimed at reducing accidents. The first, an Around View Monitor, uses small front, side and rear- mounted cameras to project an all-around view of potential objects on every side of the vehicle - helping reduce blind spots when parking.
The Lane Departure Prevention system builds on the Lane Departure Warning (LDW) system that is currently available on the Infiniti FX and M. Rather than just use an audible/visual warning system to alert the driver of unintentional vehicle movement outside the designated lane, the LDP uses the vehicle's Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) system to help assist the driver in maintaining lane position if the vehicle starts to drift outside the lane.
Both Lane Departure Prevention and the LDW systems use a small camera installed behind the windshield to detect lane markers in front of the vehicle and calculate its position relative to lane markers and warn the driver of lane drift (pending lane change without use of the turn signal) with a visual display and audible buzzer. If the driver does not return the vehicle in the direction of the center of the travel lane, the LDP system assists the driver by using gentle control (generating part of the necessary yaw movement), using the VDC's brake actuator to control the brake pressure of each individual wheel to generate the intended movement.
Dual front, side, and curtain airbags are standard, as are tire pressure monitors, anti-lock brakes, and traction and stability control.
The EX's lavish interior will sport an analog clock and a choice of black lacquer or wood trim, and a seven-inch color display. The leather-wrapped steering wheel can be outfitted with audio/entertainment controls. XM is standard, while a navigation system and a 9.3-GB music hard drive system are optional, as is a Burr-Brown audio system with two subwoofers, a six-disc CD changer, and iPod connectivity.
Infiniti says the EX35 will come in four models: a rear-drive version with a cloth interior, an all-wheel-drive model with a cloth interior, a rear-driver Journey model (which includes a sunroof, leather, power second-row seat, front and rear park assist, and automatic headlamps) and an all-wheel-drive Journey edition. Packages will include wood trim, the navigation system, and roof rails.
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