The second generation FX45 Concept, which made its world debut at the 2002 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, follows by one year the appearance of a similarly named and themed FX45 Concept – both described by Nakamura as 'Bionic Cheetahs' for their combined emphasis on sports car performance wîth SÚV utility. The second generation FX45 Concept has been completely redesigned inside and out but remains an aggressive, V8-powered, all-wheel drive sports luxury design.
The FX45 Concept takes full advantage of its 112.2-inch long wheelbase, wide stance and 21-inch wheels and tires to create a strong presence, whether in motion or at rest. Rather than adopt a 'blended' minivan/wagon/sedan approach, its designers sought an aggressive image – strong, fast and agile – so that the FX45 Concept looks the way it drives. The exterior suggests sports car shapes, but wîth modern packaging and architecture. The cabin is moved rearward, set back like a sports car, wîth long doors and the tires pushed out to the corners. A large, Infiniti-style grille and narrow horizontal headlights reinforce the classic sports car effect.
Inside, the FX45 Concept's highly personalized four-passenger interior offers a rich blend of handcrafted Brick-colored leather and polished aluminum accents. Each of the four individual power-operated seats has been designed for the person who will be using it – a driver's area that allows concentration on driving, a front passenger seat that indulges the occupant wîth individual heating and cooling controls, intuitive storage and soft lighting, and a state-of-the-art entertainment area wîth an overhead DVD display and game system for rear seat passengers. The instrument panel offers a special 'floating' instrument cluster wîth a large 9.5-inch LCD monitor.
A production version of the FX45 Concept has been announced as a future addition to the Infiniti lineup and will go on sale in early 2003.Source - Infiniti
Unveiled worldwide in 2002, the second generation FX45 Concept was officially debuted at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Dubbed 'Bionic Cheetahs' by Shiro Nakamura, Senior Vice President, Design of Nissan, the FX45 Concept was closed followed by a similarly named and themed FX45 Concept the following year. The new concept wasn't as extreme as its predecessor, but words like 'powerful' and 'elegant' could easily be used to describe the sleek new design.
Comparing the FX45 Concept to the sleek gracefulness of a Cheetah, Nakamura wanted the SUV to stand out from the Infiniti lineup with a completely new design. Blending impressive sports car performance, luxurious SUV utility and Infiniti style, the FX45 concept was completely overhauled from the inside out, but remained an invincible machine.
Sporting an aggressive visage, the FX45 concept rides a 112.2-inch wheelbase and 21-inch wheels. V8-powered with a powerful 32-valve 4.5-liter V8 engine based on the 2002 Infiniti Q45 powerplant with the capability of 30 hp and 300 lb./ft. of torque. An All- Modeâ driveline distributed power to the ground for exception performance in adverse or dry weather circumstances, adapted from the Nissan Skyline FT-R supercar's system. The V8 engine was joined to a 5-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode.
The all-wheel drive SUV featured electronic torque demand, multi-link rear design 40wheel independent suspension and 4-wheel vented disc brakes with ABS, Brake Assist and Electronic Brake force distribution. Controlling the brake pressure and engine torque in over- and understeer situations was the Vehicular Control System. Infiniti designed the suspension and drivetrain of the FX45 Concept with exceptional safety comfort in mind and exceptional on-road handling and performance in all types of weather.
The SUV featured a very sports car like interior with modern bells and whistles that are popular with all age demographics. The interior cabin space is moved rearward like in a sport car with the tires and long doors pushed to the corners. Further enhancing the sports car image were narrow horizontal headlights and a large Infiniti-style double-arch grille. The hood was long and sculpted with short overhangs and high-tech xenon headlamps.
The ultra-plush cabin sported handcrafted Brick-colored leather, which sleekly contrasted with polished aluminum accents. With room for four, the individual power-operated high seats were crafted specifically for the intended passenger unlike traditional SUVs, which are usually wide open. The driver's area offered an integrated tilt steering and instruments along a special 9.5-inch LCD monitor that was displayed on the instrument panel offering a special 'floating' instrument cluster. The monitor provided functions for the advanced navigation system, audio controls, HVAC controls, Internet and E-mail access and Infiniti Communicator.
The front passenger seat offered individual heating and cooling controls, soft mood lighting, and intuitive storage. The rear seats featured a high tech entertainment area and an overhead DVD display and game system and a rear water bottle cooler. The concept featured special 'Liquid Mercury' paint and polished Aluminum-alloy wheels and the entire interior was covered in Alcantara fabric and solid aluminum parts.
According to Nakamura regarding the FX45 concept 'our direction, thinking and spirit are definitely headed toward performance.' After extensive consumer testing Infiniti came to a 'new interpretation which is much closer to the actual production model. The fusion of sports car and SUV remains at its core, but we've added breakthrough exterior and interior styling to its superior drivetrain and advanced technology.'
The low-slung concept combined the best SUV qualities with improved space use, four full-size doors and a large rear hatch for cargo. For easy cargo loading the split tailgate featured a slide-out load floor and the rear tailgate opened in two pieces; the lower gate swiveling downwards while the glass hatch swivels upwards. The roof of the FX45 was made entirely of glass that could be easily shaded for interior comfort.
A production version of the Infiniti FX45 went on sale in early 2003 and competed with the Mercedes-Benz ML500 and the BMW X5. The FX45 Concept marked the new 'shape of things to come for our production crossover SUV' according to Mark McNabb, vice president and general manager of Infiniti. Unfortunately the FC45 only lasted one generation before it was renamed FX50. Only a few FX45's were sold, possibly due to its lack of third-row seat and limited cargo space compared to other midsize luxury crossovers in its class. Sources:
By Jessica Donaldson