Crossovers, like Infiniti’s new 2008 EX35, are habanera hot in today’s market, so to have one in your lineup is to be in with the cool cats — though using the latter term might be an instant disqualifier.
The Japanese designed and built, the EX35 is based on the automaker’s FM (Front Mid-ship) platform shared with the highly acclaimed G35 sedan and G37 coupe, meaning there are no off-road aspirations here, just real road manners bred into its genes.
Infiniti calls the EX “a crossover (there’s that word again!) born of a coupe design” and intentionally kept its height down for a more car-like feel than SUV-ish competitors like the BMW X3 and Acura RDX.
The EX fills a gap between the G sedan family and the brazen FX SUVs.
The only physical change to the FM platform is the rear multilink suspension, which sees some components moved outward to open up cargo space. The front double-wishbone setup is unchanged, though the EX dials down its dampers for more passenger coddling.
To some, the EX does look like the result of a tryst between the G and FX. It’s all sedan from the nose to the A-pillar before taking on the swooping greenhouse of the sport-ute rearward. Meaty 225/60R17 tires are standard.
The 3.5-litre V6 under hood delivers 297 horses. The only gearbox is a five-speed auto with a clever manual mode that matches engine revs on downshifts.
An Industry-first Around View Monitor (AVM) gives the driver a “top-down view” of the outside of the EX on the nav screen, courtesy of four exterior cameras. Lane Departure Prevention (LDP), an evolution of the automaker’s existing system, gently applies the brakes to “nudge” the vehicle back into line. Another plus is the North American debut of “self-healing” Scratch Shield paint, with an elastic resin clearcoat that actually erases scuffs and scratches.
Inside is probably the best cabin the automaker has crafted so far in materials, quietness and creature comforts. Highlights include a hand-stitched leather wheel; wood, alloy or black lacquer trim; and a standard Intelligent Key with Push Button Ignition.