The West

To Infiniti and beyond
Nissan Infiniti. Supplied picture

A big ball of muscle with an exaggerated proboscis is not an image likely to figure in many people's car fantasies.

But that's my take on the FX, the SUV offered by the soon-to- open Infiniti, a high-end Japanese brand sold mainly in the US.

Sportiness, ultra-generous specs and cutting-edge technologies are other fortes of Infiniti.

Aesthetic daring is promoted as a point of difference by Infiniti Cars Australia's Kevin Snell.

"The world doesn't need another 'me too' brand," he said.

"We take risks. We don't care if 70 per cent don't like a model and only 30 per cent do - we'll go after the 30 per cent."

If Mr Snell's FX descriptors - "bold, adventurous, sporty, exciting, engaging" - give the impression of a larrikin at a posh party, he wouldn't be unhappy.

"I think buyers attracted to us want to be more of an individual and don't feel a conservative brand stands for them," he said.

The FX, which starts at $83,900, comes in V6 petrol, V6 diesel and V8 petrol modes. Wheel sizes start large, at 20 inches.

The other offering, the M saloon, begins $2000 higher and offers petrol-electric hybrid, V6 petrol and V6 diesel drivetrains.

The G coupe and convertible will follow before Christmas, then, over the next five years, a range of small-to-medium cars and SUVs will be added.

A tie-up with Mercedes-Benz will see four-cylinder turbo engines added.

So, down the track we'll see Infinitis starting in the $30,000s rather than $80,000s, which would see more buyers' ears prick up.

Infiniti says it's big on hospitality, and that's reflected in its roadside-assistance deal. If stuck in a predicament, coverage extends to a customer's other cars and even vehicles they are driving but don't own.

Both the FX and M match the sports-luxury claims of their makers.

They combine verve and agility with a refined drivetrain, cabin experience and ride quality.

An individual touch in the M cabin is woodgrain trim with flecks of genuine silver.

Behind the bold looks lies brilliant technology, some of it pioneering, as the adjoining list shows. An example is the hybrid M, which can jet to 100km/h in 5.5 seconds yet sips just 6.9L/100km.

Down the track we'll see Infinitis starting in the $30,000s rather than $80,000s, which would see more buyers' ears prick up.

The West Australian

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