So what is this?
This is the EX, Infiniti's take on the X3, Freelander and upcoming Q5. Unveiled today at the 2007 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in California, the EX spearheads Infiniti's arrival in Europe. It arrives late next year – so a bit of wait, then - ahead of the G saloon, G coupe and a successor to the superb FX. Infiniti is already well established in America and has sold well off the back of its aggressively designed and performance-oriented line-up, ice-cool dealers more akin to a luxury designer hotel than a car showroom and excellent service quality. The EX will make its European debut at next year’s Geneva motor show, and after Russia, the UK is expected to be the biggest market outside of America.
It's not going to be all wallowy and slow is it?
We'll be surprised if it is. Dubbed by Infinity as a coupe-crossover, the EX will be a one-engine line-up. It’s powered by a 290bhp version of the Infiniti’s ubiquitous 3.5-litre V6 engine, driving a five-cog auto box through Infinity’s ATTESA E-TS all wheel drive set-up – possibly the longest motoring acronym to date. The full-time 4wd system uses an advanced active torque distribution management system. Infiniti is working flat out to develop a twin turbo V6 diesel but it won't arrive until 2010. It sits on the company's new FR-L chassis architecture (which will underpins G cars and FX) and its aluminium-intensive double wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension will be given a complete overhaul by Nissan’s chassis engineers at its Cranfield technology site. Infiniti is quietly confident the EX will ride and handle with the best of its German rivals – the team fettling the EX is the same group that tweaked the excellent 350Z for the European market.
Cool showrooms aside, why should I be interested?
Value for money is a good place to start. As you’d expect, the EX will pitched aggressively at its European rivals, heading into battle with an attractive price tag around the £33,500 mark, but with significantly more standard equipment and a wide choice of option packs. The EX retains Infiniti’s signature double-layered instrument panel, with integrated hard-disc base satnav and music storage system for the top-end Bose sound system. It comes loaded with goodies including Bluetooth connectivity, active cruise control and powered leather seats. Technical highlights include the active bi-Xenon headlamps, AVM Around View Monitor system which, in a car first, uses four small body-mounted cameras that give a bird-eye view of the car when parking, as well as a lane departure system and an intelligent paintjob with a clear elastic resin top coat that repairs itself when scratched. Perfect for off-roading, then…