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Motoring: Infiniti gadgetry beyond impressive

Nauman Farooq | Interrobang | Sports | September 22nd, 2008

If you are looking for the most advanced car on the planet, don't look at Mercedes-Benz, Audi, BMW or even Lexus. While they all have great technology in their vehicles, currently their efforts are made to look like school projects in front of what Infiniti is offering you with the EX35.

This new Crossover is based on the popular G35X sedan platform, so hence it shares its engine, gearbox, chassis and suspension components with the sedan (hence its low ground-clearance). These shared components saved Infiniti bundles on new research and development, and instead used the money to develop features that currently no other car on the market has at any price.

In the past, I have often mentioned that gadgets don't impress me much, because they are just toys. Plus what is the point of having good gadgets in a car that is bad to drive.

But the EX35 has no such worries. First of all, it drives extremely well. It rides well, despite those lovely big 18” wheels. Based on a sporty sedan chassis it handles very well. This vehicle can keep up with most sports cars on twisty roads thanks to its intelligent allwheel drive system, which sends power to the wheels that can best make use of it.

It can keep up with most sporty cars in the straight line too, because its 3.5-litre V6 engine is quite powerful, producing 297hp and 253 lb/ft of torque. That means 0-100km/h coming up in just over six-seconds and a top speed far higher than you will ever be allowed to do on public roads.

The only feature I have a small gripe with here is its gearbox. It still uses their old five-speed automatic gearbox, which is really beginning to show its age, especially when its main competition is moving towards six or even sevenspeeds.

The old gearbox does have a manual shift feature on it, but the shift times are not as quick as I'd like them to be. However, given the vehicles impressive power and torque number, you would hardly ever need to use its manual setting and let the gearbox do things for you.

The only other big downside to having just a five-speed gearbox is fuel economy. My average for the week was 14.6-litres/100km, which is less than stellar.

But I can forgive that because of what this car has in store for you when you step inside. This EX35 has one of the nicest, most inviting interiors I have been in a long time. The design looks like it should be in a one-off concept car. It is brilliant. I love the seats, love the stereo, and now lets get talking about its main gadgets. We have seen intelligent cruise control systems in the past that keep a safe distance between you and the car ahead. This feature is found on most luxury cars nowadays. I have seen lane-departure warning systems before too (like in the BMW 5-series) which alerts you if you start dwindling into the next lane without intention. But never had I seen a car that drives it self between the lines. Seriously, you can just turn the cruise control on, and not only will the car stay a safe distance behind the car in front of you, this EX35 will keep it between the white painted lines on the highway too. The days of the driverless cars are here, if you buy this EX35 that is.

The impressive gadgets don't stop there. You have probably seen reversing camera's before, and this has one of those for sure, but it also has a nose mounted camera that shows you how close to the wall you are getting, a great feature if you have a tight garage.

But even that is not this cars most impressive feature, that award has to go to the around-view monitoring system. This feature gives you a full view around the vehicle as if the image is being beamed down from a satellite. In reality, it manages to produce that image by using cameras all around the vehicle. I counted seven, which collaborate into a birds-eye view image, shown on the center screen.

This is by far and away the best and most impressive feature I have ever come across in any car, including the self-parking Lexus LS600hL.

To find such features on a vehicle that would sell for a quartermillion- dollars would be a bargain, but this Infiniti has a starting price of just $40,400. Fully loaded like my test vehicle, the price was still just $52,300 (plus all the usual extra delivery charges).

That is very impressive indeed and thus makes a great buy if you are looking for a sporty, crossover. However, don't buy one if you're looking to carry four-people and their luggage, the trunk is miniscule. It does have clever folding rear-seats, which come back up electrically, another cool feature, but its not a vehicle to haul a family and its luggage around.

Think of it as a vehicle for a single guy or a newly married couple who don't have to haul babystrollers around (trust me, strollers won't fit if the back seats are up).

Think of it as a crossover coupe, and you get the idea behind this vehicle, so if you wanted an Infiniti G37 coupe but want something that is more practical and usable all year round, then the EX35 is the vehicle for you.

I like it so much, if I could buy one vehicle to live with everyday of the year, I can honestly say, this EX35 will get my vote and fill my parking space.
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