September 2009 saw the UK debut of the second Infiniti model – the 3.7-litre V6 EX37. This high performance, all-wheel-drive crossover is considerably smaller than Infiniti’s big FX, and from July 2010 the petrol EX37 was joined by the EX30d which offers lower CO2 emissions along with stump-pulling diesel power.
Serious speed freaks or those with a peculiar aversion to diesel will probably still plump for the 316bhp, 149mph EX37, but EX30d owners won’t be fussed as its 3-litre V6 diesel pumps out a more than sufficient 235bhp along with a very beefy 406lb/ft of torque at 1,750rpm – that’s 141lb/ft more at 3,450 fewer revs. With power fed through the standard 7-speed auto transmission and ‘intelligent’ 4WD, this results in 0-62 in 7.9secs and a 137mph top speed. On the road the EX30d is a genuinely eager performer with strong acceleration never more than a light touch of the throttle away.
This may be a diesel 4x4 with a highish ride height and seating position, but from its road manners and handling you’d never know it as the EX30d drives and handles on tarmac like a good saloon, or even a good sports saloon. Aided by having most of the engine mounted behind the front axle line (thus improving weight distribution) along with double wishbone front suspension and multilink rear, the steering is precise, the ride is supple, the grip is tenacious and there’s minimal body roll even when corners are attacked with tyre-squealing verve.
Nissan’s luxury Infiniti brand hasn’t yet featured in any UK JD Power Customer satisfaction surveys, but US JD Power data shows that it’s a strong performer. Certainly the car I tested appeared flawless in both fit and finish inside and out – on the production line in Japan every car, not just every tenth car, is laser scanned to ensure that panel gaps are within prescribed limits. In addition, the EX’s body is painted with a self-healing paint (really!) and Infiniti’s Total Ownership Experience includes a free pick-up and delivery service within a radius of 150 miles from the dealership.
No Euro NCAP stars to report, but as standard the EX has six airbags: two front, hip and thorax plus front-to-rear curtain bags. Also standard on the GT Premium version are active front head restraints, rain and light sensors, intelligent cruise control with speed limiter, Intelligent Brake Assist, ISOFIX child seat mountings and adaptive auto-levelling front Xenon lights with washers. Additionally, the EX30d GT Premium also boasts Infiniti’s lane departure warning system which intervenes to gently to guide the car back into the correct lane if its warnings aren’t heeded. Security is handled, in part, by the I-Key’s smart ignition with ‘auto-closure’ on all doors and windows.
The EX is what Infiniti describes as a ‘coupé crossover’ but its sleek rear roofline (and attendant low 0.33 coefficient of drag) doesn’t render it ideal for a family of five off for a fortnight’s touring. Space and comfort levels are excellent in the front, and there’s enough headroom in the rear, but the EX is not over endowed with rear seat legroom. Rear loadspace with seatbacks up is quoted at 340-litres, and the steeply sloped tailgate could prove restrictive when attempting to load larger, solid objects. On the plus side there’s a 45-litre underfloor compartment, proper coat hangers within the front headrests and each portion of the split-folding rear backrest can be remotely lowered or raised by the touch of a button.
The EX30d starts at £35,975 otr, rising to £41,220 for the GT Premium where standard equipment includes the Connectiviti+ package – HDD satnav with touchscreen, voice control, speed camera warnings, Michelin guide, 10GB music drive and iPod/USB connectivity (add £665 for the optional 11-speaker Bose sound system as fitted to my test car). The EX30d’s 224g/km CO2 figure beats the EX37’s 265g/km, and its 33.2mpg (combined) beats petrol EX’s 25mpg, but, although slightly less powerful there are some diesel SUV rivals that fare at last as well on both counts. The flip side is they’re not as good to drive, and they don’t come with the Total Ownership Experience.
Submitted: 02/09/2010 08:28:44
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