CDTV Road Tests

Handbook: Infiniti FX Vettel

Time 9:18 am, December 17, 2012

IT’S limited to just 50 units in Europe, but it’s a great halo car for a brand that needs to raise its profile. James Baggott drives it.

What is it?

It’s an exclusive SUV produced to the specific specification of double Formula 1 World Champion Sebastian Vettel. Limited to just 200 units across the world – 50 of which will come to Western Europe – the Infiniti FX Vettel Edition promises exclusivity to buyers loaded enough to part with £100,000. Infiniti says the £46,000 premium over a standard FX can be justified by its exclusivity and the special hospitality buyers will receive.


What’s under the bonnet?

A 5.0-litre V8 petrol lump that uses more fuel than Qatar. Probably. Buyers won’t be too worried about that though – the throaty lump produces 414bhp and 520Nm of torque. There haven’t been any tweaks under the bonnet, but a special exhaust system has helped improve performance. There’s even a special button, hidden away by the ash tray, that makes it louder. It sounds sublime – like a burbling power boat – and it can crack 60mph in 5.6 seconds.

 

 

 

What’s the spec like?

Plentiful. This is a top-of-the-range FX and comes with all the toys luxury SUV buyers expect. There’s sat nav, Bluetooth, a cracking sound system and leather. The only extra is the carbon fibre spoiler – apparently it’s a £4,800 option because ‘some buyers didn’t like it’. Other Vettel extras include carbon liberally applied to the front and rear splitters, inside and on the door mirrors. The 21-inch BBS alloys are also unique and there’s tasteful purple stitching in the cabin. All that carbon was designed with the help of Vettel’s Red Bull Racing employers so it’s there to do a job.


What’s it like to drive?

At first we weren’t convinced, but during our time driving this massive car on the streets of Monaco it slowly won us over. It’s certainly quick and offers up a decent ride quality – it’s not as harsh over bumps as we thought it would be. The steering lacks feel though and we found the paddle-shift seven-speed gearbox slow to respond in some situations. But that soundtrack is addictive – we didn’t turn the stereo on once in the two days we had with the car.

What do the press think of it?

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Well, not many of them had driven it at the time we wrote this. In fact, we were only the second UK publication after Evo to get behind the wheel. Harry Metcalfe of Evo fame wasn’t that impressed. He said he struggled to see where the extra money had gone, but loved the noise it made.

What do we think of it?

Infiniti likes to think its FX Vettel Edition will become a collectors’ car. We’re not so sure about that – it all depends on just how successful the young German driver goes on to be. This is a machine aimed at rich buyers who need a practical car that they’re unlikely to see coming towards them on the King’s Road. That £100k price tag does buy you exclusivity though, and if that’s what you’re looking for then maybe, just maybe, it’s worth the cash. We did say maybe.

Jon Reay's avatar

Staff Writer Jon is one of the Car Dealer team's newest members. You can also find him contributing to AOL Cars.

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