Infiniti EX37: The World’s Most Powerful Compact Crossover | Part Two

Infiniti EX37

Infiniti EX37

The Infiniti EX37 is likely to be one of the most talked about new models launched in 2008. Powered by a new 3.7-litre version VQ family of petrol engines, EX37 brings together three different elements in one elegantly attractive package.

Its distinctive coupé-like styling masks a roomy cabin with electric fold down rear seats to extend the load bay and turn it into a sports estate. And then there’s the raised driving position and four-wheel drive traction of an SUV to consider. It all makes EX perhaps the ultimate Crossover.

Based on the Infiniti FM platform, EX37 shares much of its hardware with both the G37 and G37 Coupé. As a result, it enjoys the same high levels of handling precision and balance as well as similar levels of performance, refinement, build quality and equipment.

EX37 is available with a new seven-speed automatic transmission while the suspension design - double wishbone set up at the front and multi-link arrangement at the  rear - delivers the ideal blend between sporting handling and superior ride comfort.

Following usual Infiniti peace of mind, EX37 comes exceptionally well equipped as standard, while for those who want more there is a full leather version available as well as a multimedia package introducing advanced new technology to the market sector.

Exterior Styling

Despite its Crossover status, EX37 has been designed following traditional Coupé lines. That means a stretched wheelbase, long bonnet, short overhangs and a sharply tapering roof line. It is noticeably lower than its key rivals which helps to accentuate its low centre of gravity and lends more credence to its Crossover status.

Although longer than most of its SUV rivals – which benefits interior space – a compact overall shape help give EX37 the best aerodynamic positioning in the sector.

Above all, though, it’s the balanced harmony of its lines that help EX claim a unique place in a crowded market. Its designers have skilfully blended enough signature elements – such as the double arch grille, wave form bonnet and L-shaped headlamps – to ensure it’s an obvious member of the Infiniti family. Yet the overall effect is quite unlike anything in the range.

A bold and masculine stance contrasts with the flowing curves over the high wheelarches and the dramatic slope of the roofline. The rear has a simple, almost three dimensional, appearance combining an energetic shape with elegant styling features such as the chrome door handles, LED rear lights and integrated rear spoiler.

A feeling of sophistication comes with the use of darkened privacy glass for the rear windows, the simple seven-spoke 18 inch alloy wheels and fog lamps which are set deep into the front aero bumper.

Chassis and driving dynamics

EX37 uses the second generation version of Infiniti FM platform in which the engine is located in a ‘front midships’ position: the compact V6 is mounted in the front of the car, but as low and as far back as possible, with most of the block behind the front axle line.

The result lowers the centre of gravity and helps to deliver the optimum front to rear weight distribution. It also permits use of a long bonnet to accentuate the classic coupé silhouette.

Suspension design uses lightweight aluminium components to reduce weight as much as possible. With a double wishbone set up at the front, a multi-link arrangement mounted on a subframe behind and an extremely rigid bodyshell, EX feels agile and surefooted with a refined ride.

With extensive use of high strength steel throughout the shell and added strengthening elements in critical parts of the structure – notably under floor crossmembers and C-pillar reinforcements – EX has exceptionally high torsional rigidity and lateral bending resistance.

As well as boosting handling, the rigid body improves refinement thanks to low levels of vibration and improved resonance.

To keep weight to a minimum, however, extensive use has been made of lightweight parts. As well as featuring in the suspension systems, aluminium is used for the EX37 bonnet, while the tailgate is resin. Were steel to be used for those elements, EX37 would be some 50kg heavier. As a result EX37 is one of the lightest cars in its class.

Ride quality is also helped by the use of advanced Dual Flow Path (DFP) dampers which reduce low speed vibration that leads to a choppy ride and which further reduce levels of body roll.

An essential element of its crossover role is the adoption of Infiniti’s ATTESA E-TS (Advanced Total Traction Engineering System for All Electronic Torque Split) all-wheel drive system.

Also available on the G37, the system uses an active torque distribution management system with an active centre clutch for smooth starts, greater grip and better manoeuvrability on slippery surfaces without compromising the vehicle’s rear-wheel drive performance characteristics on dry roads.

By constantly adjusting the power – sending anything from 50 per cent to the front, to up to 100 per cent to the rear – the system generates greater control without sacrificing sportiness and true performance dynamics.

Unlike permanent 4x4 systems, which deaden the steering feel and dull the driving dynamics, the electromagnetic torque transfer at the heart of ATTESA E-TS intelligent all-wheel drive’s system permits an element of oversteer for a more sporting drive.

Vehicle stability is further enhanced by Electronic Stability Program (ESP) with is a standard fit. Intelligent all-wheel drive works with ESP and the limited-slip differential, constantly shifting torque as the EX37 encounters changes in the road conditions when, within milliseconds, it will apportion power to the wheels with the most grip.

The system is most active in trickier weather conditions. As the EX37 navigates snow, ice, or heavy rain, power is continuously apportioned to the wheel or wheels with the best traction.

Power-assisted four-wheel vented disc brakes have a four-channel, four-sensor Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BA). A further refinement is the availability of Intelligent Brake Assist (IBA). An integral part of Intelligent Cruise Control, when the system detects that a collision with a car in front is imminent it first warns the driver and then brakes the car itself.

The braking system is just one aspect of the EX37 that has been tuned to meet European needs where higher average speeds mean higher deceleration requirements. A team of dedicated Infiniti engineers based at Nissan’s Technical Centre Europe (NTCE) have also fine tuned suspension settings and optimised aerodynamic efficiency for greater higher speed stability.

The power steering system provides optimum steering effort at both high and low vehicle speeds.

Infiniti EX | Part Three
Published 25 February 2008 Melanie Carter

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