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Road Tests

Infiniti FX50 S Premium

A car you wouldn’t expect to see hung on bedroom walls

Price: £58,280

Engine capacity: 5.0-litre V8 petrol

Power Output (PS@rpm): 390@6,500

Top speed (mph): 155

0-60 mph (seconds): 5.8

Fuel economy (mpg): 21.6

CO2 emissions (g/km): 307

This is the new FX50 from Infiniti and if you’ve never heard of it before, you are not alone. Infiniti is the high-performance sub-division of Nissan and it has big ambitions to shake up the European luxury car market. It’s opening new dealerships across the county, refreshing its range of saloons and SUVs (including the FX50 S Premium I’ve tested) and has signed an engine deal with Mercedes in pursuit of its aims to become a major player by the end of the decade.

There’s obviously a big pot of Japanese yen behind this, but the firm has a long way to go. Last year it sold just 600 cars in Britain and most of these were bought by well-heeled footballers of dubious taste from Alderley Edge and Chelsea. Top marks then to the two little boys at the end of my road who excitedly nailed the name and model of my test Infiniti first time. Who knew? It’s not the sort of car I had on my wall as a child but perhaps poster tastes are changing.

Climb inside the FX50 and it becomes a little more obvious why local wannabe petrol-heads wouldn’t say no to a glossy poster-sized version. The Japanese firm has packed in just about every gadget known to man, including radar-guided cruise control, a lane departure warning system, electronically adjustable and heated seats and powered tailgate. Infiniti you see is big on standard features, so unlike its rivals the only options available are a media pack and some fancy paint and upholstery.

When my local boy racers are old enough to drive (in about 10 years) they’ll probably like its selection of engines too. They range from a gutsy 3.0-litre diesel in the entry-level FX30d to the range-topping 5.0-litre V8 in my test model. It’s a big old car but its in-gear acceleration is immense and easily handles my usual swift cross-country run without any fuss. Something this large shouldn’t feel so accomplished or so comfortable at speed, but unlike many performance SUVs, the FX50 doesn’t leave you drenched in sweet and panicking at the prospect of a tight bend ahead.

For a car that hides it size so well on the road, it’s a shame that it isn’t actually the most roomy of rides. Realistically it’s more of a sports coupé than a proper SUV, so you’ll struggle if you want to load four or five adults with all their gear for a long journey. Its fuel economy and emissions are terrible when compared with BMW, Audi and Mercedes (who are all working hard, with mixed results, to shake off the Chelsea  Tractor reputation of their bigger cars). I don’t think the kids at the end of my road will mind though. The FX50 is an odd car from a company most people will have never heard off, but that’s exactly what some eccentric buyers are looking for. Now all I need to do is find a shop that stocks posters of it.