Boasting avant-garde coupé looks and a practical, roomy interior with the commanding driving position and All-Wheel Drive traction expected from an SUV, the Infiniti EX37 really does provide the best of all worlds.
"Infiniti prides itself on offering something different with each of its model ranges, but the Infiniti EX37 is easily the most different of all," says Jim Wright, Vice President, Infiniti Europe.
"It's the perfect fusion of a compact Crossover and a stylish coupé: there's nothing quite like it on the market today... though we are certain that rival manufacturers will quickly try to follow suit with their own variations on the theme."
But there's more to the remarkable Infiniti EX37 than a groundbreaking concept. Built to the same exacting standards as all Infiniti models, Infiniti EX37 offers an exceptional combination of elegance, style, performance and technology.
It is the first production vehicle in the world to benefit from the advanced Around View Monitor system that gives the driver a bird's eye view of the vehicle while it's being parked. Another standard feature is Infiniti's unique 'self-healing' scratch shield paint.
Powered by the same smooth and potent 3.7-litre V6 as the Infiniti G37, top speed is 240 km/h (149 mph), while 0-100 km/h takes 6.4 seconds.
There are two versions of the innovative crossover on offer - the generously equipped Infiniti EX37 and the more luxurious EX37 GT with leather upholstery and power front seats with memory function.
"Because it is such a versatile offering, Infiniti EX37 will attract a wide audience. It's the perfect vehicle for a young family, or a sports enthusiast who enjoys skiing or cycling. It will appeal to the coupé owner who needs more space in his or her car but isn't prepared to sacrifice style to get it," says Bastien Schupp, Marketing Director, Infiniti Europe.
Despite its Crossover status, Infiniti EX37 has been designed following traditional Coupé lines. That means a stretched wheelbase, long bonnet, short overhangs and a sharply tapering roofline. 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 the rivals with its 2800mm wheelbase, its compact overall shape help give Infiniti EX37 the best aerodynamic positioning in the sector.
Above all, though, it's the balanced harmony of its lines that help Infiniti EX37 claim its 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 wheel arches 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 elegant eight-spoke 18 inch alloy wheels and fog lamps which are set deep into the front aero bumper.
The interior of Infiniti EX37 is designed to appeal to driver and passengers alike. Quality materials provide the warmth, comfort and sophistication - aided by the black lacquer and aluminium trim - expected in a luxury saloon yet the driver's quarters have a 'scooped-out' design to emphasise the concept of a cockpit in direct contrast to the open, spacious design of the passenger area.
Uniquely in its class, Infiniti EX37 eases the loading and unloading of luggage with remote lowering and raising of the rear seat back rest. Each portion of the split folding backrest can be lowered simply by pressing a button in the rear of the trunk area.
And even more easily, the backrest can be raised electrically by pressing a button on the centre console. Load space is enhanced by a 45-litre underfloor storage compartment.
Engine and powertrain
Infiniti EX37 is powered by a new 3.7-litre version of Nissan's VQ engine family. Regularly honoured in independent awards the world over, the twin cam 24 valve V6 produces 235 kW (320 PS) and an impressive 360 Nm of torque at 5,200 rpm.
Among its many features, the lightweight aluminium engine features a bed-plate construction. A technique that has been used in motor racing for many years, the resulting two-part construction of the cylinder block is more rigid than a single piece casting. Among engine specialists, this configuration signifies a high-performance sporting engine which is uncompromisingly designed for the highest strength and reliability.
Other benefits include reduced vibration levels and higher engine speeds to be reached consistently without damage.
The VQ37 unit also features VVEL (Variable Valve Event and Lift) technology to optimise efficiency and, in turn, the balance between power, response, fuel efficiency and emissions.
VVEL continually alters valve lift and therefore the quantity of air in the combustion chamber. At partial throttle - in stop-go city traffic, for example - it will make a small lift thus achieving a more precise fuel/air mix with lower quantities of both to improve fuel consumption. At full throttle, the valve lift is greater, inducting a larger quantity of air into the combustion chamber.
The result is a more powerful combustion phase increasing torque and power... while the increase in power is balanced by more efficient combustion to the benefit of fuel economy and lower emissions compared to standard valve lift systems.
Precise mapping of the ECU, meanwhile, helps the engine provide a progressive 'swell' of power and torque, providing a 'building wave' of acceleration rather than a peaky power delivery.
It gives Infiniti EX37 a top speed of 240 km/h (149 mph) with 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) taking 6.4 seconds. Fuel economy over the combined cycle is 11.2 l/100kms (25.2 mpg) while the CO2 figure is 267 g/km. The engine is fully compliant with Euro 5 emission level requirements.
Standard on EX37 is Infiniti's new seven-speed automatic gearbox with Adaptive Shift Control (ASC). With its additional forward gear, the new transmission has a wider spread of ratios which benefits both fuel consumption and drivability. The seventh speed is effectively an overdrive ratio, returning improved fuel economy on a steady throttle without compromising in-gear flexibility for overtaking.
Shift points can be tuned to keep the engine in the largest part of the torque curve, ensuring there is always a healthy reserve when the driver wants to overtake. The linked ASC system switches between three different programs depending on input from the major control systems throughout the car.
Chassis and driving dynamics
Infiniti EX37 uses the second generation version of Infiniti's FM platform in which the engine is located in a 'front midship' 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 to use of a long bonnet to accentuate the classic coupé silhouette.
The fully independent suspension 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 body shell, Infiniti EX37 feels agile and surefooted with a refined ride.
With extensive use of high strength steel throughout the shell and added strengthening element in critical parts of the structure - notably under floor cross members and C-pillar reinforcements - Infiniti EX37 has exceptionally high torsional rigidity and lateral bending resistance. As well as boosting handling, the rigid body benefits to NVH performance.
To keep weight to a minimum, however, extensive use has been made of aluminium and other lightweight parts. As well as featuring extensively in the suspension systems, aluminium is used for the Infiniti EX37 bonnet, while the tailgate is resin. As a result Infiniti 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 lead 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 models, 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 the Intelligent AWD's system permits an element of oversteer for a more sporting drive.
Intelligent All-Wheel Drive works with Electronic Stability Program (ESP) and the Limited-Slip Differential, constantly shifting torque as Infiniti EX37 encounter changes in the road conditions when, within milliseconds, it will apportion power to the wheels with the most grip.
The system is most active off the highway. As Infiniti EX37 navigates snow, sand or mud, 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. 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 Infiniti 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 is a vehicle-speed-sensing type with a twin-orifice structure, which provides optimum steering effort at both high and low vehicle speeds.
Standard and optional equipment
Infiniti EX37 offers a full complement of standard equipment including seven speed automatic transmission, Intelligent All-Wheel Drive, six airbags and speed sensitive power steering.
Every EX37 also features the Infiniti I-Key with smart access and push button starter. As soon as the vehicle identifies a pre-programmed I-Key in the vicinity, the door can be opened and the car started without the key needing to leave a pocket or handbag.
Also standard are darkened privacy glass, a six-disc, seven-speaker CD audio system with an RCA AUX-in jack socket for MP3 players as well as Bluetooth mobile phone connectivity, cruise control, power seats, auto-dimming rear view mirror, front and rear parking sensors, automatic lights and wipers, 18-inch alloy wheels, and integrated fog lamps. The leather-trimmed steering wheel incorporates controls for the audio system, cruise control and telephone.
Like all Infiniti models sold in Europe, EX37 offers standard "Scratch Shield" paint. A special highly elastic resin has been combined with a conventional clearcoat to increase the paint's flexibility allowing the finish to exhibit up to five times fewer scratches that a conventional clearcoat when exposed to the same conditions. When exposed to heat, "Scratch Shield Paint" repairs fine scratches, restoring painted surfaces close to their original state.
The GT version adds power rake and reach adjustment for the steering column, leather upholstery, 10 way power driver's seat, 8-way power passenger seat, heated front seats, tilt mirrors when reversing and an integrated jacket hanger on the driver's headrest. Personal settings for the driver's seat, steering wheel and exterior mirrors can be programmed into the key so that the key holder won't have to reposition anything if the car has been driven by anyone else.
Among the options available are a 'Multimedia' pack which includes a DVD navigation system, rear view parking camera, voice recognition and Bose® Premium sound. The 11-speaker Bose® sound system is custom designed specifically for the unique acoustics of the Infiniti EX37 cabin to help reproduce music with clarity and spaciousness. Bose® and Infiniti engineers have worked together in order to cleverly integrate the bass module in the spare wheel, hence listeners can enjoy music with depth and presence while optimizing load space.
An additional option that can be added to the Multimedia pack is the Around View Monitor. The system uses small cameras mounted at the front, rear and integrated in the door mirrors of Infiniti EX37 to project an all-round view of potential obstacles on every side of the vehicle.
A natural extension of Infiniti's rear view parking camera, the Around View Monitor uses the eight inch colour screen to display a bird's eye view of the car as it parks, enabling the driver to negotiate a tight parking spot without mishap.
Also available are an Adaptive Front-light System (AFS) and Intelligent Cruise Control operating in "Full Speed Range". With AFS, the Xenon headlamps are linked to steering inputs and automatically follow the path of the front wheels to provide a wide spread of light around corners and on winding roads. ICC uses brake, throttle and laser sensors to help maintain a set distance between Infiniti EX37 and the car in front. The software allows ICC to work from 0km/h to 180km/h thanks to the "Full Speed Range" feature.
Other options include polished aluminium roof rails, metallic paint, electric glass sunroof, temporary spare wheel (replacing standard tire repair kit) and a maple wood interior trim.
High levels of passive safety were a priority at the design stage. As a result, the Infiniti EX37 has a full complement of six airbags, with dual-stage front airbags, seat belt sensors and passenger seat occupancy sensor. The front seats incorporate hip and thorax bags, while there are front-to-rear curtain airbags for protection in a side impact.
Like all Infiniti products, quality is a central to the success of Infiniti EX37. On the Tochigi production line in Japan every vehicle - not just every tenth - is laser scanned to ensure that panel gaps are within prescribed limits.
During the design and development phase, new models are exhaustively tested not just at Infiniti's Hokkaido proving ground but also at the Tochigi and Motegi test and race complexes in Japan. Infiniti also has a vast 12.34 million square metre hot weather-testing base in Arizona.
Testing every Infiniti in the harshest of conditions and over thousands and thousands of kilometres ensures the durability and peace of mind that buyers can expect from the products.