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Bogdan Nitulescu, Tremend
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Suitable for all terrain and all-seasons, the crossover SUV Infiniti EX makes its official entry onto the Romanian market. Adrian Ion takes the delux Japanese motor for a spin

April 2010 - From the Print Edition

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Making its debut on the Romanian car market is the luxury Japanese manufacturer Infiniti. Imported by a division of Auto Italia, the brand was present on the market until last year through unofficial importers, mainly from the USA, and the most popular model was the sporty SUV, the FX.
Infiniti is a brand that has enjoyed huge success in America, where people pay little attention to gas consumption or high taxes on big engines. This is why in Europe the brand has a tougher time in its battle for market share with the highly efficient German manufacturers. Its weapons in this contest are great engines and top technical and trim specifications, combined with attractive prices.
I tested the smaller crossover SUV in the range - the EX - a subsegment that is becoming more jammed than ever before. The EX is fitted with an excellent engine that is spread throught the Infiniti range and can also be found in the sporty Nissan 350Z. This is a 3.7 V6 petrol that develops 320 HP and takes the car from 0 to 100 in 5.6 seconds. This is impressive not only on paper, but also in real life. There are cars that even though they have great performance figures in technical specs, when driven they seem slow and heavy, with gear boxes and transmissions that donít match the engine of the car.
This is not the case with the EX, because this car is a real pleasure to drive. It is smooth and more comfortable to cruise than you would expect, taking into account the oversized alloy wheels that come as standard. Most impressive is the way the automatic seven-speed gearbox works with the engine, getting the best out of it. It is a great joy to rev the engine close to the red zone that starts after 7,500 rpm. I was besotted.
Handling is crisp and does not give the sensation a driver is in some sort of an SUV with the usual slippery handling and body roll. The increased ground clearance and four wheel drive score important points in the practicality and versatility of the car - but a big minus in the competition with equivalent models is the boot space, which is noticeably smaller.
The EX that I test drove was the GT version, which costs almost 50,000 Euro. This is not cheap, but the car is packed with electronic gadgets, leather seats and other features that will cost a lot of money in competing models.
For this price a driver is rewarded with a brilliant engine that works perfectly with the transmission and a top spec car to enjoy all the year around.

Vital statistics
Engine: 3.7-litre 24-valve V6 emissions Euro 5 , horsepower - 320 hp @ 7,000 rpm - Torque 360 Nm @ 5,200 rpm
Transmission: Electronically controlled 7-speed automatic. Driver-adaptive learning algorithm senses driving style and adjusts automatic shifting accordingly.
Performance: top Speed 240km/h and 0-100km/h - 6.4s
Fuel consumption: 11.3 l/100km combined, 8.6 l/100km motorway, 16.0 l/100km urban

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