2008 BMW X6 xDrive35i vs. 2009 Infiniti FX35 AWD – Comparison – Truck Trend

2 Sep 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on 2008 BMW X6 xDrive35i vs. 2009 Infiniti FX35 AWD – Comparison – Truck Trend
Infiniti FX35

The X-Factor: Which fashion-forward sport/ute rules the runway?

Perfectly pointless. After taking the X6 xDrive 35i home for a night, that’s how editor-in-chief MacKenzie summarizes the X6. It’s a damning critique of BMW’s latest as a flawless execution of a worst-of-both-worlds concept: sport-coupe practicality with SUV-like handling.

Not only does his characterization misinterpret reams of BMW’s finest marketing literature, it directly contradicts the opinion of resident snapper Vance. He took the same Bimmer to San Diego the next day and came back declaring the X6 the sexiest German import since Heidi Klum.

Who’s right? Who’s wrong? We decided to find out by pitting the X6 xDrive 35i against its clearest rival, the 2009 Infiniti FX35.

Polarizing Profiles

If standard American SUVs are basic-blue Wal-Mart Levis, these two are dual-ring-spun, left-hand-twill ultra-skinnies from Europe and Japan. They are the very definition of slaves to fashion, the practical made impractical, but oh-so-stylish.

They’re compromised designs, to be sure, both surgically enhanced for va-va-voom at the expense of utility. The Infiniti’s 2009 FX35 is less overt about it. As always, it seats five in a comparatively tighter cabin than its more traditional SUV rivals.

The chop-top X6 is less subtle: The measuring tape reveals X5 roots and a subsequent size advantage. The BMW is 0.7 inch longer, 2.2 inches wider, 1.5 inches taller, with a wheelbase 1.9 inch longer than the FX’s. At 4987 pounds, the X6 is 694 pounds heavier than the FX.

Admittedly, the X6 is the looker of the two. A quick office poll puts the Bimmer ahead by a margin of nearly three to one, but more telling is how emphatic the X6 supporters are, while FX fans seem almost apologetic. Compare response from photog Vance, I guarantee that for the first six months they’re on sale, the X6 will be the hottest ride in L.A.! to that of associate editor Harwood, Call me crazy, but I like how the FX looks.

Senior editor Kiino sums up the FX this way, Infiniti didn’t change much with the styling, but then again, it didn’t really have to-the current car still looks wild, aggressive, and fresh. Maybe, but technical editor Reynolds finds the FX to be horrific looking. Granted, the Infiniti has its issues.

It’s weird looking from the front three-quarter angle, where many of its zaftig curves all seem to coincide. The grille is much wider than before and composed of dark-chrome plastic waves rather than slats. Fiercely restyled headlights are pushed far to the corners, wrapping around like eyes on a hammerhead shark.

Add in the chrome side gills and the whole effect is a bit fishy. Up close, the FX’s front end resembles a catfish’s mouth and the grille is rather gaudy, but from a distance it looks mean, says Kiino.

On the inside, the BMW garners high marks for elegance, build quality, and cohesiveness. Fans of the brand will feel perfectly at home in the X6’s richly appointed cabin, but first-timers coming from other luxury brands may have nits to pick with the details, particularly iDrive. While the X6 has a backup camera and the sonar Park Distance Control system, both systems pale in comparison with the FX’s goodies-particularly the Around View Mode, a bird’s-eye viewing system that has to be seen to be believed.

Infiniti FX35

The X6 interior is businesslike, not trying to impress anyone with cool lighting or exotic wood. That said, it does come across as a bit cold and austere, notes Kiino. I prefer the FX’s interior-it’s cleaner, more straightforward, and, despite being all-black, warmer.

The design and the layout are inviting, with all the controls in easy-to-find places.

The X6’s shifter looks like a fancy Bang Olufsen remote, but has a hollow, almost cheap feel. Pushing forward to downshift, as nature intended, is quick but artificial-feeling. With the FX’s more traditional beefy-triggered lever, backward tugs evoke downshifts from the all-new seven-speed auto.

While it shifts slower than the BMW’s, the action is nicer, with a bit of resistance that feels more like actual cog swapping.

Same goes for the FX’s steering-column-mounted paddles. These slim, rubber-trimmed alloy crescents have enough travel to serve up a satisfying gearshift ka-thunk. Reynolds prefers them over the X6’s dual-action, wheel-mounted buttons on the skidpad and figure eight.

The FX’s fixed-position paddles mean he doesn’t have to chase them around during large steering inputs.

Legroom for driver and front passenger is tighter in the FX as the transmission hump protrudes in from the center line. The trade-off is a lower-riding, more carlike feel, one advantage of being based off Nissan’s FM car platform versus a traditional SUV like the X6.

Kneepads mounted ahead of the X6’s shifter are the giveaway. At first, they seem like a thoughtful bit of kit, but after driving the FX, you realize why the Infiniti doesn’t need them. While you don’t exactly flop and flail about in the BMW, there’s more of a feeling of sitting on top of the car, rather than in it, especially as it leans into corners.With the Infiniti’s center armrest folded down, the rear seats are nearly identical-the main difference is that while the FX has a spot for a fifth passenger, the X6 has a console and pass-through for long items. Both split 60/40 for additional cargo room, though the volume advantage goes to the X6 when the seats are up.

Legroom is competitive as well; each has inches to spare between the kneecap to the back of the driver’s seat for this six-foot editor with a 32-inch inseam (assuming an identically proportioned driver). Headroom is naturally compromised, slightly more so in the X6, where bouffant ‘dos will brush up against the headliner. More disturbing is turning to look out the side window and finding the X6’s sloping C-pillar so close.

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