2013 Infiniti EX37: Behind the wheel of an artful dodger
Nobody needs an Infiniti EX37. Yet after a wintry week behind the wheel of this Aspen Pearl 2013 specimen, I can see how one might want one.
Infiniti’s luxury mid-size crossover has all the things to get your emotional right brain hopping — a vocal V6 with right-now throttle response, an intimate and artful interior and a sharp all-wheel-drive chassis featuring a most entertaining rear-drive bias. Conversely, its form-over-function styling translates to cramped rear quarters and woeful cargo capacity. This will have your left brain harrumphing dismissively.
Indeed, this curvy crossover is not for everybody, and its as-tested price of $53,700 pushes it further into a pricey niche.
The EX, now into its sixth year, goes from EX35 to EX37 for 2013 with the addition of a 3.7L VQ-series DOHC V6, replacing the 3.5 L unit. Power jumps from 297 hp to 325 hp, and torque increases by 14 lb.-ft. to 267. The engine is hooked to a 7-speed auto and AWD is standard. Pricing starts at $39,900, which pits it against the identically-stickered BMW X1 35i xDrive with its lovely 300 hp 300 lb.-ft. turbo straight-six.
I’m a fan of the current Infiniti G37 sedan on which this EX37 is based. Over the years, Infiniti has been so intent on decoding the BMW 3 Series with the G sedan, they’ve created their own brand of performance sedan that, while old news in the current climate of fresh offerings, sure doesn’t feel like old news when behind the wheel. Actually, it does, if you count great feeling hydraulic steering (all but extinct) and the big capacity naturally-aspirated V6s (somewhat endangered) as old news.
The G37 sedan shows a dynamic cohesiveness that, had the latest BMW 3 Series possessed, may have had us genuflecting to Munich in hushed reverence.
But I digress. Jump into the 2013 EX37 and you get the same experience. The seats hug you reassuringly, the cabin seems to wrap itself around you and the chunky steering wheel accurately directs a chassis that transmits its every intention — all of which is good.
The 3.7 L V6 is very strong and linear, although it gets harsh in the upper reaches. The EX37 is such a sporty and engaging performer, I kept flicking at shift paddles that weren’t there: Certainly an oversight in this environment.
It snowed a lot that week, which gave me a chance to use snow mode (activated by a rocker switch aft of the shifter) which puts the AWD system into an initial 50/50 torque split and reduces throttle sensitivity. Normally, the EX37 runs mostly as a rear-drive vehicle with the active electromagnetic centre clutch only sending torque up front under acceleration and when traction issues arise.
Infiniti do lovely interiors, and they’ve hit on an organic design signature that is all their own. There is warmth in here you don’t find in the German brands, and quality and workmanship is equal to the best. At night, the white and violet illumination is high art.
The big touchscreen with its angled panel of controls below is easy to figure out and operate.
This tester layered on the luxury goodies with a host of packages. The $4,150 Premium Package added Homelink, an excellent 11-speaker Bose system, front and rear park assist, around view monitor, 8-way passenger seat, advanced climate control and 19-inch alloys.
Getting Bluetooth required the $3,900 Journey Package that also includes a moonroof and maple wood accents. Ouch. Navigation with voice activation ran $2,900, and the $2,500 Technology Package bestowed adaptive cruise control with lane departure warning and intelligent brake assist.
Using four wide-angle cameras and some clever software, the Around View Monitor (AVM) gives a bird’s-eye view of the EX37 and its immediate surroundings. Very useful when negotiating tight places as the blind spots in the CUV are significant.
There aren’t many mid-size crossovers that offer all the expected luxury trappings alongside this lust for enthusiastic driving. And there’s not much of a trade off either. Yes, the ride is more firm than cushy, and yes, your partner will punch you in the arm when power-oversteering through snowy bends. All worth it, I say.
Things in the back aren’t quite so rosy. Legroom is at a premium — you wouldn’t put three people you like back there — and the footwells are cramped. Exacerbating the situation is the auto-retracting driver’s seat that’s its rearmost position until the car starts.
As would be expected, that sloping roofline seriously impinges on cargo space. With the power-folding rear seats down, there’s a reasonably flat and functional load space, but with the seats in place I couldn’t even fit my Golden Retriever.
Probably a good thing. She hates oversteer almost as much as my wife.
2013 Infiniti G37
BASE PRICE/AS TESTED: $39,900 /$53,700
ENGINE: 3.7L DOHC V6
POWER/TORQUE: 325 hp; 267 lb.-ft.
FUEL CONSUMPTION L/100 km: 12.1 city, 8.1 hwy.
COMPETITION: BMW X3, BMW X1 35i, Range Rover Evoque, Mercedes Benz GLK 350, Lexus RDX, Land Rover LR2, Audi Q5, Cadillac SRX
WHAT’S BEST: premium digs, sport sedan handling
WHAT’S WORST: tight back seat, little space behind it
WHAT’S INTERESTING: with Infiniti’s upcoming nomenclature change, the EX37 becomes the QX50
The vehicle reviewed by freelance writer Peter Bleakney was provided by the manufacturer. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
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