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Back in March, at the Geneva Auto Show, 2010 Formula One World Champion Sebastian Vettel and Infiniti‘s Chief Creative Officer, Shiro Nakamura got chatting.
The topic of discussion was a faster and better performing version of the company’s premium crossover utility; the V8 powered FX50. Now, some six months later at the Frankfurt Auto Show, what began as a chat has emerged as a concept representing Infiniti’s most exclusive and best performing SUV yet, the aptly named FX50 Sebastian Vettel Version.
The reigning F1 champ currently uses an FX as regular transportation, but wanted to see how much further the envelope could be pushed in terms of performance. “I drive a lot in Germany on motorways that have no speed limits and have enjoyed my FX around the Nürburgring Nordschleife,” he said. “Driving at high speed where safe and legal is part of my life. As well as a higher top speed I wanted even better stability in my FX, and that meant working on the aerodynamics. It is a tribute to the excellence of the standard FX that achieving all my targets required so few changes.”
Whereas Vettel is used to having a team of engineers build a car around his specific requirements, for the FX SV, being able to provide his own input towards a production-based vehicle was a refreshing change of pace. Weighing considerably less than the standard FX50 and powered by a 5.0-liter V8 generating 420 horsepower, the Sebastian Vettel version boasts true supercar performance, with seating for the family.
“It’s a Infiniti I am very proud to have my name on,” he declared. “It is all I hoped for: 300km/h (186 mph) top speed, plenty of downforce – and I can still fit my mountain bike in the back. Plus it is totally exclusive – and as an Infiniti driver, myself; that’s important.”
GALLERY: Infiniti FX Sebastian Vettel Version
Infiniti‘s FX crossover is getting a price cut for the upcoming model year, in light of a sales drop of 12.4% year-to-year. The FX35 gets a $1,250 reduction while the FX50 gets a $2,600 discount.
A rear-drive FX35 will start at$41,600 while the all-wheel-drive model will cost $43,050. The V8 powered FX50 tops out at $56,400.
The FX’s downturn is highlighted by its drop from 2009 sales, which were poor by normal standards. While Infiniti is up significantly this year, the FX appears to be lagging behind the rest of the lineup, and the brand is looking for ways to help move more units.