2008 Infiniti EX35
2008 Infiniti EX35. Click image to enlarge

Review and photos by Bob McHugh

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Santa Monica, California – With its expanding stable of competitively-priced, performance-oriented vehicles, it seems like Infiniti has finally found its groove in luxury class auto world.

Infiniti unveiled the EX concept at the 2007 New York auto show and described it as “a fusion of a luxury coupe and a sport utility vehicle.” The EX concept went from the auto show turntable to showroom floor in a New York minute (described by Johnny Carson as “the time it takes from the lights to turn green, till the guy behind you starts honking his horn”).

Smaller than Infiniti’s other cross-utility vehicle, the FX35, the new EX35 integrates style cues from the recently introduced G37 Coupe.
The EX should start arriving at Infiniti retailers in December and pricing is expected to start in the mid-forties.

In addition to a seductive design and an elegant interior, the EX also offers an array of new technology systems. These include some industry firsts, such as an Around View Monitor (AVM) system, a Lane Departure Prevention (DLP) system and Scratch Shield paint.

The advanced Around View Monitor (AVM) system takes the back-up camera to a new level. It uses four small cameras that give the driver a “top-down” bird’s eye 360-degree view of the outside of the vehicle while parking.

2008 Infiniti EX35
2008 Infiniti EX35
2008 Infiniti EX35. Click image to enlarge

The LDP system first alerts the driver with an audible/visual warning if the vehicle moves outside its designated traffic lane. It then uses the vehicle’s Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) system to assist the driver maintain lane position, using the brakes to nudge it back into its lane.

You could call it “self-healing” clear-coat paint: Scratch Shield has the unique ability erase fine scratches, such as fingernail scratches under door handles, and can restore the surface close to its original state, according to Infiniti. The process takes anywhere from one day to one week (depending on the surrounding temperature and the depth of the scratch). So, I’m unable to confirm the healing powers of the highly elastic resin used in this special paint clear-coat. Not that I would have minded hanging around beautiful sun-drenched Santa Monica for a few more days.

In Canada, the ’08 Infiniti EX35 will be available in two models: EX35 AWD and EX35 AWD Journey. The up-level Journey model includes power slide/tilt moonroof with one-touch activation, power-folding second row seat, auto-dimming inside mirror with electronic compass, HomeLink Universal Transceiver, front and rear sonar system and auto on/off headlights.

There will also be a number of packages and stand-alone options available, including Premium Package, Custom Leather Package, Navigation Package and Technology Package. A fully-loaded EX35 is likely to be in the mid-fifties.


A smooth coupe-like roofline curves over a cabin that’s set back on the chassis to allow a longer front nose and hood. Signature exterior touches include the double-arch grille, large L-shaped headlights and what Infiniti calls its “dynamic arch” profile.

Short body overhangs, beyond the wheels, in both the front and the rear also add to the sporty proportions of the EX35; and it has a nice wave-like character line on the side that connects the front headlights to the taillights. Roof rails are standard on Canadian models.


2008 Infiniti EX35
2008 Infiniti EX35
2008 Infiniti EX35
2008 Infiniti EX35. Click image to enlarge

The dash layout is Infiniti’s signature “double-wave” design with a centrally positioned oval analog clock. The instrument panel illumination is white-and-violet and Infiniti’s Intelligent Key, a standard push-button engine start/stop ignition system, is on the right.

Four leather interiors colours are offered and they were inspired by the seasons, according to Ian Forsyth, Director, Infiniti Product Planning. “The EX35’s interior is all about driving pleasure and passenger comfort,” said Forsyth. “Like the exterior, it offers a coupe-like feel but surprising utility – ideal for today’s active lifestyles.”

A high-gloss black lacquer trim comes standard on the centre console and centre stack, with optional Maple wood trim. High in the centre stack is a seven-inch colour screen that displays the trip computer and other vehicle information. It’s also the display for an optional navigation system, which comes with a 9.3GB hard drive for music storage.

Other technology systems available include a Bluetooth Hands-Free Phone System, XM Satellite Radio and XM NavTraffic, front and rear sonar system, Intelligent Cruise Control (ICC) and Bose Premium Audio System with Burr-Brown 24-bit DAC, 11 speakers including two subwoofers, and six-CD in-dash changer.

An eight-way power driver’s seat with two-way manual lumbar support is standard and a memory feature is also offered. Unique interior features include a coat hanger that’s built into the back of the driver’s head restraint and 60/40 split power-folding 2nd row seats, which can be operated from front or hatch area.

Driving impressions

The driver sits lower in an EX than in most utility vehicles, although not as low as a sedan. The driver’s seat was particularly comfortable and the classy decor and attention to detail leave little doubt that you’re piloting a luxury class vehicle.

2008 Infiniti EX35
2008 Infiniti EX35
2008 Infiniti EX35. Click image to enlarge

Power comes from a fourth-generation VQ-series 3.5-litre V6 engine, which it shares with the G35 Sedan. Rated at 297-horsepower this is a sweet motor that does its job quietly unless you ask for a quick response. A raspy tone lets you know it’s happy to oblige. The award winning VQ is my favourite V6 engine. It features variable exhaust cam timing, a “noiseless” timing chain, microfinished crank journals and cam lobes, molybdenum coated lightweight pistons and a “drive-by-wire” throttle system.

Said Forsyth, “The EX35’s tuning strategy features a refined balance of quick acceleration that builds continuously to the redline. It’s a deepening pleasure that keeps getting better as you drive, which we call ‘Swell’.”

And ‘swell’ it certainly is, since the V6 is mated to an equally impressive five-speed automatic transmission. In addition to conventional ‘D’ mode, there’s a manual mode and a DS sport mode that offers downshift rev matching (DRM), and Adaptive Shift Control.
My drive route first took me inland as far as Burbank and then north out of L.A. on Mulholland Drive through Malibu Creek State Park. They were all dry paved roads, so I didn’t have an opportunity to seriously press the all-wheel-drive system, which is standard on all Canadian models (the US gets a rear-drive version).

2008 Infiniti EX35
2008 Infiniti EX35. Click image to enlarge

There were significant changes in elevation along this twisty route, until I eventually cut back down to the Pacific Coast Highway. The twisty blacktop did give me a chance to appreciate the supple ride qualities of the suspension and the good handling characteristics of the EX. The EX has a sub-frame mounted independent strut and coil spring suspension in the front, similar to the FX. In the rear, it has a unique multi-link design with aluminum-alloy upper and lower links.


With a nice size, strikingly good looks, and a plush yet versatile interior, the new EX35 looks like a winner for Infiniti.

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