FX Vettel Edition
this for timing? The day after
Sebastian Vettel is crowned the
2012 Formula 1 World Champion,
sitting behind the wheel of a car
named after him. Sadly, the man
himself has not turned up to show
me the car personally. I dont
WELCOME TO THE NEW INFINITI FX VETTEL EDITION. The idea for this F1 driver-badged
car started when, as a Red Bull sponsor, Infiniti asked Vettel about a personal
car. He took a look at Infiniti's range and the obvious choice was the FX, which
Infiniti kindly agreed to radically alter to please the German driver.
The result is that, after two years of development (with Vettel involved throughout),
you can buy your very own Infiniti FX Vettel Edition. But will it please us
as much as Herr Vettel?
It certainly looks the part. That swoopy FX shape
and available only in Moonlight White
becomes much meaner with a bunch of aerodynamic tweaks to give it extra downforce
at high speeds. All the new bodywork add-ons are,
in Formula 1-grade carbon-fibre.
new under-bumper front section is supposedly inspired by the design of Vettel's
Red Bull F1 front wing. You can also find carbon nestling in the front grille
blades, covering the door mirrors and forming the new side skirts.
The standard FX50s
is boosted to 414bhp,
while torque is also
by 14lb ft to 383lb ft.
That makes this the
most powerful Infiniti ever made...
The wheelarches are white rather than black, and the Vettel Edition becomes
the only FX not to have roof rails.
A row of LED front daytime running lights join what are claimed to be the smallest
LED foglights ever homologated. Now there's a fact to bamboozle your mates down
At the back, the rear diffuser incorporates two exhaust pipes and a foglight
that echoes the centre rain light of an F1 car. The carbon tailgate spoiler
you can see in the photos is an optional extra costing an eye-watering £4,500.
The net result of all these changes is 30% more downforce than the standard
car, and 5% less drag.
Unique BBS 21-inch forged alloys (each weighing 3.5kg less than a standard FX
wheel) are finished in black. Three discreet Vettel badges on the car (two on
the flanks; one on the tailgate) let everyone know you're driving one of the
world's rarest cars.
So much for aesthetics. What about the mechanical side? The only change to the
drivetrain is a new exhaust system, which unleashes an extra 29bhp. The 385bhp
of the standard FX50's naturally-aspirated 5.0-litre V8 engine is boosted to
414bhp, while torque is also beefed up by 14lb ft to 383lb ft. That makes this
the most powerful Infiniti ever made.
To test this, you need to open up a Vettel-branded carbon-fibre flap in the
centre console and locate a glowing blue-tinged button underneath it. I'm a
born button-pusher, and I'm delighted to say that pressing this particular button
has an immediate effect: it opens some flaps in the new exhaust system and unleashes
the full sound-effect arsenal
a classic tuned V8 roar.
Frankly, though, it's more about the sound than the fury. Yes, this is a quick
car: its top speed remains limited at 155mph but acceleration is 0.2 seconds
quicker to 0-62mph, taking 5.6 seconds. But it's not supercar-quick, which you
might reasonably expect when you're shelling out the far side of £100k on a
about handling, though? It should be sharper thanks to new harder springs that
lower the ride height by 20mm. However, that's the only change.
The UK will probably
get just 10,
priced at £100,800
Thats £35K more than
The day of my test drive happened to coincide with the worst flooding of the
year in Britain, so the test route through winding country roads felt more like
a boating trip down the river. It also plastered the car with mud
sorry about that, Infiniti.
So my opportunity to appreciate the handling was slender indeed, but to me the
car felt too similar to a regular FX50. In other words, very comfortable, but
not the last word in handling sharpness. The only real difference I noticed
was a little less squat and a little less body roll around the bends.
At least you can luxuriate in the Alcantara-trimmed cabin, which is apparently
to Sebastian Vettel's own taste. The suede-style stuff covers the seat centres,
A- and B-pillars and the rooflining.
These special edition cars are built in Japan and then shipped to Vettel's homeland
(Germany) for conversion by CRD (Car Research & Development, part of Brabus).
Only 150 are being made: 50 for Europe, 50 for Russia and 50 for the Middle
The UK will probably get just 10, priced at £100,800 a pop. That's £35K more
than the standard FX50 S
but don't think of this project as just metal (and some carbon-fibre!). Instead,
owners get a whole load of 'experiences' thrown in.
For example, Sebastian Vettel himself is on hand at VIP hospitality events for
owners, driving them around race tracks. Other events include passenger rides
in a three-seater F1 car and driver training from star drivers.
The first car will be delivered to one Mr Vettel in March 2013, with other owners
receiving theirs soon after. Until then, buyers can track the production status
of their car on a bespoke Infiniti iPad
surely the world's most exclusive Apple product.
Infiniti FX Vettel Edition | £100,800
Maximum speed: 155mph | 0-62mph: 5.6 seconds | Overall Test MPG: 21.6mpg
Power: 414bhp | Torque: 383lb ft | CO2 307g/km