Had enough of Infiniti’s recent barrage of cryptic teaser shots? You’re in luck, as the automaker unwrapped the new JX Concept — which previews a new crossover model — this evening in Pebble Beach, California.
Though Infiniti representatives dub this particular car a “concept,” we’re told it’s a fairly accurate preview of the forthcoming 2013 JX. By our count, Infiniti already has three luxury utility vehicles in its lineup, but there’s apparently room for a fourth. Vehicles like the Buick Enclave, Audi Q7, Acura MDX, and Mercedes-Benz GL have resonated with luxury buyers seeking the space of a seven-seat utility, but dislike the size, thirst, and cost of a traditional full-size SUV. Subsequently, Infiniti believes the JX — which is sized between the sporty FX crossover and the large QX56 sport-utility can succeed in today’s market.
“The three-row luxury crossover segment provides a huge opportunity for Infiniti,” Ben Poore, Infiniti Americas vice president, said in a prepared release. “And like every segment Infiniti enters, we plan to shake up the status quo with a vehicle that is guaranteed to become the new benchmark for style, hospitality, roominess, advanced telematics, and safety technologies.”
Seeing as the JX bridges the gap between QX and FX lines, its exterior fittingly blurs the two together. The JX’s long, muscular front clip and elongated headlamps recall that of the FX, while its tall roofline and bold grille echo the QX. Designers still inserted some unique cues into this mixture, notably the sigma-shaped D-pillar, which resembles that used on the 2009 Essence concept car.
Since this is but a concept, Infiniti isn’t quite ready to spill all the technical beans on its latest-and-greatest crossover. That said, the automaker has indicated the ‘ute will be offered in front- and all-wheel-drive forms. Power will be provided by a V-6 — likely Infiniti’s stalwart 3.7-liter V-6 — which will channel power to the wheels via a continuously-variable transmission. We wouldn’t be too surprised if Infiniti ultimately squeezes a hybrid system (like that used in the M35h sedan) underhood in the name of fuel economy, but officials won’t comment on future powertrain options.
The sole interior photo released shows a cabin that resembles the FX but adopts the QX’s wood accents, chrome trim, and upscale door panel accents. True to the “Power of 7” marketing tagline, the JX promises to seat seven, and features second-row seats that slide fore-and-aft by five-and-a-half inches. Infiniti also says passengers can tilt and slide those seats forward for access to the third row, even if a child seat is still installed in a second-row seat. We’re told to expect a full glut of premium features to be packed within, including blind-spot and reverse cross-path detection, a 14-speaker Bose surround sound system, and navigation with telematics-based concierge services.
Expect more hard details to emerge later this year, as the production-spec 2013 JX crossover is slated to debut at the 2011 Los Angeles auto show in November. If all goes according to plan, production should begin in Smyrna, Tennessee shortly after the new year, and vehicles will arrive in showrooms in the spring of 2012.