Fit For a Champ? Infiniti Approves Vettel-Tuned FX50 For Production
It seems the sporty Infiniti FX50 customized by F1 driver Sebastian Vettel was more than a conceptual one-off for the Frankfurt Motor Show. In fact, the company announced the model will go into production.
The FX50 Sebastian Vettel edition was, as the name suggests, a joint project between Red Bull Racing driver (and recent F1 world champion) Sebastian Vettel and Infiniti. The car started as an FX50 but received a number of subtle modifications to appease the driver's tastes. But, according to a recent post on Infiniti's European corporate blog, the vehicle is destined to become a reality.
As shown in Frankfurt, the Vettel-ized FX50 incorporated a few significant tweaks to appease the F1 king. In stock form, the 5.0-liter V-8 cranks out 390 hp, but with the help of a new intake and exhaust system and a reflashed ECU, that output was increased to 414 hp. As a result, the crossover could reportedly move from 0-62 mph in 5.6 seconds - 0.2 seconds quicker than a stock FX50 - and hit a top speed of 186 mph. Engineers also worked to reduce the ride height by eight-tenths of an inch, while a F1-inspired front splitter and side sills reportedly help keep the crossover planted at high speeds.
No details have been released for the finished product, but we wouldn't be too surprised if the production vehicle incorporates many - if not all - of these touches.
While Infiniti's super SUV may retain Vettel's name in its formal title, there's a chance it could also wear the Infiniti Performance Line emblem - something previously reserved for a pair of slightly sportier G37 models. Andy Palmer, Infiniti executive vice president, suggested the vehicle is "kind of a pilot for IPL."
"It's about being able to do our equivalent of AMG or M-series and we wanted to test the organization and [see if] can the organization cope with these types of special versions," he said.
Pricing or U.S. availability of the FX50 Vettel haven't been announced yet, but expect the truck to be both quite fast and quite expensive.