Jeremy Clarkson - Infiniti FX

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by TriShield, Nov 25, 2008.

  1. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    Jeremy Clarkson
    The Sunday Times
    November 23, 2008

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    I once drove an oil tanker. She was called the Jahre Viking and at 1,504ft was not only the longest ship in the world but also the biggest man-made movable object. She was so vast, in fact, and drew so much water that she was unable to get through either the Panama or the Suez canal. Even the English Channel was too shallow.

    To drive, she was not sprightly. To pull up and stop in Texas, for instance, the captain had to start braking off the coast of Namibia. At one point, I grabbed the throttle and slammed it forward, but there was absolutely no difference in the pace of our lonesome plod round the Cape of Good Hope. In fact, it took a full half an hour for the speed to creep up from 12.4 knots to 12.5.

    Certainly, the Somali pirates could catch this enormous ship, but making it stop? That would be rather more difficult.

    In many ways, then, driving the Jahre Viking is a bit like driving the car industry.

    In all other walks of life, disaster can be averted at the last minute. “I smell gas so I won’t light this cigarette.” “That Taliban insurgent is shooting at me so I shall shoot back.” “This girl has obviously been torturing her baby so I’ll put it in care.” And so on.

    However, when you are running a car company, you are not afforded this luxury. “Oh, God. A recession has arrived so I must immediately stop making large off-roaders and make an urban runabout instead.” This is not something the managing director of Land Rover can do.

    The Queen didn’t see the financial crisis coming. The government didn’t see the financial crisis coming. The banks didn’t see the financial crisis coming — and they caused it. So what possible chance was there for a Rotarian in Birmingham? And what can he do now it’s arrived? He’s in the driver’s seat of the Jahre Viking, he’s doing 12.5 knots, a cliff has appeared off the bow and there is absolutely nothing he can do to prevent a massive crash.

    It takes, if you rush, a minimum of four years to design a new car, to build the tools and the robots on the production line and to make sure the seats don’t squeak if the finished product is driven over rough roads in Arizona or on a frozen lake in northern Norway. It is simply not possible to do all this in a moment. When you run a car firm, you have to anticipate a gas leak in your kitchen before the house has even been built.

    Look at Jaguar, a company that has spent the past 30 years jumping over thin air and crashing through the fences. It started work in the Loadsamoney Eighties on a hypercar called the XJ220, which went on sale in 1992, just as the world went into reverse. So then it began work on a small car called the X-type, which came out when everyone was eating cash just to get rid of it. And now it is working on a new 5 litre V8, which will emerge into the marketplace in the middle of next year, when most forecasters are saying the unemployment figures will have enveloped everyone up to and including the Archbishop of Canterbury.

    Yes, Jaguar could down tools and start on a 1.1 litre ecodiesel. But that wouldn’t be ready until 2012, when who knows what state the economy might be in. Certainly not a businessman from Stourbridge.

    It’s a complete nightmare and I was therefore not surprised to see a bunch of car bosses descend on Downing Street the other day with their caps in their hands.

    The bankers have been bailed out. It seems likely the car industry in America will be bailed out. So surely the British government, represented in this instance by Lord Mantelpiece, would be sure to listen, especially as the car industry here still employs 780,000.

    I bet it didn’t, though. Because while an old-fashioned socialist would have put the needs of the workers before the composition of the gas in the upper atmosphere, we are currently being ruled by a bunch of new-age communists, who almost certainly sat there saying, “Yes, I’m sure it’s all very sad, the destruction of the motor industry, but we’ve promised the electorate a cut of 80% in carbon emissions so your death is probably for the best.”

    It makes my hair itch with rage. Because how can a Rotarian from the Midlands possibly develop an all-new means of propulsion to stave off a disaster that most right-thinking people accept isn’t happening while the products he is making now pile up unsold on every disused airfield in the land? It’s like being asked to give someone a new hairstyle while you are drowning.

    And now, as a result, Britain’s car industry will soon join the mines and the steelworks in the chapter headed Something We Used to Do Before It Was Ruined by Communists.

    Still, there’s always an upside. Other countries have decided the needs of the many are more important than how much carbon dioxide there is in the air and as a result their car industries will expand to fill the gap left by ours. In fact, it’s already happening, because soon something called Infiniti is coming to a dealership near you. Possibly one that used to sell Range Rovers.

    When Toyota decided to start making upmarket cars 20 years ago, it realised, rather brilliantly, that the Toyota badge wouldn’t cut much mustard and came up with the Lexus brand instead. Well, you may not realise that Nissan did exactly the same thing for the American market, creating the Infiniti.

    There was, however, one big difference between the two philosophies. Toyota decided that a Lexus should be built to a standard unparalleled in the world and that the cars should drive and feel better than any Mercedes. Nissan, on the other hand, just wrote Infiniti on the back of a Datsun. In crayon. Hoping the Americans would be fooled. Which they were.

    Since then, though, Infiniti has apparently been catching up and it now says it is ready to come to the cradle of motoring. Europe.

    There will be a selection of models on offer but I began by testing the car that’ll get here first. It’s called the FX50S and it’s a big five-seater, seven-speed, 5 litre V8, all-wheel-drive monster. I use that word advisedly. The front, dominated by a radiator full of massive spiky teeth, really does look as if it should be in a cave. It looks like Jabba the Hutt. And from there on, things get worse.

    I don’t deny that it’s quite fast. But it’s only quite fast . . . for an enormous off-roader. Which is the same as being quite well behaved . . . for a psychopath. In the big scheme of things, it is not fast at all.

    Oh, they’ve tried to give it a sporty feel. The chassis is lifted from a Nissan 350Z and the suspension is electronic and adjustable, but it doesn’t work. Any more than it would work if you entered the Grand National on a cow. And by trying to make it handle, which it doesn’t, they’ve ruined the ride. It is deeply uncomfortable in sport mode and nasty in the standard setting.

    Worse still is the fact that while this car might work off road — though with those massive sport tyres, I doubt it — you’d never think of going there because all the mud might mess up your shiny paint.

    Then there’s the interior, which is sort of all right. I even quite liked the clock. But it’s no more accommodating than a Ford Focus, the boot is tiny and the front seat is not the sort of place you enjoy sitting especially. Unless it’s raining.

    What this car did, most of all, was remind me just how fabulous the Range Rover is. That’s a car that is sporty, comfortable and handsome whether you’re on the road, off the road or just sitting in the thing, waiting for your children to finish their music lesson.

    I don’t doubt the Have Your Say bit that’s put at the end of this on the internet will be full of Americans saying they’ve got an FX50 and it’s great. But it isn’t.

    The only thing that would possibly convince me to buy one is if Land Rover went out of business. And with Captain Mantelpiece in the hot seat, we have to accept that this is a possibility. Worrying, isn’t it?

    THE CLARKSOMETER

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    Clarkson’s Verdict: As pretty and agile as Jabba the Hutt

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  2. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    I like this guy. Not exactly shocking that he's pissing on a Japmobile, though, he's done it before. He is, after all, the sort who would like to have a liquor globe in his study -- he said so himself, at some point in the past.
     
  3. energie

    energie I like to place an order.. the name? Situation the

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    brutally honest. i always thought the infiniti fx was a nice looking suv. Was thinking of purchasing one myself next year
     
  4. 4W4K3

    4W4K3 New Member

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    I like this part, as I am a Toyota fanboy. Although, he did spell "realize" wrong...twice.
     
  5. Original

    Original OT Supporter

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    it's an alternative spelling, for the brits
     
  6. 4W4K3

    4W4K3 New Member

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    Oh, like "colour"?
     
  7. Mitchj

    Mitchj OT Supporter

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    we say colour realise too
     
  8. Scottwax

    Scottwax Making detailing great again! Moderator

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    Range Rover sack rider. :rolleyes: I hate those fucking things. I don't have a single customer who bought another one after owning one either. Car and Driver and Motor Trend both seemed to like the FX50.
     
  9. Toxicity

    Toxicity New Member

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    BAHAHAHAHHA pussyhurt britfag :rofl:

    however, i guess in britain this thing is going to cost as much as a range rover, so i could see his point.

    Btw to the guy talking about wanting to get one.. its a good car; the only suv in the class that isnt really a soccer mom vehicle.
     
  10. art_VW_shark

    art_VW_shark OT Supporter

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    the trade off is it useless
     
  11. Scottwax

    Scottwax Making detailing great again! Moderator

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    Still has decent room in back, lots of people like performance vehicles but don't like the lack of visibility you get in sports cars. Even though I am personally not someone who would ever own an SUV, I must admit I liked driving my brother's old Moutaineer because you are up higher and have much greater visibility. Decent grunt from the V8 and AWD system too.
     

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