It would be easy to write off the Infiniti FX Sebastian Vettel Version
(which, sadly, never made it to the U.S.) as nothing more than your basic grocery-getter, albeit one with just a bit more bling and a few additional badges.
With most automakers, releasing a signature edition rarely involves more than paying royalties to the named celebrity. Sure, they may approve the final design and graphics, but generally speaking, that’s where their involvement ends.
As Car and Driver
explains, Infiniti is starting to take performance more seriously than it has in the past. In the case of the Vettel-branded FX50, the automaker solicited on-track feedback from the Formula One World Champion.
When he returned from hot-lapping the crossover with a lengthy list of requested changes, Infiniti’s engineers went back to work and implemented Vettel’s suggestions. A follow-up drive by Vettel showed that the engineers had paid very close attention to his recommendations.
While the Infiniti brand currently lacks offerings comparable to BMW’s M products, Audi’s RS series or Mercedes’ AMG vehicles, that’s about to change. New products sold under the Infiniti Performance Line (IPL) umbrella will be designed under the watchful eyes of Red Bull Racing engineers and drivers.
The first model to carry the torch will be the upcoming Q50 IPL sedan
, which will replace the outgoing G37 sedan. While we’ll reserve judgement until we have a chance to drive one, we’ve got enough seat time in G37 IPL models to know they had serious room for improvement.
With Red Bull Racing as a development partner
, we’d say the future of the Infiniti Performance Line brand looks promising.