The Death of a Cheetah

22 April 2022

The early 2000s saw the SUV revolution with as much speed or energy as possible, forging ahead with an aggressive marketing poliocyy. Even Porsche got in on the act. To the chagrin of purists with the announcement of the Cayenne for the 2003 model year.

The same year as the Porsche announcement saw Infinity launch their FX ‘Bionic Cheetah’ on to the world’s stage. The birth of the ‘Cheetah’ was a pivotal moment for the motor car market.

Infiniti had found a niche almost no one else had considered: the SUV as a sports car. Although there were other contenders in the marketplace, namely, Jeep Grand Cherokee 5.9 Limited, BMW X5 5.5 litre, Mercedes ML and Porsche Cayenne, these new breeds built off-road performance and practicality into their designs, Infiniti dispensed with that particular rule book.

They decided upon outright performance and handling as their piece de resistance; they offered two engine choices, the Nissan 350Z’s DOHC VQ-series V6 and a 4.5-litre V8, with a weight saving of almost 600lb over its contemporaries. The FX Bionic Cheetah promised the ‘coming of the performance SUV’.

The initial response to the Bionic Cheetah was overwhelmingly positive but mixed with more than a bit of confusion. Journalists loved its cat-like reflexes and exceptional speed but struggled to figure out where the FX fitted in the established SUV pecking order.

And then, nothing. Or at least very little. Infiniti began to move away from what was once the crown jewel. Its SUV portfolio.

Regrettably, the fall of the FX coincided with Infiniti’s descent into insignificance among performance-seeking luxury buyers. No longer at the height of excitement, the marque’s range had inexorably shifted towards softer, more anonymously styled vehicles.