Leading up to the Frankfurt Motor Show, there were a few concepts that we were really looking forward to seeing, one of them being the Infiniti Sebastian Vettel Edition.
Quite frankly, we knew very little about the car other than the fact that it was a concept Infiniti FX. Well, Frankfurt has come and gone, and if we do say so ourselves, the FX Sebastian Vettel Concept completely blew us away.
It’s not just that it’s one of the few cars on the market that has been designed and built with Formula One knowledge, but Infiniti and Red Bull took all that information and put it into an SUV that’s looking to blow away the rest of the field.
In the decision to build the FX Sebastian Vettel Concept, the Japanese automaker wanted more than just Vettel’s input; they wanted him to have significant say on what the car will be built on. That meant a premium on performance and improved downforce, as well as being stylishly sexy.
In the end, the result was even better than any of us even anticipated.
UPDATE 10/11/2011: Infiniti has officially given the go-signal to produce the FX Sebastian Vettel Edition SUV. The announcement was made by Nissan Executive Vice President Andy Palmer, stating that the successful relationship between Infiniti and Red Bull Racing was one of the key factors in green lighting the production of the special edition SUV on a limited basis.
In the interview, Palmer said that the collaboration between Infiniti and the now two-time F1 World Champion was not only fun for everybody, but it also brought into light the capabilities of the Infiniti Performance Line as a potential competitor for the likes of Mercedes’ AMG class and BMW’s M-Series.
Nissan, Infiniti’s parent company, released a segment of the interview with Palmer, which you can watch by clicking on the photo above.
UPDATE 05/13/12: Infiniti has officially announced pricing details for the FX Sebastian Vettel Edition. Check out how much it’s going to cost after the jump
UPDATE 10/28/12: Evo Magazine takes a turn putting the paces on the Infiniti FX Sebastian Vettel Concept. How did they take to the ultra special edition SUV? Hop on over after the jump and find out!
UPDATE 11/15/12: Infiniti is dropping a nice surprise for all of us with a new batch of photos of their uber-luxurious, special edition FX Sebastian Vettel Edition SUV. Check out the gallery to find all the photos, all 50+ of em.
Find out more about the Infiniti FX Sebastian Vettel Concept after the jump.
When designing the Infiniti FX Sebastian Vettel Concept, the Japanese automaker put emphasis on the SUV’s performance capabilities. However, that doesn’t mean that they neglected the vehicle’s aerodynamic profile. On the contrary, Infiniti spent hours upon hours collaborating with Vettel and a team from Red Bull Racing to make this special Infiniti FX as ’special edition’ as possible.
Most notable of the design elements are the Essence-inspired grille and a new carbon rear wing that increases downforce and stability. There was also extensive use of carbon throughout the SUV, including the splitter, sills, front grille, mirror covers, and rear diffuser. As far as F1 inspiration is concerned, the FX’s spiller and diffuser are only two of the many examples, as is the central rear fog light, which looks similar to an F1 car’s rain light.
LED daytime running lights are also a key highlight of the concept. Located just below the front bumper, these LED lights exude sports car-like proportions that fit in with the dark smoke lights in the front and back.
Rounding out the exterior features are a set of 21" black multi-spoke alloy wheels with silver rims. You won’t find any other vehicle sporting these wheels because Infiniti designed them specifically for this model.
The extensive use of bespoke carbon fiber on the exterior wasn’t lost on Infiniti designers. In order to make the interior as lusciously high-end as the exterior, Infiniti added tailored panels of black carbon on the doors and center console. In addition, Alcantara was used on the steering wheel and gearshift paddles with the specially designed seats covered in black quilted suede cloth finished with purple stitching and special "SV" logos. Lastly, a metal plate on the center console features Vettel’s own signature.
The Infiniti FX Sebastian Vettel Concept is powered by a 5.0-liter V8 engine that produces an increased output of 420 horsepower, up from the standard 390 horses the standard FX provides. A key point in Vettel signing up for the project was that he wanted to turn his special model into one of the world’s fastest SUVs. What that entailed was the removal of the engine’s top speed limiter, which when activated only hit 155 mph.
Thanks to a new exhaust system and a reprogrammed ECU, Infiniti was able to break free from the top speed limiter to bump up the acceleration time (0-62 mph) to just 5.6 seconds and increase the top speed of the SUV all the way to 186 mph, just as Vettel wished.
"This is the first road car I have helped develop," said Vettel.
"Usually I have hundreds of engineers building one car just for me. So it is fantastic for me to contribute to the design of a car. The result is an Infiniti I am very proud to have my name on. It is all I hoped for: 300km/h, plenty of downforce - and I can still fit my mountain bike in the back. Plus it is totally exclusive - and as an Infiniti driver, that’s important."
Our initial pricing estimate for the Infiniti FX Sebastian Vettel Edition was a price of around $80,000. Turns out, we were way off on that guesstimate because Infiniti has stickered a price of €120,000, which is around $154,400 based on current exchange rates.
Last we checked, there isn’t another Formula One driver - and team for that matter - that has had such an extensive involvement in the design and development of a car. So on that merit alone, the Infiniti FX Sebastian Vettel Concept is on a totally different class amongst its peers.
EVO reviews the Infiniti FX Sebastian Vettel Edition
Formula 1 input is huge
Aerodynamic improvements are off the charts
Powerful engine with liberated top speed
Will be a financial handful
No word yet on production