How do you honor one of the world’s top motorsports driver? If you’re talking about Sebastian Vettel, the man who has been scoring the big points for the Red Bull Racing team sponsored by Japan’s Infiniti, the Nissan luxury brand has asked him to lend his ideas to a special version of the FX crossover.
The Infiniti FX Sebastian Vettel Concept makes its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show and features a number of striking details that should stand out from your run-of-the-mill crossover-utility vehicle.
Start with a pearlescent white paint job accented by blue-tinted headlights and LED running lights. Vettel’s personal logo, which snakes a winding road in the shape of an S across the letter V, adorns the front bumper.
There are a variety of carbon fiber exterior accents, from the lower front fascia and grille slats to the mirror caps and rear wing. Vettel and Infiniti claim the aero elements are functional and reduce drag by 5% while improving lift 30%.
To add a little bling, the oversized wheels feature light accents around the 21-inch rims and spoke tips, the rest of the wheel tinted dark.
The interior picks up on the carbon fiber theme, adding Alcantara upholstery and working in more of the SV logos.
The good news is that the FX Sebastian Vettel Concept is more than just an appearance package. In European trim the 5.0-liter V-8 makes 420 PS and will launch the big ute from 0 to 100 kmh (0 to 62.5 mph) in 5.6 seconds, with a 300 kmh (188 mph) top speed. To beef up the stock Infiniti FX engine engineers re-mapped the engine computer software and adopted a freer-breathing exhaust system.
The suspension gets dual flow-path dampers and continuous damping control. The concept also adopts rear active steering. The brakes are upgrade to 4-piston 355 mm up front and 2-piston 350 mm in the rear.
While Vettel didn’t actually draw out the concept’s design details he did work closely with Infiniti design chief Shiro Nakamura to ensure the final work lived up to his ideas, he says.
To reward his effort, the Formula One champ gets to take the one-off crossover home. No plans appear in the works for a production version.
Infiniti began its tie-up with Red Bull earlier this year, incidentally, deciding to take the unusual step of signing on as a sponsor of a beverage maker’s F1 team, rather than vice versa, as is the norm. The unusual alliance is paying off. Infiniti has invested only a fraction of the traditional cost of a Formula One team but its name is now adorning the side of the leading players in the current season.