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Full Test: 2008 Infiniti EX35. This Crossover Thinks It's a Sport Coupe

We're hammering the 2008 Infiniti EX35 on Mulholland Highway in the mountains of darkest Malibu where the movie people live and we've just passed the Rock Store where bikers profile on weekends. Ahead lies the snakiest mile of the whole road.

2008 Infiniti EX352008 Infiniti EX35-22008 Infiniti EX35-3So we drive even faster. The hard-edged 297-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 spins a little quicker while the front suspension occasionally chatters a little in the hairpins, and a short time later we get to the top in the kind of a rush that makes a whole day of driving worthwhile.

Then we look over our shoulder and realize that there's a whole backseat behind us, plus the big cargo compartment and we realize again that we've just done the whole Mulholland drive in some kind of crossover-utility thingy.

It's a little unseemly. Who knows what the locals thought? Probably figured we were some kind of Malibu catering service running a party platter to some screenwriters. But of course the 2008 Infiniti EX35 really isn't any kind of crossover at all.

But once you're standing next to the Infiniti EX35, you realize it's not a crossover or even some kind of utility thingy. It's really just a tall wagon, more like a Volvo XC70 than a BMW X3. This explains everything about the EX35's combination of practical luxury and the kind of driving dynamics you'd expect for express delivery of a party platter in the mountains above Malibu.

What's the Difference? It's Fast
The 2008 Infiniti EX35 doesn't really fit our idea of a crossover. It goes down the highway like a luxury sedan, but the tiny tremble from the wide tires tells you there's a high-performance sedan lurking beneath. It steers crisply through the corners. In short, it's one of the most satisfying examples of a vehicle with "utility" in its job description that you'll find anywhere.


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