In October 2004, Nissan came with its full-sized luxury vehicle called the Nissan Fuga. It was first revealed as Fuga Concept at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2003. The Nissan Fuga replaced the successful Nissan Cedric and Nissan Gloria. After the discontinuation of the Nissan Cima and Nissan President, the Fuga takes the top position in the Nissan lineup. As for name, it was an inspiration taken from the fugue, a composition musical form. The idea behind using this name was to advocate that the prestige and heritage of the long running Nissan vehicles including Cedric, Gloria, Cima and President has been combined in one vehicle called Fuga. Y34 was the chassis code used for the last model of Cedric and Gloria, while the last model of the Cima and President appeared with chassis code of F50 and PGF50 respectively. In Japan, two sales channels were operating under Nissan Blue Stage and Nissan Red Stage. The Blue Stage dealt with traditional Nissan products, while the Red Stage dealt with former Prince products including: Nissan Skyline, the Gloria, Nissan Laurel and Nissan Auster. Under these channels, two variants of the smaller Y34 (Cedric/Gloria) and the larger F50 (Cima/President) platforms were sold.
The Fuga is essentially a rear-wheel drive sedan where an option of all-wheel drive is available. It is based on a wider, extended wheelbase of the Nissan FM platform. The Fuga became the flagship model in Nissan lineup after the cessation of Nissan President in August 2010.
First Generation (Y50, 2004-2009)
The 1959 Prince (Nissan) Gloria was built on an extended version of the original Prince (Nissan) Skyline launched in 1957. The same approach is used again by Nissan for its Fuga range as they built it on the Skyline platform.
The prestige and stature achieved by Nissan Cedric/Gloria encouraged the Nissan to continue with that new approach hence the focus was to design a car that is capable of competing with the standards set by the European mid-sized sports sedans like the BMW 5 series, Audi A6, Mercedes-Benz E-Class and Jaguar S-Type.
There are two prominent trim levels for the Fuga including: a standard XV and the top of the line GT trims which is parallel to the former “Brougham” and “Gran Turismo” versions of the Cedric and Gloria.
The major competition of Fuga is with the Toyota’s Crown Athlete Series, Lexus GS also there to compete with it. Compared to Nissan Cima, the Fuga was 2-inch shorter.
In Japan, the Fuga is also a popular choice as taxi cab.
In order to keep it lightweight, Nissan used aluminum in body, hood, and trunk-lid and doors. A double wishbone arrangement is used in the front suspension to minimize the unsprung weight and also to enhance the handling of the vehicle. Such suspension setup was already seen on Cedric/Gloria up to 1983 after which MacPherson struts were introduced in the front suspension but still retained the multilink rear suspension released for the first time in1979. Nissan didn’t hesitate to use aluminum in front and rear suspension components as well.
As for GT sports package, it comes with Nissan’s 4WS version of HICAS to enhance stability and handling. The Fuga also features a Distance Control Assistance to assist a driver.
Second Generation (Y51, 2009-present)
The second generation Nissan Fuga was foretasted at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in early 2009. It was launched as Infiniti M in many of the export markets. The car made its official debut at Tokyo Motor Show in November 2009 and the sales of the Fuga began in Japan on December 21, 2009.
The Y51 series Nissan Fuga or Infiniti M is shorter than the F50 series Nissan Cima by only 50 mm (2.0-inch), while sharing the same width of 1845 mm (6.1 feet). Compared to Cima’s 1490 mm (4.9 feet) height, the Fuga stands at 1515 mm (5.0 feet). With the cessation of Nissan Cima and Nissan President, the Nissan Fuga became the flagship model in Nissan’s lineup in August 2010. Compared to President, Fuga is 115 mm (4.5 inch) shorter in length. However, it has a longer wheelbase of 2,900 mm (114.2 inch) contrary to the Cima/President 2,870 mm (113.0 inch). With having Fuga as their flagship sedan, this was the first occasion when Nissan didn’t offer a premium luxury V8 engine in Japanese domestic market. However, the North American closely related Infiniti M56 receives the V8 engine found in Infiniti QX56.
For second generation Fuga, the VK45DE V8 engine found in preceding generation is dropped for Japanese models along with later VK56VD V8 found in the Fuga’s North American cousin, the Infiniti M56. Nissan introduces a third option in the form of VQ35HR 3.5-L V6 Hybrid engine that uses the Atkinson cycle. The electric motor is position in between the engine and transmission capable of generating 68 PS (50 kW; 67 bhp) utilizing the 1.3kWh lithium-ion batteries. The Fuga Hybrid will assume to be the Nissan’s first in-house built electric hybrid technology. Also, Nissan is aiming to double the fuel economy of its gasoline-powered model.
Nissan has made the driving mode selector knob a standard feature on all its Fuga models located just under the transmission gear level offering four selections labeled as: “Standard”, “Sport”, “Eco”, and “Snow”. The Fuga also features an ‘Active Noise Control’ system to reduce the exhaust noise intrusion into the passenger compartment. The previous Hitachi double-piston shock absorbers are replaced with Kayaba Industry Company’s pistons.
In Japanese market, there are wide ranges of trim levels offered including: 250GT, 250GT Type P, 250GT “A” package; 370GT, 370GT FOUR (AWD), 370GT FOUR (AWD) “A” package, 370GT Type S, and top of the line 370VIP. Except for the 370GT Type S trim that uses 20-inch Potenza RE050A 245/40 tires, the rest of all the trims come with 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels with Dunlop SP Sport Maxx TT 245/50 tires.
As for interior, the Fuga receives heated and ventilated front seats, power reclining rear seats, power ottoman for the rear passenger opposite the driver, and HDD navigation. There are some safety features as well that are introduced in new Fuga like Lane Departure Prevention and Blind Spot Intervention System. The former uses a small camera positioned above the rearview mirror to calculate the distance from the lane markers, while the latter utilizes the sensors to visually warn the driver in side view mirrors.