Thursday, August 1, 2013

Infiniti M56: The Brand's Performance-Oriented Flagship Sedan




Highlights: This is a rear-wheel drive luxury sedan available in a variety of engine configurations: a 6-cylinder, a hybrid or an 8-cylinder. In 2014, the M will be renamed the Q.

Test vehicle’s MSRP: $70,195 (Base M starts at $49,605 )

Seating Capacity:  5

Standard Safety Features: airbags (front, rear, side and curtain) ABS; electronic brake distribution system; a tire pressure monitoring system; and a rearview camera

Standard Equipment (M37): 18-inch wheels; a 7-speed transmission; 10-way power front seats; leather seats; a power operated tilt/telescopic steering wheel; automatic headlights; a dual zone climate control system; keyless push-button starter; power moonroof; HID Xenon headlights; and an analog clock

Standard Audio (M37): a 6-speaker AM/FM/CD with satellite radio


Suspension System: an independent double wishbone suspension (front); an independent multi-link suspension (rear)

Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 4 years or 60,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty:  6 years or 70,000 miles

Bluetooth Compatibility: Yes

Test Vehicle’s Standard Engine/Horsepower: 5.6-liter, 8-cylinder/420-horsepower

Recommended Fuel: Premium

Standard Fuel Mileage: 16-city/24-hwy

Trim Levels:

M37 and M37x AWD

M35h (hybrid)

M56 and M56x AWD



What’s New: Since the curvaceous M was last redone three years ago, all of the changes for the 2013 model year are related strictly to content. Some of the content enhancements to the Infiniti M include the addition of a standard auto-dimming sideview mirror, an auto-trunk cincher, sport brakes and a new performance tire and wheel package -- with 20-inch wheels and tires.

Pros: We had an opportunity to be seated behind the wheel of the throatier eight-cylinder M56. By opting for the larger engine, we gained a 10-speaker Bose audio system, a voice-activated nav system and perforated leather seats. Added to that our M was outfitted with a $3,000 Tech package, which consisted of a blind-spot lane-changing warning system, a lane-departure warning system, a lane-departure prevention system, a radar-activated cruise control system, a forward collision alert system, an adaptive front lighting system that turns with the steering wheel and an eco model gas pedal to cut down on fuel use.

Moreover, our 8-cylinder M was equipped with a Sport package, too. This package consisted of 20-inch wheels, a sport front fascia, four-wheel active steering, sport brakes, a sport-tuned suspension, a sport steering wheel and shift knob, a solid magnesium steering wheel with paddle shifters, a crystal clear sounding 16-speaker audio system, an air filter system and a power rear sunshade.

Furthermore,  the instrument control is well thought out, as it is in all Infinitis. All of the controls are user friendly. Unlike some other flagship premium class vehicles, there is no need to pull out the owner’s manual for the M.

Cons: The M56 ride is quite firm for a luxury vehicle, especially when opting for the Sport package. By shying away from the Sport Package, this could help balance the ride out from being super firm to being mildly firm. Again, don’t expect a luxury car ride from Infiniti’s flagship. If that’s on your shopping list, one must look elsewhere!

And another concern we have is purely cosmetic. We are just wondering why does the curvaceous design lack an oversized roof? And to get into the 420-horsepower, 8-cylinder engine one will have to dole out an additional $12,500. The more than adequate 6-cylinder puts out 302 horses. Finally, where are the LED headlights or fog lights? Having this lighting feature gives the vehicle a more upscale look.
 

Verdict: The M is available in a variety of powertrains and configurations. One can choose from a 6-cylinder, an 8-cylinder or a hybrid in a rear-wheel drive or an all-wheel drive configuration. The well-built, high-tech M offers more of a performance-oriented ride than many of its competitors. The M also costs thousands less than many of its competitors, while offering an expressive, athletic exterior design.
 
Competition: Audi A8, BMW 7-Series, Hyundai Equus, Lexus LS and Mercedes-Benz S-Class

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