When it comes to buying a luxury sedan, most people usually stick with one of the ubiquitous models offered by traditional European luxury brands. But if you're someone who likes to look beyond the obvious choices, you'd be wise to add the Infiniti M to your short list.
That's because this midsize luxury sedan has matched, and in some ways bested, those traditional sport sedans from BMW and Mercedes-Benz at their own game. With strong engines, an attractive passenger cabin lined with top-quality materials, and a features list full of the latest cutting-edge gadgets, the M gives you a lot of bang for your buck.
Current Infiniti M
The Infiniti M is a midsize luxury sedan available in three models: M37, M56 and M35h Hybrid. The numbers indicate their respective engines. The M37 has a 3.7-liter V6 that produces 330 horsepower and the M56 gets a 5.6-liter V8 good for 420 hp. Rear-wheel drive is standard, but models with an "x" indicate the presence of all-wheel drive. The only transmission available is a seven-speed automatic with four different shift modes: Normal, Sport, Snow or Eco. We found that this transmission suffers from inconsistent shift timing, leading to jerky motions and delayed reactions.
The M35h has a hybrid powertrain that offers a combined 360 hp from its gas-fueled 3.5-liter V6 and electric motor. In testing, we found it matches the M56's incredible acceleration abilities, while besting the M37's combined fuel economy by 8 mpg. Unlike other luxury hybrids, its price isn't overly inflated, hitting the register in between its gasoline-only siblings.
Regardless of power plant, the M drives smaller than it looks, with sharp reflexes through corners and quick acceleration. For those with driving gloves, the Sport package boasts 20-inch wheels and summer tires, a specially calibrated chassis, four-wheel active steering, sport seats, magnesium paddle shifters, aluminum pedals and unique cabin trim. Unfortunately, we found the ride associated with this package to be rough and unbecoming for a class noted for its refinement and comfort.
All M models come standard with features like automatic xenon lights, a sunroof, keyless ignition/entry, leather upholstery, heated seats, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a rearview camera, Bluetooth and an iPod interface. On top of this, Infiniti offers heated and cooled front seats and high-tech features for entertainment (Bluetooth streaming audio, digital music storage), safety (blind-spot warning, lane-departure warning) and protecting your bumpers (parking sensors, multicamera parking assist).
While the Infiniti M is good-looking from the outside, it gets better when you slide behind the steering wheel. Stylish design accented with supple leather and genuine wood set the mood. Seating is comfortable for those up front, and the rear seat offers more room than you'll find in many competitors. The real treat here, though -- at least for folks who like to geek out on such things -- is the amazing array of electronic wizardry deployed to do everything from helping you keep the car in your own lane to quieting the interior using active noise-canceling technology. As a bonus, it's also quite easy to use despite the abundance of buttons.
In reviews, we've found the M37 and the M56 to be well-executed midsize luxury sedans that offer state-of-the-art technology, ample power, a classy cabin and compelling value. But this is a class occupied by some of the finest automobiles on the planet, and the M quite simply lacks the refinement and luxury je ne sais quoi that makes those models from BMW, Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz so compelling. Having said that, however, the M35h's incredible combination of power and fuel economy is impossible to ignore, and given its reasonable price, we think eco-minded luxury buyers would be keen to put it at the top of their shopping list.
Read the most recent 2013 Infiniti M review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used Infiniti M page.