2011 Infiniti M56: A Suitably Luxurious Ride? Nope
January 21, 2011
The Infiniti M56 checks off most of the luxury car boxes. Lots of leather? Check. Handsome styling? Check. Is my butt heated and/or cooled? Check. Wind and road noise abated? Check. More technology than the Lunar Module? Check. Squishy interior materials? Check. Abundant power? Oh yeah. Silver dusting on the wood trim? You betcha.
How about the ride? No way, certainly not at this price point.
This isn't about me thinking a luxury car should waft down the road like a '65 Cadillac with marshmallow pumped into the springs. No, the M56 doesn't absorb impacts with the sophistication of a proper $50,000 luxury sedan. It hits a bump and it feels like the giant wheels are smacking against it, sending jittery vibrations throughout the car. The M56 Sport model only exaggerates this to the point of being maddening. In contrast, the 5 Series or E-Class feel like they are mashing those bumps into submission while keeping its body motions in check. "I am German, I vill crrrush you!"
I compare it to catching a baseball. I was taught to "have soft hands" and cradle the ball, pulling gently back as the ball enters your glove. This dampens the impact against your hand and prevents the ball from bouncing crudely out. Other luxury cars feel like this when making contact with road imperfections, but the M56 has the hands of a 41-year-old DH manning third for the first time in seven years.
While I'm not a fan of the new 5 and think it suffers from being too isolating, the old 5 managed to be both engaging and compliant. The M56 just isn't there yet.
James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 3,165 miles