2011 Infiniti M56 Long-Term Road Test


2011 Infiniti M56: Which Would You Rather?

June 29, 2011

m56_parked2.jpg

Today's topic is redundant volume control. Yep. That's the most interesting thing I have to say about our long-term 2011 Infiniti M56 -- far more so than gushing about the car's explosive acceleration down freeway entrance ramps as you breathe on the throttle, or rehashing criticism about the suspension's state of tune, which is out of sync with the promises the V8 makes.

So volume control. These days, you get it on the steering wheel and you get it in the traditional location on the audio head unit. I'd say I use the steering wheel controls consistently in maybe 30-40 percent of the cars I drive. This drives my boyfriend nuts. He's an incurable by-the-book guy and can't understand why I'd take my right hand away from the 3 o'clock position on the steering wheel, divert my eyes from traffic and twist the volume knob on the center stack.

However, in our M56, my argument for doing exactly that is solid. Yes, there will be photos after the jump.

Here's the two-sided volume button the M56's steering wheel.

m56_steering_volume.jpg

It works alright, but it's not the greatest. For one, it's mounted too low on the steering wheel for a frequently used control. If you're left hand is 9 or 10 o'clock, you have to come out of that hand position every time. Also, the button is a flimsy piece to find in a $67K luxury sedan and doesn't have a solid feel when pressed.

And here's the volume knob on the Infiniti's center stack.

m56_cc_volume.jpg

It's texturized and trimmed in real metal. It always feels perfectly damped when I turn it. It's surrounded by gorgeous wood paneling. Using this volume knob is as much about aesthetic joy as it is function for me. And I so use it 98 percent of the time even though it's mounted near the bottom of the center stack -- because Infiniti made the odd decision to put the climate controls, rather than than the audio controls, directly under the nav screen in this car.

What's your position on redundant steering-wheel audio controls... do you bother using the ones in your car?

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 11,787 miles

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