2011 Infiniti M56 Long-Term Road Test

IL Track Tested: 2011 Infiniti M56 vs. 2012 Infiniti M35h

August 06, 2011


Hybrids usually suck. At least they do when it comes to on-track mannerisms and performance-oriented driving. After all,some of them are so fuel economy-focused that they forget to be cars.The 2012 Infiniti M35h doesn't have that problem. The text at the top of the window sticker tells you what this car is concerned with, "V8 Power with 4-Cylinder Fuel Economy." Sounds....unlikely....

So when things like "Have you driven it?" "Guy, it's way faster than it should be!" "It's gotta be as fast as our M56 with the V8"and "Powersliding a hybrid is fun" started being lobbed around in talks about the 2012Infiniti M35h we knew we had to settle this the only way car guys know how: with numbers.

0-30 (sec): 2.2 2.3
0-45 (sec): 3.4 3.7
0-60 (sec): 5.0 5.5
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 5.1
0-75 (sec): 7.18.2
1/4 Mile (sec @ mph): 13.2 @107.313.8 @ 100.8

30-0 (ft):3030
60-0 (ft): 118 122
Skid pad lateral accel (g):0.86 0.81
Slalom 65.163.1

Vehicle: 2012 Infiniti M35h
Odometer: 4,199
Date: 7/26/2011
Driver: Mike Monticello
Base Price: $54,595
Price as tested: $65,395

Drive Type: Longitudinal front engine with electric motor, rear-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Seven-speed automatic
Engine Type: 3.5-liter V6 with 50 KW electric motor
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 3,498/213.5
Redline (rpm): 7,000
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 369 combined (302 @ 6,800 gasoline motor and 67-hp electric motor)
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 258 @ 5,000 gas and 199-lb-ft electric motor
Brake Type (front): 12.6-inch ventilated disc with two-piston sliding calipers
Brake Type (rear): 12.1-inch ventilated disc with single-piston sliding caliper
Steering System: Electric power steering
Suspension Type (front): Independent double wishbone, coil springs, stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Independent multilink with coil springs and stabilizer bar
Tire Size: 245/50R18 99V M+S
Tire Brand: Michelin
Tire Model: Primacy MXM4
Tire Type: All-season
Wheel size: 18-by-8.0 inches
Wheel material (front/rear):Aluminum alloy
Weight as tested: 4,163

Test Results:

0-30 (sec): 2.3 (2.5 TC on)
0-45 (sec): 3.7 (3.9 TC on)
0-60 (sec): 5.5 (5.7 TC on)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec):5.1 (5.2 TC on)
0-75 (sec):8.0 (8.1 TC on)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 13.8 @ 100.8 (13.8 @ 102.5 TC on)


30-0 (ft): 30
60-0 (ft): 122


Slalom (mph):63.1 (59.6 TC on)
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g): 0.81 (0.80 TC on)

Db @ Idle: 41.7
Db @ Full Throttle: 74.8
Db @ 70 mph Cruise:64.3

Acceleration Comments:Not as quick as the last M35h we tested. Hmmm...was that early car a bit hopped-up? Could not coerce any wheelspin at launch. Still, good power off the line. Quick shifts. First run with ESC on had highest trap speed. Most of the others were about 2 mph slower. Manual shifting via console lever (pull back for downshifts). Will hold gears to 7,000 rpm redline. Does not blip throttle on downshifts.

Braking Comments: Moderately long pedal travel, with inconsistent and slightly mushy feel during stops. Considerable nosedive, lots of ABS commotion, but semi-reasonable stopping distances that were a bit erratic in length.

Handling Comments:

Skid pad: Stability system cut throttle enough that you could go full wood, but it kept the car right at the limit of adhesion. Smart. Abrupt throttle delivery made ESC off runs a bit harder to control than they should've been, making playing with the throttle difficult. Tires felt very slippery,as ifyou were on ice. Just wants to understeer.

Slalom: Wow, what a boat. A lot of weight to try and toss around here, and the M's trying to do so on a very soft suspension. You also sit kinda high, giving a top-heavy feel. This is a slow-in, fast-out kind of car. Get behind and it massively understeers. But it was kind of fun to power-on oversteer a hybrid at slalom exit. Stability system is overly intrusive when switched on, adding a ton of brakes if you get aggressive with the turns.

Vehicle: 2011 Infiniti M56
Odometer: 1,290
Date: 12/14/10
Driver: Chris Walton
Price: $67,225

Drive Type: Rear-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Seven-speed automatic
Engine Type: Naturally aspirated, direct-injected V8, gasoline
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 5,552/339
Redline (rpm): 6,700
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 420 @ 6,000
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 417 @ 4,400
Brake Type (front): 12.6-inch one-piece ventilated steel discs with two-piston sliding calipers
Brake Type (rear): 12.1-inch one-piece ventilated steel discs with single-piston sliding calipers
Steering System: Hydraulic-assist rack-and-pinion power steering
Suspension Type (front): Independent double-wishbones, coil springs, monotube dampers, stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Independent multilink, coil springs, monotube dampers, stabilizer bar
Tire Size (front): P225/45R 18 91W M+S
Tire Size (rear): P225/45R 18 91W M+S
Tire Brand: Michelin
Tire Model: Primacy HX MXM4
Tire Type: All-season
As Tested Curb Weight (lb): 4,037 (55.8% front)

Test Results:

0-30 (sec): 2.2 (2.4 TC on)
0-45 (sec): 3.4 (3.6 TC on)
0-60 (sec): 5.0 (5.2 TC on)
0-75 (sec): 7.1 (7.3 TC on)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 13.2 @ 107.3 (13.3 @ 107.4 TC on)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 4.7 (4.7 TC on)


30-0 (ft): 30
60-0 (ft): 118


Slalom (mph): 63.5 (62.3 TC on)
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g): 0.86 (0.85 TC on)

Db @ Idle: 42.3
Db @ Full Throttle: 72.4
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 65.1

Acceleration Comments: There was no advantage to using the transmission's Sport mode for acceleration runs -- shift speed and shift rpmwere identical to Normal mode (but Sport does quicken throttle response and hold gears longer in full Automatic). The M56 wants to creep forward when overlapping pedals, sorpm could not be greatly raised before launch.

Braking Comments: Stopping distances were repeatable and fade wasn't an issue; pedal feel was moderately firm. But the pads were smoking heavily after the last stop.

Handling Comments:

Skid pad: Does not exhibit the edginess of the sport suspension and summer tire-equipped M56. This one pretty much wants to circle the skid pad in a steady understeer push. The ESC was aggressive at cutting the throttle when turned on but the result proved only slightly slower.

Slalom: Softer suspension and all-season tires translate to a less precise but more forgiving M56 than the Sport package model we previously tested. Still, the chassis remains responsive to the point that you still need to keep on your toes about oversteer- both power on and drop-throttle.

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