2011 Infiniti M56 Long-Term Road Test

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2011 Infiniti M56: Recalled for Potential Oil Leaks

January 09, 2012

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Last week a recall was announced on some 2011-2012 Nissan and Infiniti vehicles, including the 2012 Infiniti M56. The short story is that 14,718 vehicles are being recalled due to a defect that may cause a loss of engine oil.

"Some of the bolts that connect the engine oil cooler and the engine oil filter to the engine in these vehicles may have been manufactured to below specification strength," said NHTSA in its recalls summary of the problem. "The bolt may break at the oil filter attachment point and can cause an engine oil leak. If there is an engine oil leak, the engine oil pressure would drop and the engine could seize, increasing the risk of a crash."

The recall is expected to begin January 19.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager

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2011 Infiniti M56: That's Weird

December 28, 2011

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I noticed the IBA (Intelligent Brake Assist) light come on in the Infiniti last weekend as I was whipping the car around a corner. The light flashed on and then off and I noticed it out of the corner of my eye.

There are two and a half pages of the M's owner's manual dedicated to precautions on the IBA system, why it might fail to operate and what might cause the failure. It's all lawyer speak dedicated to affirming the idea that this isn't a technology you should rely on to stop the car. That, it turns out, is still up to you.

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2011 Infiniti M56: The Car Is All Right

October 31, 2011

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Because of Doug Newcomb's problem with a dead battery in the M56 last week, the exact culprit of which had yet to be resolved, Vehicle Testing Manager Mike Schmidt asked me to take the Infiniti over the weekend to see if everything was okay. He must've thought: "Monticello has nothing to do, what will it matter if the car dies on him?"

Luckily, the M56 started up just fine every time. Of course that also means we still don't know exactly what drained the battery in the first place. Doug swears he didn't leave lights or anything on in the car.

The only thing I did have to do was reset the power window automatic-up function, which was screwed up by the dead battery, the simple process of which was covered here last Friday.

Mike Monticello, Road Test Editor @ 18,112 miles.

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2011 Infiniti M56: You Ain't Goin' Nowhere

October 27, 2011

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Apologies for the poor grammar in the headline, and stealing the title from a Bob Dylan song. But that's exactly how I felt when I went out to the Infiniti M56 in a hotel parking garage in San Diego this week and found that the battery was dead.

Of course, I checked to make sure it wasn't due to user error, like leaving the headlights on (the switch was in the Auto position). And I since I was comparing the car's in-dash nav system to a portable and a smartphone nav app for an upcoming test, I made sure not to leave the two 12-volt power cords for them plugged in.

A call to AAA got me going, although it didn't solve the mystery of why the battery was out of juice. But the minor inconvenience pretty much ruined the rest of my afternoon.

I was in San Diego to moderate a panel discussion on car technology at an event organized by the people who put on the Consumer Electronics Show. After the morning panel I was sequestered in my room, cranking to meet a 5 o'clock copy deadline -- and wishing instead I could just go drive around to see how the nav systems worked in an unfamiliar city. But mostly just to get out and drive.

I finished a half hour early and headed for the door and a cruise along the coast. But it was not to be. By the time the AAA guy got the Infiniti fired up with a jump, it was almost dark. He advised that I drive the car for at least 45 minutes to charge the battery. So I set all three nav systems to find a school named after my surf buddy and glass artist Steve Correia in his old stomping grounds on Point Loma, and got there at dusk.

The cause of the dead battery? The only clue was a warning light in the dash for the Intelligent Key system, and the AAA guy mentioning that he's seen problems like this before with the technology.

I made sure that the engine cranked after shutting it off when I returned to the hotel an hour later. And as I walked up to the car the next morning to drive back to LA, I was relieved to see the courtesy lights in the driver's door handle greet me. And that it started without a problem.

Doug Newcomb, Senior Editor, Technology

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2011 Infiniti M56: 15,000-mile Service

October 03, 2011

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We told you that our 2011 Infiniti M56 needed service. What we didn't share was that we already took it in to Infiniti Santa Monica for its 15,000-mile service. This interval calls for the basics, an oil change and tire rotation, so we didn't expect much. But there were a couple of extras we didn't see coming.

Included in this visit were 3 recall items:

1) Navigation system update (ITB11 -- P1235)
2) Bluetooth microphone replacement (ITB11-047-P1239)
3) Rear sunshade replacement (ITB11-05-P1238)

Yes, the rear sunshade job is the same one we had done before. Now it is a known problem. What we don't know is how the dealer gets paid for doing the same job on the same car twice even though we didn't ask them to. Curious.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 15,755 miles

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2011 Infiniti M56: As Frequent As You Wanna Be

August 31, 2011

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Okay, yes, another post about our longterm 2011 Infiniti M56's oil. And yes, you've seen this image recently. But I couldn't help but think that the service advisor missed an opportunity to bolster his admonition to change the oil every 3750 miles.

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2011 Infiniti M56: Severely Scolded

August 30, 2011

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As the Infiniti M56 heads into its 15,000-mile oil change, I had occasion to look at the records from its 7,500-mile service back in May. The service advisor chided us in writing at the time, noting that the oil was "extremely dirty." (A subjective assessment, I would guess. I don't think the service included an analysis of the oil). He wrote that we should be changing the car's oil every 3,750 miles. As the consumer-advice team here reviewed the paperwork this morning, the warning gave us pause.

In this story, our writers debunked the myth of the 3,000-mile oil change. Most modern cars can go 7,000 or more between changes. The "less severe" Schedule 2 for the M56 calls for oil changes at 7,500-mile intervals. But according to the car's maintenance guide, Schedule 2 generally "applies only to highway driving in temperate conditions." If you're not on the open freeway in 70-degree weather, in other words, you should be using the "more severe" Schedule 1. That means an oil change every 3,750 miles.

Infiniti says severe means:

  • Repeated short trips of less than 5 miles in normal temperatures or less than 10 miles in freezing temperatures
  • Stop-and-go traffic in hot weather or low speed driving for long distances
  • Driving in dusty conditions or on rough, muddy, or salt-spread roads
  • Towing a trailer, or using a camper or car-top carrier.

In our time so far with the Infiniti M56, we've done the normal around-town trips that might have been less than five miles, and some measure of stop-and-go traffic in hot weather -- it's LA, after all. Does this really mean we should be changing the oil twice as often? Based on our oil-story research and articles on oil-testing, I'd say no. What do you say?

Carroll Lachnit, Features Editor @15,211 miles

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2011 Infiniti M56: Oil Change In Its Near Future

August 29, 2011

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Our 2011 Infiniti M56 coughed up this oil change reminder on its nav screen during the first restart that came after it crossed the 15,000-mile barrier.

We'll take it in very shortly -- unless, of course, I decide to do this one myself. You'll be the first to know.

Actually, my new neighbors and Mike Schmidt will know before that. And then there's the guy who'll be selling me the oil and filter.

I suppose I can promise you no better than fourth to know.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 15,105 miles

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2011 Infiniti M56: Fifteen Thousand Miles...And Counting

August 29, 2011

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Nine months: that's how long it has taken to put 15,000 miles on our 2011 Infiniti M56 long-term test car. Our goal is to put 20,000 miles on our long-term guests in a year, so we're right on schedule.

In that time the Infiniti suffered a cracked windshield, developed a squeaky rear sunshade. The former cost a grand to replace; the latter was fixed gratis under warranty. Apart from an oil change and tire rotation or two, that's pretty much been it.

The EPA rates the big V8's fuel economy at 16 mpg city, 25 mpg highway and -- this is the important one to focus on after miles of accumulated driving -- 19 mpg combined.

Our observed average after 15,000 miles of detailed record keeping? 19.1 mpg.

Nailed it.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ I'll give you one guess miles

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2011 Infiniti M56: Rear Sunshade Fixed

July 22, 2011

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The rear sunshade in our 2011 Infiniti M56 is fixed. No more trunk monkey, trunk woodpecker or whatever it is you crazy kids call it these days. We waited a day for the new rear shade assembly to arrive, at which point Santa Monica Infiniti replaced the annoying one. Order is restored.

Total Cost: None

Days out of Service: 1

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 12,525 miles

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2011 Infiniti M56: Getting Rid of the Gunner

July 13, 2011

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If you saw Takahashi's post about the M56's stuck window shade, you know that every shift into reverse was accompanied by a grinding motor drive that sounded like a B-movie Tommy gun sound effect. It was slightly annoying to maddening depending on who you asked and how recently they had completed a three point turn.

We took the M56 to the local dealer this morning and the service adviser said that the whole retractable shade unit would have to be replaced. It's now on order and should be in shortly. In the meantime, we'll be figuring out how to drive the M56 without ever having to put it in reverse.

Ed Hellwig, Editor, Edmunds.com

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2011 Infiniti M56: Trunk Woodpecker

July 08, 2011

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My esteemed colleague Mr. Jacquot discovered a rattle that he attributed to a trunk monkey. I think he's wrong. I think it's a woodpecker -- with a jackhammer. Another video after the jump.

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2011 Infiniti M56: Now With Trunk Monkey

July 06, 2011

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So I jumped in the M56 for my early commute this morning, threw it in reverse and was immediately alerted to the presence of a trunk monkey. I wasn't able to capture the occurence on the first go-round, but quickly discovered the source of the jackhammering coming from behind.

And I captured it on video after the jump.

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2011 Infiniti M56: The Signed Edition

June 14, 2011

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Last time I had to get a windshield replaced it cost about $350. The windshield for the M56 set us back nearly a grand more than that at $1,300.64. But for that ginormous price we got the signed edition, with the artist's trademark signature -- just a minimalist "JB" -- on the corner of the windshield. Not sure where this came from but I'm keeping it case JB becomes famous some day.

It was also thoughtful of Santa Monica Infiniti to take the oil change sticker from the old windshield and put it into our new windshield to make absolutely sure we changed our oil frequently. (I took a photo of that too, but it didn't look like much.) It was somehow fitting that our sticker was carefully reinstalled on the day that Jiffy Lube decided to re-evaluate the 3,000 mile oil change.

Philip Reed, Edmunds senior consumer advice editor @ 11,309

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2011 Infiniti M56: The Cost of a Windshield, Pt. 2

June 09, 2011

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We got the call that the windshield for our 2011 Infiniti M56 arrived, so we dropped it off at Santa Monica Infiniti for installation. Our advisor estimated a week for parts to arrive but it showed up sooner. That was yesterday morning...

Yesterday afternoon the phone rang. It was our advisor. The seal that came with the new windshield was defective. He had checked other dealerships for the part to no avail. Now he was calling to see what we wanted to do next.

Guy: I know you're anxious to get your car back. I can offer you a 10% discount and use the defective seal. Or, we could reuse the existing seal. What would you like to do?

IL: If this was your wife's car, what would you do?

Guy: I understand completely. We'll order the new seal. Unfortunately, we're going to need until tomorrow morning when our next shipment arrives. Sorry for the delays.

IL: Ok. Give us a call when it's ready.

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2011 Infiniti M56: The Cost of a Windshield

June 06, 2011

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"Hello, local auto glass guy? I'd like to get an estimate on a windshield for a 2011 Infiniti M56."

"Oooh, we don't have those yet. You'll have to call a dealer. It will be expensive."

Click.

"Hello, Infiniti Santa Monica? I'd like to get an estimate on a windshield for an M56"

"What year is it?"

"Really? Um, 2011."

"There are two types of windshield. What is the VIN? ...Ok, we don't have that windshield in stock. We'll order one. It should arrive in about a week. The cost is $1,250. We charge $250 for the labor, the rest is materials."

"Ok, order one up."

Click.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 11,102 miles

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2011 Infiniti M56: Blamo. Right in the Kisser Pt. 2

May 17, 2011

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Remember this? Well guess what...your predictions were right.

And I know you love being right.

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2011 Infiniti M56: Cracking 10,000 miles

May 09, 2011

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Last night, on world famous Sunset Blvd., our long-term 2011 Infiniti M56 covered its 10,000th mile. The car still feels new and has yet to need a repair of any kind. Which, lets face it, is how it should be.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief

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2011 Infiniti M56: 7,500-Mile Service

May 06, 2011

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Forgive us for being a tad late in reporting this, but our Infiniti M56 got serviced a while back to commemorate 7,500 miles on the odometer. Santa Monica Infiniti charged us $45.95 for labor and $23.52 for parts to change the oil and oil filter, and to rotate the tires.

We're happy to report that our trip to the dealership was uneventful. Nobody tried to scam us and the M56 was in and out in a matter of hours.

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor

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2011 Infiniti M56: Blamo. Right in the Kisser

March 22, 2011

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Took a rock (or some form of debris) on the commute home last night. Right in the middle of the windshield near its base. Made an absolutely horrid sound when it hit, which scared the life out of me.

Looked around, but in the dark couldn't pinpoint the location of the impact. Didn't even confirm the damage until this morning. Frankly, I'm surprised it's not worse given the intensity of the hit.

And that's just how it goes on the LA freeways. Bummer.

Josh Jacquot, Senior editor

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2011 Infiniti M56: IBA Off Warning

March 08, 2011

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Sorry for the blurry shot, but getting a picture of a near-random warning light that only turns on for a second or two 75% of the time you accelerate full throttle above 30 is more difficult than it sounds. And explaining what you're doing to the rent-a-cop in the empty mall parking lot is even less fun.

Anyway, the point: Over the weekend, the IBA (Intelligent brake assist) OFF warning light on our M56 was turning itself off and on. Normally this would happen during hard accelerations, but every so often it would just pop up at a steady highway cruise.

Now, according to the owner's manual, "The light illuminates when the Intelligent Brake Assist (IBA) off switch is pushed to OFF. This indicates that the Intelligent Brake Assist (IBA) system is not operating.

When the IBA off indicator light illuminates while the system is turned in (without the warning chime sound), this light indicates that the system control is temporarily unavailable.

When the IBA off indicator light illuminates with the warning chime sound while the IBA system is turned on, theis light indicates that the system may not be functioning properly. Park the vehicle in a safe place. Check to see if the laser sensor is clean. Turn the engine off, then restart the engine.

If the IBA off indicator light illuminates after following the procedures above, it may indicate that the system or Active Trace Control (if so equipped) is malfunctioning. Although the vehicle is still drivable under normal conditions, have the vehicle checked at in INFINITI retailer."

I pulled over the first time I saw it and read the above section (2-16) and, despite not hearing a beep, I checked the sensor (pictured below) and found nothing obstructing the view then re-started the vehicle. The light popped on a few more times, but no chime.

According to the book that means there's no problem, the system is simply unavailable. I think we'll mention it at the next service, but there doesn't seem to be a rush for this to be serviced. Would you take it in or wait it out -- considering the pulled section of owner's manual above.

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2011 Infiniti M56: 5,000 Milestone

March 07, 2011

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We introduced our 2011 Infiniti M56 on Dec 29, 2010 and in just over two months, we've crashed through the 5,000-mile mark.

Hooray!

In that time we've had no problems (except for some radar detector interference) and averaged 17.9 mpg. At this pace, we're on track to hit 30,000 miles in 12-months of testing-- though that estimate is probably off due to a small sample size.

Mike Magrath, Associate Editor, Edmunds.com @ 5,000 miles

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