2011 Infiniti M56 Long-Term Road Test

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2011 Infiniti M56: Eco Mode Options

October 13, 2011

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Perhaps you remember Ed's post a few weeks back about Hal under the M56's hood. You know, the throttle pedal that pushes back. Well, it turns out, like most features on the M56, this one is adjustable.

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2011 Infiniti M56: An Entirely Different Kind of Pedal

September 26, 2011

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As you can see, the gas pedal on our M56 is a little different than most. It does more than just transmit your every whim to the engine, it has a mechanism that can actively intervene.

It's part of the "ECO" drive mode, a setting that you might not be surprised to learn doesn't appreciate big chunks of throttle. Try to mash the gas and you get some very noticeable push back from the pedal. It's quite possibly one of the oddest sensations I've ever felt from a car.

And it works, if only because it feels so positively creepy that I decided to simply easy off the pedal and go slower than fight the Hal under the hood. If this is the future of fuel economy, it's going to get much scarier than you think.

Ed Hellwig, Editor, Edmunds.com

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2011 Infiniti M56: Going the Distance

August 16, 2011

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From the office to my place is about 48 miles, door-to-door. That's a pretty average commute for most Southern Californians (although it probably sounds insane to many readers around the country). I wasn't too concerned when signing out the M56 last night with only a quarter-tank of gas, nor when the range meter indicated the car only had 52 miles left in it. Yet only a couple of miles from the office, before the freeway, the meter dropped to 47.

This could be tight. Still, a quarter of a tank and less than 50 miles? Well, what the hell - why not? The Leaf has left us nearly or totally stranded a couple of times with its fluctuating charge-remaining estimates. And the Countryman almost left Dan Edmunds floating in a busy intersection with its optimistic estimate. Time to see if another long-termer would leave us hanging. It would be a good chance to test Eco mode at any rate.

Eco engaged, the M56 started resisting throttle input. It gives you a little leash on acceleration, but quickly starts fighting back. Interesting, but annoying. You can impose your will, but the car is still loathe to accelerate, as if hoping you'll change your mind. But I realized this was for my own good and went with the program. On reaching the on-ramp, the M56 had already given me back a couple of miles on the range meter.

The surge up the on-ramp starts slow and measured, but soon enough we're up to merging speed and the throttle becomes more compliant. The system seems to distinguish between the sharp, articulate pressure you'd use for a quick passing or evasive maneuver, and the greedier, roll-on pressure you'd use for just bossing your way around the lanes. It never felt like it compromised safety or the assurance of quick power for a few tenths of MPG.

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2011 Infiniti M56 vs. 2012 Infiniti M35h: Fuel Economy Edition

August 12, 2011

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Last week we brought you a track tested shootout between our Long Term 2011 Infiniti M56 and the hybrid-powered M35h.

The M56 with the big V8 walked away with a decisive win in the performance category, but that was to be expected. The M35h, though, held its own.

So now we turn the tables and look at the two from a greener POV to see how each stands up in real world driving.

The EPA says that the 2011 Infiniti M56 should get 16/25 with an average of 19.

The M35h, should manage 27/32 with an average of 29 mpg.

But do they?

2012 Infiniti M35h 24.4
2011 Infiniti M56 19.2

So we didn't hit the EPA numbers on the Hybrid, but we've pretty much nailed them for the M56. This could be due to limited miles compared with the thousands and thousands we've logged in the one we own, or it could be because the hybrid is a blast to drive and has a ton of torque and we got carried away.....

Either way, 5 mpg is a significant increase. Is it enough for you to consider the hybrid?

Mike Magrath, Features Editor, Edmunds.com

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2011 Infiniti M56: Pushin' It...Almost.

July 31, 2011

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I know everybody loves it when we gamble with the distance-to-empty calculators. For the record, the last number I saw was 21 miles to empty before I got the three lines.

Then I wimped out.

Josh Jacquot, Senior Editor

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2011 Infiniti M56: Clear Warning

July 25, 2011

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As you'd expect from a vehicle in this price range, our M56 has a trip computer that allows you to scroll through various screens so you can monitor things like exterior temperature and average miles per gallon.

One thing I noticed this weekend is that when the tank is almost empty, the trip computer defaults to a "Distance to Empty" display, regardless of what screen you had it on originally.

Some might argue that this setup just gives you an excuse to procrastinate, but I appreciated the constant and very explicit reminder. Of course, if you're low on gas and your vehicle has a trip computer, you'd likely check your distance to empty anyway. But I like the fact that the M56 saves you that extra step.

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor @ 13,385 miles

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2011 Infiniti M56: Gas Door Urban Legend?

July 10, 2011

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I had never driven the 2011 Infiniti M56 before, so when I pulled into a gas station to fill up I checked for the little triangle indicator that points to the side the fuel door is on. Being a classy and understated luxury sedan the tacky indicator was missing. No problem. I just looked to see which side of the gas pump the nozzle was positioned and I knew that meant the gas door was also on that side.

For the M56 it turned out to be true. But is this the case on all cars?

According to Snopes.com this isn't true. It's an urban legend that began circulating on the internet in 2007 often entitled, "The World's Best Kept Auto Secret." It would be nice if there was always a way of telling which side the fuel door was on without sticking your head out the window. For instance, maybe they could put a little triangle next to the gas pump symbol.

Philip Reed, Edmunds.com senior consumer advice editor @ 12,732 miles

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2011 Infiniti M56: A More Sensible Alternative

March 15, 2011

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Fuel prices these days have everyone second guessing their car-buying decisions. As I drove our long term 2011 Infiniti M56 last night, I tried to put myself in a buyer's frame of mind. If I was in the market for one of these cars, I would choose the 2012 M35h Hybrid instead. Here's why.

When we tested the M35h, the performance numbers were very similar to the M56. While the allure of a V8 is awfully tempting, I'm fine with sacrificing a few tenths of a second in track times in favor of significantly better fuel economy. The EPA estimates that the M56 will get 16 mpg in the city, 25 mpg on the highway and 19 mpg in combined driving. The M35h hasn't been formally rated by the EPA, so I'm basing this on Nissan's estimates. The automaker says that the Infiniti M35h gets 27/32/29. This is a 53 percent increase in fuel economy over the M56 and still 38 percent better than an M37.

Here's something else that would appeal to me as a potential M buyer. The M35h's starting price is $4,750 less than the M56. From this perspective, the hybrid looks like a screaming deal. Yes, the M37 is still $6,650 less expensive than the hybrid, but if I had enough money to consider an M56, then the price wouldn't be the only deciding factor. I'd like to make a statement with my car, too. I'd want my buddies at the law firm to know that I'm into performance, but I don't have to be reminded of it at the gas pump every week.

As I take off my M56 loafers and spray them with Lysol, I'll ask you to put yourself in these shoes. If you could own any of the three, which flavor of "M" would you choose?

Ron Montoya, Consumer Advice Associate @ 5,309 Miles

*UPDATE: Thanks to reader Mikes12 for pointing out that the EPA has formally rated the M35h.

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2011 Infiniti M56: ECO is ODD

December 30, 2010

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I'm with Hellwig when it comes to the Sport setting. I'd just set it there and forget it. I tried out the Eco mode on the way into the office today and it's just plain odd.

Besides neutering a good chunk of the M56's performance, it also engages the EcoPedal, which pushes back when you start applying more throttle. You can push past it with enough leg pressure, so at least you can get a good blast of power if needed. It takes some getting used to, for sure, but I'm beginning to see its merits. I'd prefer something like the EcoPedal to the usual efficiency meters that require more attention. This means you can keep your eyes on the road, and that's always good.

Whether or not this kind of system sees widespread acceptance is anyone's guess. I think with some fine tuning, it has potential.

What do you think? Is it just a novelty?

Mark Takahashi, Associate Editor

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