2011 Infiniti M56 Long-Term Road Test

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2011 Infiniti M56: The End is Near

December 14, 2011

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We're almost at the one-year mark with our long-term M56. I decided to hop in it last night (which might be one of the last opportunities for me). I met up with some of my colleagues and peers at a gathering of automotive journalists when the phone rang.

The name on the Bluetooth screen said Michael Magrath. Turned out he needed me to pick him up and zip him back home, since he forgot to close a window or something. I was pretty much stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic on Wilshire Boulevard, and the M56 was just fine. It was comfortable, quiet and the iPod integration is excellent.

When I finally picked up Mike, we headed to his place, which was fairly close to the event. On that route through side streets, I had the opportunity to drive with a lot more purpose. And that's when the M56's main fault reminded me why I won't be mourning its departure.

It's all about the throttle response and shift harshness. You step on the pedal and there's barely a response, then whoooom! It takes off. The shifts, both up and down, were as clumsily executed as a beginner trying a manual transmission for the first time.

Mike summed it up well by saying, "it drives just fine if you're just creeping along, but with this much power, it begs to be driven harder."

Given my proclivity for hard driving, there are other $60,000 luxury sedans I'd take over the Infiniti. Of those, I think I'd opt for a Mercedes C63 AMG (probably an E-Class, too) or a Jaguar XF. Our BMW 5 Series never really won me over, either.

What would you pick in this class?

Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor

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2011 Infiniti M56: A Comfort Mode Away From Greatness

December 06, 2011

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Look at all of those glorious settings....

This is the interior of an Audi. It offers Comfort, Auto, Dynamic and Individual settings that can modify the engine, transmission, steering, shocks and sport differential. It's way better than the Snow, Sport, dot and Eco setting on our M56. In fact, you can't even get adjustable suspension on an M56, let alone adjustable steering and diff.

And that's a real shame. After nearly a year with the M56 I'm finally used to the way the throttle works (sport and snow are the best settings), I love the interior and besides being a little high, I really like the seats. But I just couldn't put up with this car's ride.

Brent Romans offered this critique, "Again, I agree that our M56's ride isn't as good as a 5 Series or an E-Class, particularly if they're fitted with their optional adaptive suspensions. But my overall take would be that while the ride isn't quite as refined as what you can get from other mid-size luxury sedans, this deficiency is a pretty minor issue."

Not for me. Not for my commute. Not every day and certainly not for $67,225. I love this thing as a sport sedan when the road opens up and gets all twisty, but at 6:30am in bumper-to-bumper traffic I just want to be comfortable.

The GTR has Comf, why can't this?

Mike Magrath, Features Editor, Edmunds.com @ 19,040 miles

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2011 Infiniti M56: Now Hear This (Video + Audio)

November 10, 2011

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There was enough positive response from yesterday's rev-matching video that today I offer this: Another video for the sole purpose of listening to the M's glorious V8.

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2011 Infiniti M56: Rev Matching Video

November 09, 2011

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Several of our long-term cars have automatic transmissions with sporting intentions. Among those is the M56. Also among them is Acura TSX. I addressed my feelings about the Acura's performance issues a few weeeks ago.

Today I'll show you why I like the M56's gearbox.

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2011 Infiniti M56: Too Much Sauce

October 31, 2011

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When I drove our M56 for the first time, I was shocked by the amount of power available instantly. Well, during my second go around I had the same problem.

Every start I had was a double start, meaning I would touch the gas, find it was too much, dial back and then reapply an appropriate amount. My wife gets car sick very easily so the herky jerky double starts put the M56 at the bottom of her list of favs. The only way I was able to get around this problem was resorting to putting it into Eco or Snow mode. In those modes the car is listless and boring. I just couldn't find the sweet spot with this car.

If it's just me, yeah I don't mind the sauce. This is the first time I'm going to say this, but I think the M56 has too much power for traveling with passengers. I'd prefer a little more progression.

Scott Jacobs, Sr. Mgr, Photography

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2011 Infiniti M56: Automatic Window Switch Malfunction

October 28, 2011

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Here's something that's never happened to me before: The Infiniti M56's one-touch automatic down/up power window system stopped operating properly. I noticed this yesterday as I was leaving the Edmunds parking garage. I hit the power window switch once to roll down the window to flash my parking pass at the gate, and that worked just fine, but when I hit the window switch once to power the window back up, the window only moved a small amount.

Hmm...that's weird.

After fiddling with all the switches when I got home, it was obvious the one-touch power-up function wasn't working on any of the windows.

A consultation with the owner's manual revealed that there is in fact a power window automatic function initialization/reset process. Here it is:

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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: Just Civil Enough

October 10, 2011

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Last night, I went out to dinner in our long-term 2011 Infiniti M56 with my boyfriend's family. There's just enough legroom and shoulder room for four adults to get comfortable in this car -- nobody had to scoot way up, but neither is there tons of room to spare.

His parents give me the benefit of the doubt in most areas, but I was still making an extra effort to be smooth with my inputs. I didn't even consider using the drivetrain's Sport mode. Still, the M's non-linear throttle response got me on two occasions, as the big V8 suddenly tugged hard on the leash as I was accelerating gingerly from a stop. "This car must have a lot of power," I heard from the backseat.

Uh-huh, it does. And that makes me want to cut the Infiniti some slack. This car is rated for 420 hp and 417 lb-ft of torque, and when you floor the throttle on a freeway entrance ramp, well, it gets exciting in a hurry... when did we start thinking of 400-horsepower sedans as docile creatures that should be as easy and smooth to drive as a Toyota Avalon? I think I'm going to blame Mercedes.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 16,765 miles

P.S. If you're in L.A. and hunger for Hakata-style ramen (wherein the broth is pork bone-based), Shin-sen-gumi is a good place to go.

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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: What's Wrong With This Picture?

September 12, 2011

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The manual shifting function, that's what. The direction you pull/push the lever is opposite from what makes sense.

I do like that the system gives big throttle blips on manual downshifts, but the lever operation should be push forward for downshifts, pull back for upshifts, and that's not the way it is here on the M56.

What boggles my mind that most manufacturers set up their manual-shifting automatics incorrectly.

So why is the direction you push/pull the lever important?

Most of the time when you're downshifting, you are decelerating and the force of that moves your body forward. Therefore it makes sense to push the lever forward. Why fight physics, right? And when you're accelerating (and therefore upshifting), your body is moving rearward, so it makes sense to pull back for the upshift.

But only a few manufacturers opt for the correct and intuitive operation, such as BMW, Mazda, Ford and Lincoln.

Pretty much everyone else does it wrong. Even Porsche, with its automatics and now their PDK dual-clutch systems, sets up their shifting in the wrong fashion, being pull back on the lever to downshift. The hilarious part with Porsche is that the sequential transmission in their 911 GT3 Cup race cars is push forward to downshift.

Ask an official from BMW or Mazda why they have their automatics set up the way they do and they'll tell you it's all about the way the body is moving during upshifts/downshifts. That's how they settled on push forward/downshift, pull back/upshift.

Ask any of the other manufacturers how they chose their shift direction, and they either a) have no idea, "It's just the way we chose to do it." or b) say it's the way the industry does it or c) say it's the way their customers want it.

For some reason, some people associate shifting down with pulling back. I just don't get that.

Now, if I owned the M56 I'm sure I would eventually get used to its incorrect operation. But it would still always be wrong.

Mike Monticello, Road Test Editor @ 15,634 miles.

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2011 Infiniti M56: Touchy, Touchy

September 09, 2011

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After spending almost a week in a very off-road capable but not particularly sporting SUV, it was refreshing to hop in the Infiniti M56 and have real power at my disposal in traffic. I'm talking REAL power here. What a terrific V8. Good sounds, smooth, and did I mention its power?

But, the M56 does have a few faults, some that might actually keep me from buying it.

As you might have guessed, this is another throttle tip-in story. There's actually more to it than that, though. In sum, the M56 is kind of spastic. In Sport mode it's ridiculous how abrupt it is leaving the line. Switching to Normal is better and more manageable, but still jerky if you hit the throttle with any force. Of course you could try Eco mode, but that's just plain silly, as the throttle seems to actually put force back against your foot. Good way to give your right leg a workout, though.

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

August 06, 2011

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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 2012 Infiniti M35h we knew we had to settle this the only way car guys know how: with numbers.

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2011 Infiniti M56: Playing Favorites

July 29, 2011

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As I was eagerly making my way to the M56 after work the other night, I realized a couple of things.

The first thing is that I really like driving this car. The mill feels like it's bursting with power and is responsive to even the slightest throttle inputs. Every maneuver becomes a recipe for enjoyment.

The second thing is that I like driving this car more than I like driving our 528i. I'd never have guessed that I'd wind up feeling that way. They're both big cars, but the M56 feels more spry, less ponderous.

Our M56 is a good-looking sedan within and without, but I still prefer the chilly Germanic aesthetic seen in the 5 Series (and the E-Class), and that's definitely something I'd consider if I were shopping in this segment. When it comes to driving dynamics, though, the M56 really tickles me, more so than the 5.

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor

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2011 Infiniti M56: Fish Out of Water

July 11, 2011

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I had requested the 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor for a trip to the Sierra but it was already taken. Instead, I took the 2011 Infiniti M56 and headed north to Lone Pine, about 230 miles north of Los Angeles. Saturday, we drove to a trailhead north of Bishop, elevation 9,300 feet. The luxury sedan handled the road just fine in the sport setting and the 5.6L V8 had plenty of power even in the thin air. Parking at the trailhead I felt a bit sheepish like a city slicker at a rodeo. But really, for driving paved roads to any trailhead, the M56 was great, even though it didn't fit the image of the rugged outdoorsman that I try to cultivate.

My hiking buddy owns a QX56 and he had a few comments comparing the two vehicles.

First, my friend said that being in a sedan made him feel like his butt was scraping on the ground. Still, he loved the front seat leg room (and the rear seat occupant didn't complain when he slid the seat back). And he admitted that his Infiniti SUV's fuel economy is only in the high teens. On the drive from Los Angeles to Lone Pine the M56 got 21 mpg and on the return trip we saw 28 mpg using cruise control set at 70 mph.

My friend spent a lot of time playing with the nav system and said the downloads in the M56 were slower than in his SUV. Also, we both noticed that the small icon of the speed limit sign, visible on the nav screen, disappeared when we left the interstate. Driving U.S. Highway 395 through the small towns in the Owens Valley the speed limit is frequently changing and the highway patrol is out in force. Easily seeing the speed limit would be very helpful.

The only thing that put a damper on the trip was the Gatling gun noise coming from the window shade malfunction. When you put the M56 in reverse it sounds like you under attack from about 20 seconds. It will be visiting the dealership soon to have that repaired.

Philip Reed, Edmunds.com senior consumer advice editor @ 12,763 miles

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2011 Inifiniti M56: Choose Your Cliches Carefully

July 01, 2011

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The M56 is a respectable handling full-size luxury sedan. Even our car without the Sport Package's 20-inch wheels, summer tires and stiff suspension will stomp most comers in the On-Ramp Grand Prix. But it's no go kart.

And it annoys me when people say as much.

You see, there are people who understand cars, know a thing or two about driving fast and have actually done so once or twice in their lives. And then there are those insulting wonks who insist on tossing out worthless cliches like the one my neighbor used last night to describe the M56's handling. He actually said the words "man, it handles like a go kart."

No. It does not.

Go karts pound the snot out of you. They vibrate so hard you can't see. They're nervous. They're frantic. They're anxious and they're insanely responsive. Drive them hard enough and they will break your ribs, your kidneys and your spleen -- in that order if you're lucky.

The M56 will do none of these things. Drive it hard while forgetting to activate the climate control and you'll be lucky to break a sweat. But it will get on down the road with a quiet, peaceful and relentlessly rapid pace. It will go and go while keeping its occupants comfortable, isolated from the world outside and as safe as they deserve to be. Bend it into a corner and it holds a line with confidence, encouraging more throttle just past the apex like a textbook-handling rear-driver should. It's confident, intutive and stable. It handles like, well, like it were on rails.

So put that in your cliche pipe and smoke it, neighbor.

Josh Jacquot, Senior editor

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2011 Infiniti M56: Heavy Foot, Dirty Bumper

June 30, 2011

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I noticed this today as I was pulling in behind the M56. Looks like there's some carbon exhaust buildup on the bumper. I'd guess this has something to do with the way the car is driven...

...at wide open throttle.

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2011 Infiniti M56: Fine Commuter, But Not Feeling It

June 06, 2011

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There's no denying that our 2011 Infiniti M56 has an exciting engine once you get past the halting throttle response. The torque hits hard after that, yet the V8 likes to rev (and I like engines that like to rev), so assuming you have a big enough gap in traffic, you can just keep on going before easing up on the throttle and letting the transmission upshift.

Ride quality is pretty good without the Sport package, as the big sedan is compliant and forgiving over most surfaces, and road noise only gets excessive over the truly bad sections of freeway. So with the standard setup, the Infiniti M56 is up to par in ride comfort for a midsize luxury sedan.

Yet, I'd take the Sport package back if I could.

Because I'm a glutton for punishment? Yes... because I know how this car rides with 20-inch summer tires and the more aggressive spring and damper calibrations. But I miss how the M56S feels -- the more immediate turn-in response, the exaggerated steering feel. Nah, it's unlikely I'd really make use of the 3-mph difference in slalom speed between this M56 and the last M56S we tested during a commute.

But the M56S drives like a more interesting car -- it's the kind of car I'm motivated to take on a back road and, at this price level, what's another $3,650 for a sport package? I'm planning a road trip to Montana later this summer, and I'd choose an M56S for that adventure with no hesitation (it's a solo trip so no worries about others' ride-related discomfort). But the M56? It feels a bit too much like a Honda Accord with a V8 engine.

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2011 Infiniti M56: Dear Infiniti

June 02, 2011

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See that? That's a real, honest to goodness throttle cable.

Since none of the presets you've managed to come up with are any good, I'd like you to throw out that select-a-mood electronic throttle bulls*!# and use one of these instead. You might as well just go back to letting the driver select, via their ankle, whether they want to save fuel or haul ass.

Summit Racing has them. Here's the link. They're only 40 bucks.

Thanks.

Kurt Niebuhr, Photo Editor @ 11,021 miles

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2011 Infiniti M56: No Replacement for Displacement

May 19, 2011

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At least to me, there's nothing quite like a big V8 or V12 under the hood. I had a momentary lapse of reason last week with some electric cars, but I'm all better now. What cured me?

Our Infiniti M56 and our 5-oooooh Mustang.

It's that intoxicating flood of power; the rumble and roar of the exhaust and the ability to dispatch that idiot in the right-turn-only lane that thinks he's going to beat you through the intersection. So long, sucka!

Just knowing you have that power on tap is worth the price of admission. It's like that crazy friend of yours that is always up for some ridiculous adventure. The one whose favorite phrase is, "hey y'all, watch this!" You can live vicariously through that friend, but it's much more fun actually being there with them.

Meanwhile, six-cylinder and lesser engines leave me feeling like I just spent time with the friend that got pressured into getting married and starting a brood. The dependable friend that is just a bit shy of actually living. The one you want to toss into a Fight Club ring to get him burning with a little more intensity. Adding a turbocharger is about the equivalent of joining him on some adult summer camp to live out some rockstar or tough guy fantasy. Both the engine and the friend end up being a fun time, but only a simulation of what the raucous buddy or V8 can deliver.

More. Give me more.

Mark Takahashi, Associate Editor

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2011 infiniti M56: This Big Boy Can't Dance

May 16, 2011

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Really, I’ve tried.

I’ve put this big boy on wide roads and narrow, on gently winding two-lanes across rolling pasture land and nasty little tangles in narrow canyons. I’ve dialed it up and dialed it back. Driven it with my fingertips and driven it with my biceps. Made the tires rush smoothly through the bends and made the brakes smoke into hairpins.

But it ain’t dancing for me.

When you let this car drive in the comfort mode, it does a fine job of insulating the cabin from the tremble of rough pavement, but even mild variations in the camber of the road surface tip the car out of balance. Not a lot, mind you, but enough to distract you. And as soon as the road starts to bend back and forth, the car just seems to tip out of its comfort zone altogether, rolling awkardly (even if it's just a little) and taking an uncomfortable set. Even left-foot braking doesn't seem to help the car keep its balance.

You can give yourself the illusion of tightening things up in the Sport mode, but the overlay of abrupt throttle response makes the task of guiding this 4,037-pound car down the road worse instead of better, because quick power inputs just make the chassis confused. And don’t be blaming it all on the tires, as these 50-series 18-inchers make this car more predictable than the M56S’s 40-series 20-inchers and don’t give up more than a fraction of grip, much as our testing of the M56 and the M56S has shown. And the M56S's trick four-wheel-steer program is really better at producing numbers in the slalom than in straightening out a long and winding road.

What we’re talking about here is balance — a nearly indefinable coordination that you look for in any athlete, human or mechanical. And this car doesn’t have balance.

Infiniti knows what balance is, as the original 1990 Infiniti Q45 showed us all those years ago. But every time I drive this car I want to head for the Nissan proving ground in Arizona, start throwing springs and dampers and bars and bushings at this car until it comes good. Maybe throw some new electrons at it, too.

There should be a good car inside the Infiniti M56, but right now this big boy can’t dance.

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, Edmunds.com

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2011 Infiniti M56: Dyno Tested

May 04, 2011

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Having driven our 2011 Infiniti M56 around for several months, one thing is certain -- this big, comfy luxury car has motor. It's an impression we've relayed on several occasions.

Seat of the pants is nice and all, but what sort of powerband does this thing really have? Too often the butt can be fooled by calibration-related tweaks. Is it a top-end screamer or a low-down stump-puller? Such questions keep us up at night.

The dyno has no time for subjectivity or hyperbole. So we did the right thing and strapped our M56 down to the rollers of the Dynojet 248 inertia dyno at MD Automotive in Westminster, CA. The result is, as the kids like to say, after the jump.

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2011 Infiniti M56: Adaptive Cruise Control

April 29, 2011

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I somehow ended up in the middle of the desert this week and had to drive back in our long-term M56 (notice the bug graveyard on the bumper). I'm usually not a fan of cruise control, but on a flat, featureless expanse of highway, I gave it a shot. The last time I tested an Infiniti QX56, I complained that the adaptive cruise control was far too abrupt. When traffic cleared in front, the QX felt like it almost hit full throttle to reach the target cruise control speed. When a car entered the same lane, the QX felt like it slammed on its brakes.

I expected the M56 to be similarly jumpy, but I was wrong…

It was smooth -- a nice gentle ramp up to speed and a gradual coast to slow down. I'm glad Infiniti got it right on this one. Cooled seats also made the drive seem a lot shorter. There some things that I don't like about the Infiniti M56 (I'll save those for another post), but as a long-haul sedan, I admit, I'm a fan.

Mark Takahashi, Associate Editor

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2011 Infiniti M56: Donate a Kidney To The Z

April 06, 2011

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The 5.6-liter V8 that goes into the Infiniti M56 is a beast. It's one of the two things I like most about our car. But it's a shame that the V8 sees such limited play in other models. So how about this, Nissan: Figure out a way to shoehorn it into the Nissan Z to create a limited run of 560Zs. Would this not just be super cool?

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2011 Infiniti M56: 400 HP Is The New 300 HP

March 28, 2011

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I feel like I fell asleep in my office chair, woke up and suddenly found myself in a different world. Who decided that it was OK to offer more than 400 horsepower in a V8-powered mainstream luxury sedan?

Well, I guess the automakers did. Our 2011 Infiniti M56 thumps out 420 hp. The 2011 BMW 550i has 400 hp. Oh, poor Lexus GS 460 -- you're so 2008 with your paltry 342 hp.

The thing is, you used to get this kind of power only in dedicated sport sedans like the old 2000-2003 BMW M5. I remember being awed at the 394-hp figure at the time. Now getting 400 hp out of your regular midsize luxury sedan is like seeing another Kardashian post on TMZ. Yawn.

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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: A Better Balance

February 14, 2011

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Jacobs wasn't kidding about our longterm 2011 Infiniti M56. Thing's got motor. Holy crap. Just dip your toe and there's an ocean of thrust at your command. Doesn't matter much where the tach's pointed, it just hurls forward.

This past weekend was my first seat time in the big sedan, and the car in this guise is far more convincing than in full-kill Sport trim. We had the Sport for our comparison test from several weeks back, and I came away from my time in the car thinking it was trying too hard. Too stiff, too fiddly, too much intervention, too much trying to convince you that it's a real sports sedan. It wasn't honest.

When the M56 is dialed back a notch as it is like this longtermer, it's a terrific car. It has the compliance you want but still enough substance in the damping and steering to convey a premium vibe. Shades of sportiness without all the pretense. It's honest.

And, yeah, it hauls ass. Truly a wolf in sheep's clothing.

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor

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2011 Infiniti M56: You Like'a Da Sauce?

February 11, 2011

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Like I said in my last post, I've never driven our M56. My first eye opening driving experience was while patiently waiting for traffic to clear at the exit of the office garage. Once my window of opportunity opened I hit the gas.

The tires screeched loudly and my eyes opened up like saucers as the tach rapidly pegged. The M56 was flying like a bat out of hell. I didn't want to go that fast, but there I was tearing up the road. With a loud "Holy Poop" expletive said to an audience of one, I learned to respect the Infiniti's power.

Allow me to channel the Wooderson for a moment. Let me tell ya was the Infiniti is packing here, alright? We got a 5.6-liter, 32-valve V8, pumping out 420 hp @ 6,000 rpm with 417 lb-ft @ 4,400 rpm. We're talking some trucking muscle.

Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer @ 4,140 miles

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2011 Infiniti M56: No-Default Knobs

January 21, 2011

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In a day when every feature of the modern car is reset per single key cycle, it's refreshing to see these knobs in the M56.

Both Ed and Mark have beaten the always-stays-in-sport-mode thing to death already so I won't bother with that. The real point here is that I enjoy setting these knobs where I want them and knowing they'll be in the same position the next time I start the car.

And as a hidden bonus, it means I can leave the seat heaters cranked up to ass-fry for the next sucker who drives the car. Nice.

Josh Jacquot, Senior editor

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2011 Infiniti M56 Track Tested

January 17, 2011

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We've had the 2011 Infiniti M56 in our office before and the results have always been the same, "great numbers, but boy does that sport ride get tiring."

Our new Long Term Infiniti M56, however, does not have the sport package. It rolls on 18-inch wheels with all season tires but still has that great 420-horsepower V8 and solid chassis. So it's got some good stuff going and it doesn't have the rough suspension which should add up to a better every day car. But.what's it add up to on the track? This is a sport sedan, right?

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

Specifications:
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-in one-piece ventilated steel discs with 2-piston sliding calipers
Brake Type (rear): 12.1-in one-piece ventilated steel discs with 1-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)

Braking

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

Handling

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 RPM were 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, so RPM 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: Skidpad: Does not exhibit the edginess of the sport suspension and summer tire equipped M56. This one pretty much wants to circle the skidpad 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 les 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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2011 Infiniti M56: Still Trying to Settle In

January 03, 2011

2011_infiniti_m56_sunset.jpg

Make no mistake, I enjoy driving around in our new long-term 2011 Infiniti M56. Save for maybe the Jag XF, it's the best looking sedan in the premium, midsize, rear-drive class. I also like the driving position, which has a low-cowl feel with an expansive view out the front.

For some reason, though, I can't get used to the throttle response. It doesn't seem to matter whether I have the dial in Normal or Sport, response is very soft at tip-in. Give it little more... and Blammo! Congratulations! You're in a V8 sedan! Revel in the awesomeness of it all!

Which is to say, the torque comes on with a fury. Which is great when I'm the only one in the car.

And when my boyfriend's parents are in the car? Ah, well, not so much then. I've yet to record a clean trip when I didn't jerk their necks to and fro at least once with a clumsy go-pedal input. I really can't explain this... I didn't have a problem with the M56S that we put in a comparison test against the Benz E550 last spring (although we noted an odd throttle calibration in that M, too).

Maybe I'm just not cut out to be a chaffeur.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 2,321 miles

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2011 Infiniti M56: ECO is ODD

December 30, 2010

M56Dial.jpg

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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