Used 2006 INFINITI M45
Edmunds' Expert Review
If a torquey V8, superior driving dynamics G35-meets-FX45 styling appeal to you, then the 2006 Infiniti M45 is your car.
The original Infiniti M45 was designed for buyers who wanted something more than a G35, but something less than the flagship Q45. Though a good bargain, the old M45 just didn't have the style, features or interior room to appeal to luxury sedan buyers. It was a fast car, while its handling was firm but certainly not world-class.
After two years of sales, Infiniti pulled the plug and began work on an all-new M sedan. Well worth the wait, the new Infiniti car is a bona fide rear-drive performance sedan, still positioned between the flagship Q45 and the Infiniti G35 sport sedan. Looking much like a grown-up version of the G35, the Infiniti M45 sedan rides on an extended version of the G's rear-drive FM (front midship) platform. Unlike the previous Infiniti M45 sedan, the new M's interior offers dimensions and materials befitting a proper luxury ride. The standard interior is warm and inviting; the seats are firm and supportive; the standard amenities are plenty.
Its 340-hp, 4.5-liter, double-overhead-cam V8 is as good an engine as you'll find in any sedan. It provides plenty of low-end torque, freely revs to its 6,800-rpm redline and it's smooth enough to be in a car that costs twice as much. Power delivery, either out on the highway or off the line, is downright explosive. The responsive five-speed automatic transmission blips the throttle for you when you downshift and matches the engine revs flawlessly. The basic suspension setup is a double-wishbone front, multilink rear affair that, while tuned for compliance, isn't above taking on a stress-relieving two-lane blast into the foothills. The speed-sensitive steering is beautifully weighted, and never overboosted.
The Sport Package firms up the suspension without abandoning ride comfort, and adds Rear Active Steer which prompts the rear tires to emphasize turn-in when entering corners and enhance stability when exiting. Other Sport Package highlights include 19-inch cast-alloy wheels (standard are 18-inchers), climate-controlled front sport seats and aluminum interior trim. While the previous version never felt like a complete package, the new Infiniti M45 makes no excuses for its performance sedan intentions and feels like a hot rod next to the mild-mannered luxury sedans of the world. At the same time, a high level of style and luxury smooth the car's hard edges, and make the 2006 Infiniti M45 a must-drive in the midsize luxury sedan class.
trim levels & features
The Infiniti M45 sedan is offered in two trim levels, base and Sport. Each one is furnished with leather upholstery, a 10-way adjustable driver seat with memory, one-touch up-and-down power windows, dual-zone automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated outside mirrors and wood trim. The Sport includes rear active steering, sport suspension, upgraded wheels, adaptive HID headlamps, aluminum interior trim and climate controlled sport seats. Options include a DVD-based navigation system, voice recognition technology and laser-based intelligent cruise control (when in cruising mode, this system senses vehicles ahead and adjusts your speed to maintain a selected following distance). Among the other extras are climate-controlled seats, adaptive HID headlamps, a lane departure warning system and a 14-speaker Bose Studio Surround sound system with digital 5.1 channel decoding.
performance & mpg
The Infiniti M45 features a 4.5-liter V8 that pumps out 335 horsepower and 340 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed automatic with automanual capability and downshift rev matching is standard. At the track, that drivetrain gets the sedan from zero to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds, and through the quarter-mile in 14.4 seconds at 99.6 mph.
The M45 wears a full set of vented disc brakes, supplemented by ABS and the usual luxury car fare -- Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and BrakeAssist. Infiniti's VDC stability control system is also standard. All Infiniti M45 models also feature front-seat side-impact airbags, front and rear side curtain airbags and active head restraints for the front seats. An available lane departure warning system alerts the driver of unintended lane drifting.
The V8 engine in the 2006 Infiniti M45 provides gobs of low-end torque and is smooth enough to be in a car that costs twice as much. Power delivery, either out on the highway or off the line, is downright explosive. Braking performance is impressive, and a firmly tuned suspension provides excellent balance in the corners. The tradeoff is steering that can feel a bit raw around town and a suspension that crashes over large road irregularities, especially in the firm Sport model.
The M45's interior is well appointed and features ultrasoft leather seating and Brazilian Rosewood trim (aluminum on the Sport model). Its firm seats are infinitely adjustable, universally comfortable and heavily bolstered. Overall, the interior of this Infiniti car is well built and attractive, but its decor can be a bit busy.
Features & Specs
More About This Model
It's easy to imagine sitting down at a table with Infiniti's product planners, ripping the segment analyses and demographic charts out of their hands and asking, "What was your number-one goal in building the 2006 Infiniti M35 and M45?"
After a bit of teeth sucking and self-satisfied smiles, the true answer would come out: "We did it," the monsterminds of trend fulfillment would finally answer, "to win comparison tests."
Fair enough, and a noble, lofty ambition (remember, I'm just speculating here): create a sport-luxury sedan that's sporty enough to be entertaining, refined enough to lend enchantment to the drive and affordable enough to shame BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Is that really how you come out on top in a comparison test? Can't hurt. And does that translate into a hot-selling car? Ask the Infiniti G35.
Looking for all the world like grown-up versions of the G35, the Infiniti M35 and M45 sedans ride on an extended version of the G's rear-drive FM (front midship) platform. The added length allows the midsize Ms to stretch the G35's snubbed proportions and put some design perspective into its slab-of-beef rear end. Four chrome-tipped exhaust pipes don't hurt, either.
Unlike the previous Infiniti M45 sedan — now thankfully lost to the memories of all but a few — the new M's interior offers dimensions and materials befitting a proper luxury ride. Say it with us: "Ultrasoft leather and Brazilian Rosewood trim." The standard interior is warm; the seats are firm and supportive; the standard amenities are plenty. But you can option up the cars with a number of packages, right up to a $10,500 Premium Package that includes everything from heated, power-recline rear seats to a rearview monitor for the driver. Rearview monitor? Again, the upscale amenities are plenty. Just buy the nav system and you're set.
A trick, keyless push-button starting system — enabled by a proximity sensor in the key fob so you can just leave the key in your pocket, purse or briefcase — sets the M35's 3.5-liter V6 or the M45's 4.5-liter V8 into action.
The 335-horsepower V8 M45 rolls out power like an upper-crust car should, urging the sedan steadily forward with no gaps in the powerband.
And is there any truth to the rumor that a native tribe of car enthusiasts in Micronesia have erected altars to worship Nissan's V6? We hope so. Tuned to 280 hp in the Infiniti M35, the V6 doesn't keep pulling like the V8, but its instincts off the line are superb.
What really gives the V6 star status in the M35, however, is the five-speed automatic transmission. The M45 also uses this transmission but, with a broad torque profile like the V8's, a simple three-speed might seem excessive. However, the M35 needs the midrange help that the automatic's manual mode gives it. Slipping the shift lever into the shift-it-yourself channel and tapping down a gear or two puts you right back in the fat of the V6's power. With a bonus — the Infiniti automatic blips the throttle for you when you downshift and matches the engine revs flawlessly. Better than you could. Better than I could. Suddenly, an automatic transmission becomes relevant to an enthusiast driver.
Barely a handful of carmakers offers an automatic with a rev-matching manual mode. For the rest that don't, here's a simple exercise: Make a fist with your right hand and hold it up to your forehead, palm facing out. Now point your index finger straight up and your thumb out to the left, forming a reverse "L." Now look in the mirror because you are a loser.
The basic M35/M45 suspension setup is a double-wishbone front, multilink rear affair that, while tuned for compliance, isn't above taking on a stress-relieving two-lane blast into the foothills. The speed-sensitive steering is beautifully weighted, never overboosted.
If the well-behaved 2006 Infiniti M35 ($39,900) and 2006 Infiniti M45 ($46,750) models sound like a good start, but you're a bit more carnivorous in your driving, consider the M35 Sport ($42,700) and M45 Sport ($49,550). The Sport Ms firm up the suspension without abandoning ride comfort, and add Rear Active Steer which prompts the rear tires to emphasize turn-in when entering corners and enhance stability when exiting. Other Sport-model highlights include 19-inch cast-alloy wheels (standard are 18-inchers), climate-controlled front sport seats and aluminum interior trim.
Lifting a page from the German luxury playbooks, Infiniti also offers an all-wheel-drive version of the M, the Infiniti M35x ($42,700). Starting with a 50/50 front/rear torque split, the AWD system can vary the split to send up to 100 percent of the torque to the rear wheels.
There are prettier cars than the Infiniti M35 and M45 sedans. There are quicker cars. And cheaper cars. And there are more luxurious cars, too. But never all at once. And that's the point. That's how you win comparison tests.
Used 2006 INFINITI M45 Overview
The Used 2006 INFINITI M45 is offered in the following submodels: . Available styles include Sport 4dr Sedan (4.5L 8cyl 5A), and 4dr Sedan (4.5L 8cyl 5A).
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