February 23, 2012
Read the introduction of this vehicle to our long-term fleet.
See all of the blog posts on the 2011 Infiniti M56.
When Infiniti offered us a 2011 M56 for a long-term test, we accepted on one condition — it had to be a standard model, no Sport package allowed.
We had tested Infiniti's newly redesigned flagship sedan twice before (M56 vs. Mercedes-Benz E550 and M56 vs. BMW 550i). Both Ms tested were the M56S, with the Sport package, and both rode like covered wagons. No thanks. We liked the car, but the rough ride was a deal-breaker. And a back-breaker.
Infiniti agreed and sent us a tech-laden silver M56 with no Sport package. The timing was perfect. We were just weeks away from introducing a long-term 2011 BMW 528i and 2011 Hyundai Equus to the fleet. The next 12 months and 20,000 miles offered an ideal opportunity for direct comparison of the three luxury sedans.
One attribute of the 2011 Infiniti M56 that first attracted us rested beneath the hood. Its 5.6-liter V8 generates 420 horsepower and 417 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to the rear wheels via its seven-speed automatic transmission and delivered with the wiggle of a toe.
Engineering Editor Jason Kavanagh was at the helm when we strapped our M56 to the inertia dyno. Kavanagh blogged, "There's more than 350 lb-ft of torque to the wheels between 2,400 and 5,400 rpm and a peak of 377 lb-ft. For a luxury car to properly soothe, you don't want some cammy, thumping beast of an engine. Those are great for sporting vehicles but just don't cut it in a luxosedan. You do, however, want torque. Preferably down low, to help a heavy sedan of the line. This XK56VD, as it's known internally, is no slouch down low."
As with so many vehicles today, electronic throttle sensitivity created a divide within our ranks. Some priced out aftermarket throttle cables and urged Infiniti to revert to the good old days. Others found peace with the electrons. Editor Ed Hellwig explained, "No doubt, the Sport setting is worth it. I know we panned the M56 for being too sporty when it went up against the BMW in a recent comparison test. But this setting is different as it applies to the throttle and transmission settings only. Here, Infiniti got it right. The throttle is more aggressive for sure, but it's not too jumpy. It doesn't make the car twitch every time you adjust your right foot. Instead, it just feeds out its substantial power in a more urgent manner."
January 09, 2012
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
January 05, 2012
Seat speakers have been around for awhile now. Remember the Fiero's perforated headrests?
But even as the sheer number of speakers in some high-end systems has grown, few automakers have gone the seat speaker route. I can understand why after driving our M56 again last night.
For one, they don't sound any better than your standard door-mounted speakers, at least from my admittedly untrained ears. Don't get me wrong, the Infiniti's system sounds great overall, it just isn't noticeably better than other similar systems.
Second, they look ridiculous. Not quite aftermarket levels of lame, just "they couldn't find a better place for those" kind of stupid. Maybe they would look more appropriate in a $35K G37, but in a nearly $60 M they're just not right.
Ed Hellwig, Editor, Edmunds.com
January 03, 2012
I was driving home on the freeway the other day while it was actually moving freely. But I couldnt shake a woman in another Infiniti who insisted on driving right next to me. I hate when people do that. It's so dangerous. You know that they 1) don't really know how to drive, or 2) are ignorant, or 3) are distracted or 4) are all of the above.
Because she was right next to me I couldn't get a look at the back of her car to see which model she was driving but it looked like a G35 sedan circa 2005. Her instrument panel was a wash of bright amber light. Perhaps it was clouding her vision and she didn't even realize I was there. I find amber lights tiring to the eyes.
It made the panel in our 2011 Infiniti M56 looks like the gauges in a space ship by comparison.
What is your favorite gauge light color?
Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor 20,214 miles
January 03, 2012
It's really difficult to photograph fog. This picture was taken about half past midnight on New Year's Eve. I was this year's designated driver. For days we've been having this strange misty fog blow in off the ocean after sundown. It comes rolling down my street like scary ghosts. Remember the scene in the Ten Commandments movie when the Holy Spirit strikes? It's like that. It actually comes in my front windows reaching out its spooky fingers. Yikes! I tried to record it with my video camera but like a ghost it was too shy to be photographed.
December 31 was a nice day but when we left the NYE party, the outside was like a scene from a horror movie. I couldn't get the windows of the Infiniti to clear up. I had to sit in the parking lot for a while before I could see. Luckily, I only live about a half mile from the party and didn't encounter anyone else on the road the whole way home.
Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor @ 20,145 miles
December 28, 2011
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.
December 27, 2011
If you were paying attention last week you know I predicted my missing the 20,000-mile milestone over the holiday weekend. And that's exactly what happened. The M turned over the zeros on the freeway last night and I coundn't snap the above shot until I exited.
So this is as close as I got.
Still, here's something nice that I noticed this morning...
December 23, 2011
Ah, close enough.
It's a holiday weekend. The M56 is going to roll through the 20,000-mile milestone this weekend signifying the end of its time with us.
Now you know.
Josh Jacquot, Senior editor
December 20, 2011
Being a native Californian (in addition to being of a tropical people) I HATE the cold. Hate it. And that's why I always need the seat heater on (and wish that my desk chair was equipped with one). So you'll understand why I was disappointed by the heating skills of our 2011 Infiniti M56's seat heaters.
As you can see I turned that sucker on full blast this morning when temps dipped way down to 45 degrees (BRRRRR!) and yet I didn't even start to feel heat until 10 minutes into the commute to work. AND what the Infiniti calls full blast, I call tepid. I kept feeling the seat to make sure it was on. But nope, that was all it got.
I know those who don't like their seat heaters to get too hot will be happy but I just prefer to have the option to crank my heater to scorching.
Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor
December 19, 2011
This is one of my favorite convenience features on our 2011 Infiniti M56. It isn't much, which is why I'd call it a convenience. And maybe I'm easily amused. But when the handle lights up as I approach the car in the pitch black, I still think it's cool.
Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 19,704 miles