2011 Infiniti M56: Fish Out of Water
July 11, 2011
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