2011 Infiniti M56: The End is Near
December 14, 2011
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