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 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 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
December 12, 2011
Although the current Infiniti M56 is based on the Japanese market's Nissan Fuga it wasn't always that way. The first generation "M", made from 2003-2004 and called the M45 at the time, was based on the Nissan Gloria, which was the sportier sibling to the Nissan Cedric. In naming its cars for the Japanese market, Nissan has a thing for personal names (Silvia, Serena, Sunny, etc.)
December 07, 2011
Although the current-generation Infiniti M is larger than its predecessors, it has a narrower track than either the Mercedes-Benz E-Class or the BMW 5 Series, and it's slimmer across the shoulders, too. The upshot is that our long-term M56 does not feel like a full-size car (as the Benz and Bimmer do), and the interior is more of a cockpit than a cabin.
Why does Infiniti make its middle-size sedan so compact?
It's not really about keeping weight down or making the car feel like a sport sedan on back road. Nope, it has more to do with making sure the Japanese-spec version of the car, the Nissan Fuga, fits into a suburban Tokyo garage like this one, which I happened to walk by last week. Clearly would have been a tighter fit with an E-Class or 5 Series.
December 01, 2011
We are experiencing freakishly strong winds in the Los Angeles area. They started last night and are supposed to continue until Friday. On my morning commute there were several downed trees and broken traffic lights.
But last night I had no idea this was happening until I started seeing leaves flying by like the wicked witch of the west. I was cozy and insulated in the Infiniti M56. I didn't even feel a pull or push on the car while driving on the freeway. Its 4,000+ pounds kept it steady. I don't think I would have wanted to be in something small like a Smart car last night. I may have gotten punted off the road.
After the jump, there is a video of the crazy leaf activity and swaying trees.
November 02, 2011
You aren't going to hear much from our 2011 Infiniti M56 for a few days. It was assigned the cush job of cruising up the coast this weekend. Not too far, though. Just a jaunt up to the central California coast. Maybe we'll see Hearst's zebras.
Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 18,189 miles
September 22, 2011
Wow! Now that's a lot of Aston, and I don't mean Sean. (He spells it wrong, anyway.) Our 2011 Infiniti M56 carried me to a secret mission at the local Aston Martin repair shop. All will become clear in a couple of days.
Not a good place to visit if you dislike spotless white garage floors and Bond-mobiles.
I'm OK with both.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing
August 24, 2011
This is the driver side windshield sprayer on our 2011 Infiniti M56 at full stream. I can assure you that the blast over on the passenger half of the glass is equally pathetic.
Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 14,789 miles
August 02, 2011
As I was parking the Infiniti M56 outside my realtor's office this morning, I thought what a perfect car it would be for her. The lease is nearly up on Barbara's Lexus RX 350, and she's been mulling over her choices, considering a sedan this time.
Infiniti is a nice, upscale brand for sales, without seeming too pretentious. The M isn't huge, but still roomy enough for driving clients around.
If you were in sales, wanting to make a careful impression, what would you choose?
Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 13,851 miles
August 01, 2011
...but it does.
There's a small but perceptible delay between the time the M56's start button is pressed and the time the engine begins to crank over.
July 29, 2011
Sure, neither Webber's M37s or Vettel's M35h are as powerful as our 2011 Infiniti M56 with its 420 horsepower V8, but in the hands of these two, both are more than up to the task of tackling the Nurburgring way, way faster than any normal person could in the 56.
But who wins, Vettel in a hybrid or Webber in the conventional car?
Mike Magrath, Features Editor, Edmunds.com
July 18, 2011
While it doesn't quite compare to Brent using the Mustang to deliver his wife to the hospital in a cloud of burning tire smoke, I just happened to be driving the long-term Infiniti M56 when we brought home our newest family member, Maggie.
She was rescued from a high-kill shelter in San Bernardino by Jimi's Angels and taken to their store called Barks & Bitches here in LA. It's a neat place. Though also a pet store, it primarily functions as a home for about 20 rescued dogs who get to play with each other while being trained and acclimated to other dogs and humans. They also let you take them for walks, which gives you the rare opportunity to essentially test drive your dog. You can see why this appealed to me (not to mention that our 8-month-old Maggie is already housebroken and pretty well trained). If you're thinking about a dog and live in Los Angeles, please consider them or any rescue place. There are so many loving, adorable dogs out there who deserve a chance.
Any way, commercial over. I had my wife and her sister sit in the M56's back holding firmly onto Maggie in the middle. There'll be no dogs milling about the car on my watch, as I prefer not to murder my dog with an airbag. I'll be buying one of those doggie car seats soon, since we were told she travels well.
James Riswick, Automotive Editor who promises not to blog about his damn dog at every possible moment @ 13,000 miles
July 05, 2011
Some months back Brent Romans told you about the automatic puddle lamps on our long-term M56. They activate based on the proximity of the key fob so when you walk up to the cart at night they flip on as you approach. It's a nice feature and I figured you might want to see it in action. Video after the jump.
June 30, 2011
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.
June 08, 2011
I've heard car designers refer to a car's "handshake" on various occasions. It's designer speak for the way a car introduces itself to the driver. It can refer to everything from the feel of the seats to the sound of the warning chimes. It can also be something as simple as the thump of the door closing or, in this case, the feel of the door handle.
Our M56 has fairly elegant looking handles with an easy to use keyless entry button. They deliver a good first impression -- at least until you reach out and grab one. You expect something solid, mechanical and precise. Instead you get a handle that feels hollow and made of plastic.
To its credit, it is precise. The handle fits and moves with zero freeplay, but given that it's the first thing you touch every time you get in the car, it always leaves me a bit cold. And for the record, the handle on our BMW 528i isn't much better in this regard.
Ed Hellwig, Editor, Edmunds.com
May 31, 2011
That's a shot of the Casahashi backyard. Getting into the spot where the Infiniti is pictured is pretty easy for smaller cars (Cruze, Mazda 2, Fiat 500), but larger cars like the 5 Series and even our Kia Optima require a bit more work. The smaller cars slot in there with a 6-point-minimum turn. The last time I got the BMW 528i in there, it needed a 10-point turn. How did the Infiniti fare?
Surprisingly, the M56 got into the spot requiring only a 6-point maneuver. Impressive, considering its size, but even more so in terms of the ease in which it did it. The light steering made lock-to-lock turns a cinch and the turning circle seemed well-suited to tight spots. The rearview camera with the predictive lines was also a welcome addition and eliminated any need for parking sensors.
I experienced the same thing with our FX50, so now I'm wondering if this is an Infiniti thing. If it is, color me impressed.
Mark Takahashi, Associate Editor
May 24, 2011
Here's the deal: I've blogged too much on the M56. But that sure as heck doesn't mean I'm going to quit driving it. This is a glorious sedan: powerful, comfortable, intuitive...I could go on.
But I won't. Because this morning my wife drove the M and found a few things to talk about.
Her first comment is essentially the same as mine. I'll save you the details, but she largely covered the M in glory and ended with "I could own one of these."
Right. Don't get any ideas.
But she did have observations. The first is that the rear headrest is small enough to create a good rearward sight line between the outer headrests -- something that's been a problem for her in other large sedans.
May 18, 2011
What the heck is AFS? Push the button on the M's instrument panel and a small "AFS Off" light illuminates. Nothing changes. Well, nothing changes during the day.
May 12, 2011
Ever since Warren posted about the Forest Air setting in our Infiniti M56, I've been using it nonstop. I've been sneezing and coughing for almost three weeks much to the dismay of my coworkers. And I've tried everything to get back on track. I've been to the doctor, I've taken a variety of over-the-counter and prescription medications.
I've been trying to limit how many of our cars I drive so I don't germ up everything in the fleet. I've been in the Infiniti all week and am finally starting to feel better. Perhaps I'm kicking this illness at last.
Or do you think the Forest Air setting is helping to save me from the canyon of pollen I drive through every day? Maybe it's all in my imagination. Either way it hasn't hurt.
Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor
May 04, 2011
Our 2011 Infiniti M56 paid a visit to the House of Charmin West the other weekend. For those of you out of the loop on potty hut nomenclature, this is the building located near the go-kart track at Willow Springs Raceway. But we weren't at Willow Springs for the karting.
Instead, we went up the hill for a little recreational driving school on the Streets.
April 20, 2011
The idea that side mirrors should readjust themselves (see above) every time a car is in reverse has always been lost on me. In the M56 -- and many German cars -- the mirrors tilt downward to show, well, I don't know what.
April 18, 2011
Found myself in Sacramento watching Sac State play Air Force in a non-conference game, which is a long way to go to watch such a small game. Ah well, its spring. Such things happen.
Did learn that as a spectator, it is sometimes smart to take note of the mascot adopted by the local team, as it usually involves the most ubiquitous form of indigenous wildlife. This is not a big deal when you are at the University of Michigan, since its unlikely youll meet any wolverines on the streets of Ann Arbor. But at Sacramento State, youre sure to meet the local variety of the hornet, and we spent a few innings watching the game from a student parking garage just beyond the left field fence, the equivalent of the row houses across from Wrigley Field in Chicago.
The Infiniti M56 is the biggest car Ive driven north in a while and its definitely big, 194.7 inches long on a 114.2 inch wheelbase and 4,028 pounds. As much as the standard comparison for this car is now BMWs latest 5 Series, I still think of the M56 as a 7 Series car. The M56 isnt exactly an Infiniti Q56 with all the SUV bodywork stripped away, but it definitely drives big, maybe because you cant see the corners very well.
Did my usual balloon-foot run on Interstate 5 on the way back just to see what kind of mileage I could squeeze out of this big car. Didnt hope for much, as the M56 gets about 23 mpg in everyday driving, and this 420-hp 5.6-liter V8 is very much a representative of the Nissans straightforward way of getting power, which is to use plenty of gasoline.
The run back amounted to 441.8 miles (the trip computer says), a combination of about 20 miles of rural two-lane, about 300 miles of dead-straight Interstate and then a final 100 freeway miles over the mountains and through L.A. The M56 averaged 63.8 mph, about as much as you can hope for when youre running 75-80 mph among all the cars on the Interstate on a Sunday and then get tangled up with traffic in the L.A. basin (one 3-mile stretch of stop-and-go traffic).
The M56 did the distance at 25.8 mpg. Probably youd have to hypermile it to do much better, since Ive got the lightest right foot around here.
To get optimum fuel economy (did I mention a gallon of premium goes for $4.46 along Interstate 5?), I tried to use the M56s super-duper cruise control, which tries to maintain a steady following distance to traffic. Its a device that you really want in California, where there are so many cars on the road that conventional cruise control makes you disengage it pretty frequently to avoid slower cars and trucks, no matter how smart you try to be with matching the pace of traffic.
But I couldnt really get along with M56s system, as it whoa-ed up a little too soon no matter what distance I set the disengagement point and then returned to speed a little too slowly. To make it useful, you just have to camp out in the fast lane and spend your trip with your eyes in the rear mirror on the watch for closing traffic (and CHP cars) instead of looking ahead.
Actually the bane of travel on Interstate 5 is the left-lane campers doing the very same thing, only slower (naturally) than you. Thats the trouble with freeway driving in this state its a psychology test, not a driving exercise.
Maybe I need more time to figure it out, but the whole experience with the M56s cruise control devolved into a contest of wills with the electronic brain as well as the traffic, and thats not the right frame of mind for hours of tedious travel. Of course, the cruise control didnt panic and shut things down because it thought a roadside billboard was the back end of a parked semi, which is what the first radar-controlled cruise control in the Mercedes S-Class used to do.
Big car, small game. Ah well, I didnt get stung by a yellow jacket at least.
Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, Edmunds.com @ 8,278 miles
April 01, 2011
When you walk up to our Infiniti M56 with the key fob in hand (or pocket; the car's keyless ignition/entry), the exterior door handle lights click on automatically when you get within a few feet. You don't have to press unlock button on the fob to make it happen.
The auto function is nowhere near a being a necessity, but I thought it's a nice little touch.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor
March 25, 2011
Right by my house is the entrance to the 405. The meter light is always on. The best way for me to wake up in the morning is to patiently wait at the light for green. Once it flips, I gun it. It's my favorite part of the morning.
This short, albeit shaky vid, is just a taste of the legs on this powerful Infiniti. I could hardly keep the camera still in one hand as it blasted off. I love the power this thing can pump out. I just wished it wasn't so muffled. I wanna hear that V8 growl.
Scott Jacobs, Sr. Mgr, Photographry
March 16, 2011
Let's take a moment to celebrate daylight saving time. It's wonderful to come home after work and still have enough light to enjoy the sunny, smiling faces around the neighborhood (including the ones on the mural next to Eddie's Liquor & Jr. Market).
February 16, 2011
After a few months of periodically driving the M56 I have, on several occassions, had a need for the owner's manual. Looked in the glove box once and mistakenly assumed there wasn't one in the car. Today I found it.
In the trunk.
This isn't surprising and I should have looked there sooner. Several German manufacturers locate it there because, on cars with this much fucntionality, the thing is huge and would consume valuable glove space should it reside in the box.
When I removed it from the wall of the trunk I discovered that it's located there via some kind of mutant velcro that sticks to the trunk liner like superglue. This feature allows it to be stored anywhere in the trunk, like here:
February 07, 2011
We've recently been talking about how dirty light-colored floor mats can get. But look at this big muddy footprint in our Infiniti. Light colored mud on dark floor mat. There's no winning.
Our M56 went for a much needed bath today.
January 12, 2011
Watch the dash dance.
Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor
January 10, 2011
Good-looking car. What do you think?
Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor @ 2,535 miles
December 30, 2010
OK, the title might be a bit harsh. After all, the 2011 Infiniti M56 isn't that bad...even if it did lose out in two comparison tests. Check out these track videos of the M56 going up against, and coming in second to, the Mercedes E550 and the BMW 550i.