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Performance by design

  • Quality, space and technology
  • No small-capacity engines
  • On sale in the autumn, from 36,000
Words ByWhat Car? Staff

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The car is built on the same FM (front-midship) platform as the FX. This puts the engine as low down and far back in the bay as possible for a better overall weight balance. The doors, bonnet and bootlid are made from aluminium to help keep weight down. Drive goes to the rear wheels via a seven-speed automatic gearbox. The petrol V6 that makes up the third of the Ms powertrain options is the 316bhp 3.7-litre unit also used in the compact G series saloon, coup and convertible as well as the EX and FX. There are no plans for smaller-capacity units with fewer cylinders to allow Infiniti to compete with the Germans on lower rungs of the executive ladder.

Inside info
At a shade under five metres long and with a wheelbase close to three metres, the M is one of the biggest cars in its class, and also one of the roomiest. Trim quality is a cut above that of earlier Infinitis, and shows that the company is now thinking along European lines in its perception of what constitutes a top-notch interior finish. The leathers and woods look and feel much better than those in the first Infinitis to come to Europe, there are lighter colours that make the cabin seem less austere and the switchgear is all-new.

Detail photos of the Infiniti M

Infiniti M 1: click to enlarge
Infiniti M 2: click to enlarge
Infiniti M 3: click to enlarge
Infiniti M 4: click to enlarge
Infiniti M 5: click to enlargeThe comfort and well-being of occupants is also enhanced by the clever sound-deadening and climate control systems. A feature that Infiniti calls active noise control works like noise-cancelling headphones by countering unwanted low-frequency sounds with others played through the speakers. Its the climate system called forest air that Infiniti is most proud of, though. The name is an umbrella for six bits of technology that aim to create an invigorating, pollution-free atmosphere inside the car. Theres also a scent diffuser that intermittently ventilates the car with forest aromas said to have been chosen for their drive-enhancing qualities.

Despite its size, the M is being touted as a sports saloon with athletic handling. Infiniti says it was engineered for European roads and drivers. A lot of work went into getting the right degree of steering feel and the stability necessary for the higher speeds common on European highways, while the use of double-piston shock absorbers is said to ensure it also rides well.