2011 Infiniti M37, M56 First Drive

Infiniti’s new M is bigger and much, much better

2011 Infiniti M37, M56 First Drive

The Infiniti M is brand new for model year 2011. With incredible road manners, a luxurious passenger cabin and superior cargo capacity, it has all the qualities required of today’s luxury sport sedan. The fact it can do it all and carry five people in complete comfort is more than just icing on the cake. It’s the reason why this sedan should be considered one of the finest cars currently in the market.

FAST FACTS

1. The new 2011 M is offered as either the M37 with a 330-hp V6, or the M56 with a 420-hp V8. A 7-speed automatic transmission is standard.

2. Both V6 and V8 engine models can be had with rear or all-wheel drive.

3. Standard equipment includes the Infiniti Drive Mode Selector that allows the driver to choose between Standard, Sport, Snow or Eco modes.

4. A $3,650 Sport Package adds 20-inch wheels, a sport tuned suspension, larger Sport brakes, 4-wheel active steering, sport seats, a Sport front fascia and other upgrades.

4. Pricing ranges from $46,250 to $60,050, plus options.

MORE PERFORMANCE AND POWER

The 2011 Infiniti M is available in four variations: M37, M37x AWD, M56 and M56x AWD. Which one you choose will most likely be based on your desire for 6 or 8-cylinder power.

Featured as the workhorse across the Nissan and Infiniti line-up, the 2011 Infiniti M37 and M37x AWD benefit from the now familiar 3.7-liter, 24-valve V6 used in both the Infiniti G37 and Nissan 370Z models.

Muscle is rated as 330 horsepower at 7000 rpm and 270 ft-lbs of torque at 5200 rpm. Mated to a 7-speed automatic transmission featuring Downshift Rev Matching and Adaptive Shift Control, power delivery is immediate and smooth.

While not as quick as the V8, it is speedy enough to get your heart racing and palms sweaty with anticipation. Fuel economy numbers indicate city/hwy ratings of 18/26 mpg for the rear-wheel drive M37 and 17/24 mpg for the all-wheel drive M37x.

The 2011 Infiniti M56 and M56x AWD models are powered by a 5.6-liter, 32-valve V8 engine. Similar in design to the V6, our spec sheet indicates 420 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 417 ft-lbs of torque at 4400 rpm. Manual shift mode is standard with the 7-speed automatic, a feature we put to the test on numerous occasions during our initial test drive.

STEERING AND THROTTLE RESPONSE IS EXCELLENT!

Turn-ins are quick due to vehicle speed-sensitive power steering and making corrections halfway through a tight corner is easy. The independent double-wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension adjusts well to changing road conditions, keeping the 2011 Infiniti M connected at all times. Options include the “S” Sport Package with 4-wheel active steer, a sport tuned suspension, larger brakes and plenty of other options for those who desire the ultimate in vehicle control.

Driving North on Vancouver Island in the Canadian province of British Columbia, two lane paved highways are bordered by large rock outcroppings and old growth trees. Today we pass several road crews who stop and stare as the M56 we are driving idles past. Tires squealing, we continue on unabated, looking ahead to the next series of S-turns and ascending mountain straightaways.

Rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive (designated as x AWD), is available across the line. Standard on all models is the Infiniti Driver Mode Selector. This unique and highly capable feature allows the driver to choose between Standard, Sport, Snow or Eco modes while driving.

Throttle response and shift points are adjusted via sophisticated electronics, the difference with each setting being obvious to both the driver and passenger. In Eco mode, resistance pushes back as the gas pedal is depressed to encourage slower acceleration and thereby improve fuel economy.

SOPHISTICATED INSIDE AND OUT

Aggressive outward styling cues indicate substantial changes to the third generation M. A short rear overhang and long hood define its authentic rear-wheel drive demeanor. Longer and wider than the model it replaces, it sits low to the ground, restless for the open road.

Inside, the 2011 Infiniti M highlights three design elements; styling and craftsmanship, touch feel and operability.

Leather trim is standard, so too is Japanese Ash wood trim. Electroluminescent gauges are large and easy to read at a glance. The leather-wrapped 4-spoke steering wheel features Bluetooth hands-free control, stereo volume and cruise control. A center mounted 7-inch rear view monitor is standard, with an 8-inch Navi unit included in the M56 model range, optional on the M37 and M37x AWD.

Front seats showcase excellent support and 10-way power adjustment. Not to be outdone, back seat passengers benefit from center mounted console air vents, rear seat center armrest with storage and dual cupholders.

The Infiniti M37 offers heated seats and a 6-disc AM/FM/CD audio system with MP3 playback. The Infiniti M56 adds full climate control to the front seats and a Bose 2-channel, 10-speaker Premium Audio system, AM/FM/CD/DVD with MP3 playback and 9.3GB Music Box hard drive. 

LONG LIST OF HIGH-TECH SAFETY FEATURES

A whole host of optional safety features are designed to improve the driving experience and overall protection. Blind Spot Warning, and for the first time in a vehicle, Blind Spot Intervention, are two features we respect most. BSW alerts the driver if a vehicle is in their blind spot. BSI eases the car back to center when changing lanes should a vehicle suddenly appear in the blind spot.

Forward Collision Warning employs laser technology to determine an imminent crash and alert the driver with an audible and visual signal. Intelligent Brake Assist goes one step further, actually applying the brakes to substantially reduce the impact if it senses the vehicle is about to crash and the driver has not responded quickly enough. Multiple air bags provide a cocoon of safety for all occupants.

THE VERDICT

Technology in itself is not the secret to a great performance car. It still comes down to power, cornering ability, styling and a comfortable interior. The 2011 Infiniti M offers all of the above plus the latest devices to make driving safer and more fun. Eight-cylinder or six, AWD or rear-wheel, the choice is yours. Better yet, bring your family of four or five along and decide together. There’s room inside for everyone.

RELATED READING

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