Priced around $42,000, the M45 is much cheaper
than a top of the line Q, but its interior makes no compromises in luxury or quality.
Leather seats and automatic dual-zone climate control come standard, while high-tech
options include a navigation system, satellite radio, and adaptive cruise control.
What was tested? The 2003 Infiniti M45 with a base price of $42,300.
The Options: a trunk mat at $60. As-tested price: $42,360. Why buy it? It has the amazing
V8 engine from Infinitis expensive Q45, along with a sportier ride and better
steering feel in a very luxurious package.
When it comes to mid-size luxury cars with beefy V8 power, there are
plenty of choices, including stalwarts like the Mercedes E-class, the Audi A6, and Jaguar
S-type. All those are great cars, but in V8 trim they can get rather pricey, well over
$50,000 in most cases.
For those who want highly refined V8 performance and stylish luxury
at a price that's not so steep, Infiniti offers the all-new M45. Priced around $42,000, it
has the same incredible V8 as its more expensive Q45 stable mate, along with a sporty
suspension and classy, comfortable interior. Think of it as an athletic Q without all the
bells and whistles.
Compared with the flagship Q, the M45 has a stiffer suspension that
keeps it more closely aligned with the great European sport sedans, and makes it much more
fun to drive, especially with the traction control turned off. It also has more responsive
steering and a completely new body that exudes classic American style.
But the heart of the M45 is its award winning 4.5-liter, aluminum
intensive V8 engine that makes a buttery smooth 340 horsepower. No matter where you mash
the accelerator, on the highway, in a corner or at a stoplight, the engine is always
anxious to send loads of power instantly to the rear wheels for a thrilling, inspiring
Equally impressive is the sporty handling afforded by a fully
independent suspension adapted from the Q45. While it does allow some body roll, it keeps
the 3,850-pound car firmly planted in the corners and provides a decent amount of driving
feedback without jarring your passengers. There are also no complaints about the
five-speed automatic transmission, taken straight from the Q45, which offers perfectly
smooth shifts under virtually all conditions.
Inside, the M45 comes standard with leather seats, real bird's eye
maple trim, a 10-way power adjustable driver's seat, dual-zone automatic climate control,
a terrific Bose stereo, and an LCD screen to control all the gadgets.
Some high-tech options include a navigation system, XM or Sirius
satellite radio, a larger 7-inch display, and intelligent cruise control that
automatically adjusts the M45's speed to keep a set following distance from another
There are only two gripes about the interior, the back seat doesn't
seem to have enough legroom, and the computerized control system can be difficult to
operate. Commands that should be simple, like adjusting the blower to defrost the
windshield, take multiple button pushes and several glances at the LCD screen before
they're complete. This isn't the direction technology should be taking us today, make it
more direct and easier to use in the real world.
Aside from those quibbles, there's little not to like about the M45.
It has plenty of head and hip room, a large and deep trunk, high quality interior
materials, and perfectly located controls for the driver and passengers. That, coupled
with the inspiring V8 performance, shows that Infiniti is clearly giving Europe a run for