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2003 Infiniti M45

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San Francisco: While its suspension tries to match the feel of high-end European sport sedans, the Infiniti M45’s styling appears to have an American influence. Its muscle car look is a perfect match for the potent V8 power that comes from the same 4.5-liter engine as Infiniti’s Q45 flagship.

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 Infiniti’s 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 jolt.

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 vehicle.

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 your money. By Derek Price AutoWire.Net - San Francisco

Infiniti Home Page

Byline:  Syndicated content provided by Tony Leopardo AutoWire.Net
Column Name:  The M45 has Q power without the high price
Topic:  2003 Infiniti M45
Word Count:   710
Photo Caption:  2003 Infiniti M45
Photo Credits:  Infiniti Internet Media
Series #:   2003 - 33

Download the Microsoft Word version here:   2003 Infiniti M45

Download the original image file here:  2003 Infiniti M45 53k

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Publisher - Editor:   Tony Leopardo
Division Name:   AutoWire.Net
Company Name:    Leopard Publishing Co.
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City, State, Zip:    San Mateo, California 94403
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