San Francisco: When
I first drove the Infiniti M sedan late last year, I got the brutal M45
with a big, brawny V8 under the hood. That car was a monster. It felt
almost like an American muscle car, with a heavy, deliberate driving
feel and a relatively soft suspension that made it seem like you were
riding on bowls of Cream of Wheat. It was a great car, but it was more
of a Grand Tourer than a true sports sedan.
Fast forward to this week, and I'm behind the wheel of another Infiniti
M that costs thousands less than the last one, which would ordinarily
mean it's less fun and less extravagant. Oddly enough, now I think the
cheaper M is the better M.
Called the M35, this V6-powered sports sedan feels light, nimble and
balanced, all things that the pricey M45 lacks. Where the heavier M45
plows through corners like a big NFL lineman, the zippy M35 cuts with
the speed, grace and precision of a wide receiver.
I'm usually a vocal member of the "more power" crowd, but in this case
I'd actually rather have the less powerful car because it's a heck of a
lot more fun to drive.
One of the reasons is that the M35 I recently drove had a very different
suspension from the M45. My latest drive in the M came with the benefit
of Rear Active Steer, which uses computers and electric motors to
constantly adjust the rear suspension geometry according to steering
input and vehicle speed. The difference is amazing, making the driver
feel like they're controlling an X-Acto knife rather than a chainsaw.
Another reason for the extra fun is that the V6 engine is a better match
for the M than the bigger V8. I called the V8 "frighteningly powerful"
last year because it was easy to lose control of the car with 325
horsepower under foot. In contrast, the V6 still makes plenty of power -
275 horses - but is much easier to control because it responds faster
and keeps the car's weight more evenly balanced through corners.
Both versions of the M can come well equipped with the latest gadgets to
coddle you. The M35, which cost a nearly $52,000 as tested, came with a
navigation system, heated and cooled front seats, a rear-view video
camera to help you back up, and the high-tech rear suspension. It's an
expensive car, sure, but you get a lot of bang for the buck.
There are only a couple of downsides to this car. For one, its cabin
isn't as quiet as its competitor at Lexus - the new GS - and the fit and
finish don't quite match Lexus' lofty standards. It also doesn't come
with the same brand cachet as, say, an Audi, which can be a good or bad
thing depending on why you're buying a luxury car. In any case, do
yourself a favor and save a few thousand bucks. The M35 is definitely a
better car than its more powerful twin.
What was tested?
The 2007 Infiniti M35 Sport with a base price of $44,250. Options:
Advanced technology package ($2,500), body kit ($1,590), technology
package ($2,950). Price as tested (including $650 destination charge):
Why avoid it?
It will take some time to get used to all the buttons on the M35's dash.
All its high-tech features are impressive once you learn how to use them
and It doesn't have the cachet of a Lexus or an Audi.
Why buy it?
It's a very precise, well-balanced sports sedan. It's more fun to drive
than the more expensive, V8-powered M45. And the sleek, sporty shape
makes the Infiniti M35 an eye-catching luxury car that heaps up
performance and comfort in equal doses. By
Derek Price © AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
Infiniti Home Page
Byline: Syndicated content provided by Tony Leopardo ©
Column Name: Infiniti M35 favors balanced power over brute force
Topic: The 2007 Infiniti M35 Sport
Word Count: 700
Photo Caption: The 2007 Infiniti M35 Sport
Photo Credits: Infiniti Internet Media
Series #: 2007 - 02
the Microsoft Word version here:
2007 Infiniti M35
Download the Original Image File here:
2007 Infiniti M35