Review: Atop the Infiniti lineup lives the mighty M. Available with
a brawny V8 in the M45 or still strong V6 engine in the M35, and
offering rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, it blends sporty
performance with the luxury features buyers crave in a midsize premium
y Liquid Platinum M45
tester flaunted the potent 4.5-liter V8, with 325 horsepower and 336
lb.-ft. of torque. Its sophisticated engine features titanium valves, a
microfinished crankshaft and slick single-stage cam drive chain, among
other advantages, helping it run down the road in a big, silent hurry.
The Mís engine also
uses variable length air induction and a continuously variable valve
timing control system, all in the name of efficiency and smooth power
You get a lot, but
itíll cost ya. I recorded an average of 15 miles per gallon, and the EPA
rates the M45 at 16 City, 21 Highway. EPA Green Vehicle ratings are a
midpack 6 for Air Pollution and 4 for Greenhouse Gas. But thatís not why
folks buy an M45 anyway.
The M35ís smaller
3.5-liter V6 still puts out a generous 303 horsepower and 262 lb.-ft. of
torque. How far weíve come that a 300-horsepower sedan is now the lesser
All M45s use electronic
automatic transmissions. This year they get the Drive Sport (DS) shift
mode, adding more acceleration feel and what Infiniti calls a ďmore
sporting driving experience.Ē If you want a manual in a car this size,
it will probably have to be a BMW.
The other aspect of the
M45 is its luxury package. My testerís black and silver interior
featured sumptuous leather seating that offered heating and cooling
settings. Thanks to the optional Sport Package ($1,650), they were
deeply bolstered, too.
The Sport Package also
bumps the wheels to 19-inchers, upgrades the steering wheel and shift
knob leather, and puts aluminum on the pedals. Even more interesting,
the package provides Rear Active Steer, which uses electric motors,
connected to a series of sensors, to change the rear geometry of the
suspension to enhance handling, making the big sedan especially light on
Speaking of technology,
the optional Advanced Technology Package ($2,800) provides the Lane
Departure Prevention (LDP) system. Some cars now will beep out a warning
if they sense youíre wandering into the next lane but this one actually
gently activates the brakes on the side opposite the lane departure to
gently nudge the car back from the white lines.
ďMore than 55 percent
of fatal auto accidents in the United States are caused by lane
departures, including single vehicle and head-on accidents,Ē said Ben
Poore, vice president, Business Unit. With the LDP system, the driver
doesnít give up control, but the system still saves lives.
Thereís much to like
about the Mís other safety features. The Vehicle Dynamic Control and
Traction Control System automatically adjust brake pressure and engine
torque to help you control the car in slippery road conditions. Together
with four-wheel power-assisted vented disc brakes with antilock,
electronic brake force distribution, and brake assist, youíre about as
safe as youíre ever going to be on wheels.
Besides the safety
benefits, the Advanced Technology Package also features a stunning Bose
5.1 Studio Surround audio system with 14 speakers, including pairs
mounted in the shoulders of each front seat.
Also new for 2009, all
M series cars get Scratch Shield self-healing clearcoat paint and
automatic speed-sensing door locks.
In a fiercely
competitive car market, what makes the M45 stand out? It looks
completely modern, with an alert expression on its face, thanks to
upwardly curved headlamp units on a smoothly integrated nose panel. The
window greenhouse arches gracefully, and the wide taillamps push
aggressively into the lower trunklid. Itís nice, but doesnít stand out
in the crowd.
Of course, all of the
expected luxury features are standard, from high intensity xenon
headlamps, rain-sensing windshield wipers and a power moonroof. Inside
you get driver seat memory, an intelligent keep-it-in-your-pocket key,
dual-zone automatic temperature control, auto-dimming inside mirror and
power windows, locks and mirrors.
Yet despite all these
things, the two-ton M45 doesnít quite match the cool style of the
original Q45. Despite handsome detailing in Graphite, Stone or Wheat,
the ďFine VisionĒ electroluminescent gauge package and an unusually
shaped table-like center console, the M has all the parts but doesnít
sing in its luxury performance role. And Iím not sure why.
M35 prices start at
$45,800. My M45ís sticker began at $52,150, but swelled to $60,765 with
option packages and destination charges. For all-wheel drive, add $2,500
to the M45 and $2,150 to the M35.
By Steve Schaefer
© AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
Byline: Infiniti Review provided by Tony
Leopardo © AutoWire.Net
Infiniti Home Page
Column Name: Of course,
all of the expected luxury features are standard
Topic: The 2009
Word Count: 839
Photo Caption: The
2009 Infiniti M45
Photo Credits: Infiniti
M45 Internet Media
Series #: 2009 - 52
the Microsoft Word version here: 2009
Download the Original Image File here:
2009 Infiniti M45