The Infiniti M35 is a four-door, five passenger mid-size luxury sedan.The Infiniti M35 has had a circuitous history with the luxury automaker. When it went on sale in 1990, it was only available first as a coupe and then a convertible. The M was in showrooms for just a short period of time before the nameplate was retired. Revived in 2003 as a larger, mid-size sedan, the M has become an important part of the Infiniti lineup, and was the recipient of a re-design in 2006.

The 2008 Infiniti M35 is available with the standard engine choices found in almost every vehicle from the company. The M35 uses Nissan’s 3.5 liter VQ 6-cylinder engine to produce 275 horsepower and 268 lb-ft of torque. Buyers who are looking for a more of a thrill can opt for a 325 horsepower, 4.5 liter V8 that also generates 386 lb-ft of torque. The only transmission available for each is a 5-speed automatic, but it does offer extremely smooth manual shift control. All-wheel drive is an option for both drive trains. The M35 turns in 16 miles per gallon in stop and go traffic and 23 on the highway, while the larger V8 provides very similar numbers: 14 and 20.

The M is a large mid-size, and as such it provides excellent interior space for all passengers. The vehicle’s dash uses a two-stage design which the company claims resembles the letter M. The effect is pleasing to the eye and offers a break from the standard center vertical column that is all too often found in sedans. Rear passengers can benefit from optional reclining seats, a feature that harkens back to the Mercedes S-Class. Those riding in the back also have their own climate control.

Base M35’s are well equipped with supple leather, a sunroof and Bluetooth connectivity. The more powerful M45 adds aluminum trim, 19-inch wheels and HID headlights. A Technology package provides an upgraded media system that includes hard drive storage and voice-activated navigation, while an Advanced Technology package installs surround sound, intelligent cruise control and a lane departure warning system.

Even in base trim, the Infiniti M35 handles well. A concentrated effort to reduce weight wherever possible helps with both acceleration and poise in the corners. While the V6 is adequate for spirited driving, the V8 is the real powerhouse of the two, and when combined with the Sport package which provides a tighter suspension, it is hard to stay within the legal limit on either the highway or back roads. The package also adds rear wheel steering, which changes the angle of the rear wheels during cornering to improve exit. Parent-company Nissan has a long history of experimenting with 4-wheel steering, debuting their HICAS system in the early 90’s, so it is interesting to see this performance trend continued with Infiniti.

When taking the negligible difference in fuel economy into consideration, the M45 is clearly the most solid option for drivers who feel the need for speed. However, both versions of the Infiniti M35 are solid driver’s cars which will pamper both owner and passengers alike with excellent road manners and a sumptuous cabin.

The 2009 Infiniti M35 is a carryover from 2008, with the exception of an upgraded engine and transmission package found in the base model of the vehicle. The 2009 M comes in M35, M35x, M45 and M45x trims. The M35 uses a 3.5 liter V6 engine newly tuned to provide 303 horsepower and 268 lb-ft of torque. A 7-speed automatic handles gear shifting duties, and fuel economy is rated at 17 miles per gallon in the city and 25 miles per gallon during highway cruising. The M35x adds all-wheel drive and subtracts 2 forward gears from the auto tranny. Fuel economy dips to 16 miles per gallon in town and 22 miles per gallon on the highway.

The 2009 M45 is equipped with a robust 4.5 liter, 8-cylinder motor that cranks out 325 horsepower and 336 lb-ft of torque. A 5-speed automatic sends power to either the rear or all four wheels in the case of the M45x. Fuel economy for the standard M45 is rated at 16 miles per gallon in stop and traffic and 20 miles per gallon on the highway, while the all-wheel drive version sees 14 miles per gallon in city driving and 20 miles per gallon on the highway.