Nissan's alter-ego Infiniti has been sneaking up on the American public and the European competition for several years now, slowly and quietly improving on their M45 sedan since its launch in 2003. They have refined its brash in-your-face power and strangely contradictory styling (dare we say it, bland), into what is today a serious contender in the luxury mid-sized sedan. There is now an M35 V6 and a M45 V8, both of which offer a sporty, high-powered ride for those who love driving - this is no conservative touring sedan. Even the exterior styling has been given an overhaul and while not being the most outrageous kid on the block by any stretch, the new lines are sophisticated and clean.
2009 Infiniti M Performance
The M35 features a standard 3.5-liter V6 engine that generates 303hp and 262lb/ft of torque. This is basically the same engine that powers the smaller G37 series and is renowned as a high performance powertrain. In the M35 despite the heavier weight, it still does a brilliant job of powering the large sedan, providing plenty of power for any situation with oodles to spare. It sees an increase of nearly 30mph over last year's model and a big difference in driving experience.
The M45 is powered by a 4.5-liter V8 that generates 325hp and 336lb/ft of torque. This is a very fast car, despite its size, doing around 6 seconds to 60mph. The Infiniti M is much more about performance than luxury, and although luxury features abound, the driving experience is firm and tightly sprung like a sports car. With all the torque built up behind it the acceleration from take-off is awesome, and the standard rev-matched 5-speed automatic transmission is fast and accurate in its gear shifts with manual paddles as well. There is even a Sport Package that tightens the suspension even further and adds even more sporty features.
Both the M35 and M45 come standard with rear-wheel drive, and these feature the seven-speed automatic transmission that has recently been launched in the G series. All-wheel drive is also available on both models, but there are still some teething issues with this AWD system for its over-enthusiastic torque-steer effect that sends it skating off to the side.
Fuel economy on the M35 stands at 16/22mpg city/highway, while the M45 posts just one mpg less at 16/21, and the AWD versions offer less again. These figures are not really surprising given the size and power of the M sedans, but in this day and age of fuel obsession, it is not the kind of economy that you would brag about.
2009 Infiniti M Interior and Features
Infiniti has been working hard not only on refining the performance of their M, but also refining the interior, and this year it really shows with a first class cabin worthy of the luxury tag. The wood and metal trims are genuinely classy, and the leather upholstery is soft and well-made. The seats are superbly comfortable with ample bolstering and even better in the Sports Package, which offers seats that grip you tightly for performance driving. The rear seat is for three passengers, but will fit two adults comfortably without too much intimacy needed. One thing the Infiniti M does not have is an integrated control system for the audio, navigation and climate systems. But we are no fans of most of these systems for the unnecessary complication they give to driving, and applaud Infiniti's decision to leave them out.
The 2009 Infiniti M comes in one well-equipped trim, featuring everything you could possibly wish for in one car. ThereÂ are 18-inch wheels, dual zone automatic climate control, heated and cooled front seats with 10-way power and memory settings, wood trim, leather wrapped steering wheel with controls for the audio and cruise control, keyless access and starting, universal garage door opener, audio system with 6-disc CD changer and power everything.
The Sport Package adds sport suspension, sport seats, active steering and 19-inch wheels. The Technology Package adds a navigation system, rearview camera, awesome Bose surround system, and iPod adapter. The Advanced Technology Package adds adaptive cruise control, even better stereo and DVD audio. A rear seat entertainment option is also available.
- Vehicle Dynamic Control (electronic stability control), four-wheel ABS, brake assist and traction control
- Lane departure warning system (optional)
- Rear obstacle camera (optional)
- Front, front side and curtain airbags
- Tire pressure monitor
- Emergency trunk release system
Overall the 2009 Infiniti M large luxury sedan offers an exciting performance driving experience with serious power and refinement and luxury styling, for thousands of dollars less than its European competitors like the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and Audi A6. To its credit, Infiniti has significantly improved the M over recent years to be a real contender in the class.