If the Infiniti M56 were a figure in ancient Greek legend, it might be an Amazon - one of the strong, muscular and beautiful female warriors who fought with the Trojans. This motoring machine is both curvy and sleek, and it has sculpted shoulders. Fashioned with a whittled waist and commanding hindquarters, it is powered by a fierce V-8 engine and silky-smooth, seven-speed automatic transmission. Bottom line: I wouldn’t mind being stranded on an Aegean island driving nothing but this vehicle.
The 2012 Infiniti M56 carries forward the M nameplate used since 1990 on various mid-luxury models by Infiniti, Nissan’s luxury division. The 4-door, 5-passenger M56 is likely priced shopped against the BMW 550i, the Lexus GS 460 and Mercedes-E550 Sedan among other luxury sport sedans in this segment.
Not new, but definitely updated
The Infiniti M lineup was reintroduced last year after a hiatus with cars in this class. The 2012 Infiniti M56 isn’t a brand-new iteration, but an update to last year’s all-new model and a hail to the popular, sporty M line-up. There are a few minor changes to options packages as well as the significant addition of a hybrid drivetrain to the Infiniti stable.
What we drove
We were behind the wheel of the rear-drive 2012 Infiniti M56 luxury sedan. Our ride was under-the-radar-colored Platinum Graphite; the cockpit was trimmed in Stone, with top-of-the-line semi-aniline leather appointments, along with Japanese White Ash wood inlays with genuine silver powder accents—with a “Forest-Air” system - think woodland air freshener on a grand scale!
We loved the sprightly drive of the M56 that sheds the bad rap for tricky traction that some rear-drivers bring along for the ride. We also enjoyed the crisp shifting auto tranny and the option to use the manual-shift mode that matches the engine’s revs with downshifts, giving exciting, smooth shifts that bring the sound of “blipping the throttle” when driving in a spirited fashion. The Infiniti’s brakes are confidence-inspiring and the sedan is loaded with all the latest sound, navigational, safety and vehicle technologies that you would expect of a vehicle in this class.
Starting at $59,100, our M56 sedan had plenty of options and was priced at $67, 425 including the $875 destination fee. On board were the Luxury Options Package; Deluxe Touring Package and an 18-inch Wheel Package. Fuel economy is EPA rated at 16 mpg city and 24 mpg highway.
The 2012 Infiniti M56 starts at $59,100; Choosing the all-wheel-drive M56x, prices start at $61,600, while the added fuel economy of the 2012 Infiniti M Hybrid starts at $53, 700.
Strength by the numbers
The 2012 Infiniti M56 is one of three models in the M line-up with the other two model being the M35 Hybrid and the base M37. The M56 is motivated by a V-8 that makes 420 horsepower and 417 pound-feet of torque, and it is mated to a fuel-saving, seven-speed automatic transmission with a manual shift mode. Rear-drive is standard and all-wheel drive is available (this version is designated by a 56x badge). The hybrid model has a V-6 that delivers 320 horsepower and is rated at 32 mpg.
The large, cushy cockpit of the 2012 Infiniti M56 is made exceptionally comfortable and convenient through features like 10-way power adjustments for the driver and front passenger seats that can be heated and cooled, and Intelligent Keys, which are sort of like individual thumb-drives that store information about seat positions, climate control settings, audio preferences and navigation information for each driver. A heated steering wheel, Bluetooth and a rearview monitor also are standard.
More than a pretty face
Although the 2012 Infiniti M56 looks gorgeous, its sweeping waves of sheet metal add up to more than a pretty face. The M56 has a low coefficient of drag (0.27), and it makes good elbow room for five passengers along with the ability to store their gear in a large trunk which has a pass-through to the rear seat for long items such as skis. The headlamps have a crystal-like sparkle, and the trunk shape has been crafted to work like a spoiler. A power moonroof and automatic on/off headlights are standard, as are 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels (20-inch wheels come with the Sport option package).
The 2012 Infiniti M56 is engineered with a dial switch on the center console that allows drivers to select from four driving modes: Standard, Eco, Sport or Snow. The ancient Greeks couldn’t have prophesied the kind of auto-pilot technologies offered through the M including a feature in the $3,000 Technology Package which gives slight pushback on the driver’s foot through the accelerator pedal if he or she is driving inefficiently.
You may also be interested in...
Over 14,500 Nissan Trucks and Infinitis Recalled For Oil Leak Issue
December Safey Recalls Include Toyota, Nissan, Ford and Cadillac Automobiles
2012 Infiniti M37: Video Road Test and Review
2012 Audi A6 Road Test and Review
Cylinder Deactivation Added on New 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK55 AMG
2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS550 Road Test and Review