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Kelley Blue Book ® - 2003 Infiniti M45 Overview

Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book

KBB.com 2003 Infiniti M45 Overview

Traditional Luxury with the Infiniti Touch

There was a time when a luxury car in America had to be big and substantial, with rear-wheel drive and a powerful V8 engine—and it had to lavish upon its owner every imaginable option. Today, there are but a handful of cars that still meet this definition and even fewer that can pull it all together for under $45K. If you are searching for just such a vehicle, then Infiniti's M45 should appeal to your sense of style and taste as well as your wallet's sensibilities.

From your first look, you will see that the M45 combines a bit of the old with the new. Its body can best be described as chiseled, devoid of the rounded-off corners and wedge-shaped profile so commonly seen on other brands. Its prominent chrome grille and large headlights harkens back to an era when these accoutrements were a luxury car's calling card. Of course the intent of this design is to simultaneously make a statement about the car's power and the owner's status; in this regard, the M45 scores a perfect 10.

Infiniti created the M45 to cater to those who appreciate technology in their cars, but don't want to be overwhelmed by its presence—especially inside the cabin. The M45's interior is opulent, yet relatively simple in its execution and operation. The gauges are analog, large and easy to understand; the switches for the power windows, seats, door locks and seat heaters are logically placed and tactile enough to be operated without having to look at them. A small LCD screen displays the function settings for the audio and ventilation systems; again, the design is logical and easy to operate. For those who don't mind a little high-tech gadgetry, Infiniti offers an optional onboard navigation system and intelligent cruise control, which monitors the distance between you and the car ahead and adjusts the cars speed to keep and maintain a safe distance.

In keeping with the Infiniti image, all the required luxury features are in place on the M45. Among the more notable items are power windows and door locks, an illuminated entry system with theatre style fading lights, 10-way power driver's and 4-way power passenger seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, a Bose audio system, leather seating, steering wheel and shift knob, auto dimming rear-view mirror and so much more. Passenger room inside the M45 is more than generous, and all but the tallest individuals will find it a relaxing place to stretch out and enjoy the ride.

Under its hood, the M45 delivers all the power of the larger (and more expensive) Q45. That's because the two share the same engine and drivetrain; a hulking 4.5-liter V8 rated at a ground-shaking 340-horsepower. An electronic 5-speed automatic transmission regulates the M45's power. Hit the accelerator and the transmission kicks downs instantly, with no lag or delay. The shift points have been designed to get the most from the big V8, but if you're still not satisfied with your M45's performance, Infiniti has built in a manual shift mode that allows you to select gears without the use of a clutch pedal. The M45 is so quick off the line and accelerates with such force that you can actually feel gravity's long arm pushing on your chest as you sink back into the supple leather armchair-like seats.

As the old saying goes, with power comes responsibility, so Infiniti has given the M45 an adept suspension capable of transforming this 3800 pound brute into a competent, lithe athlete. Along for the ride (and assisting with every turn) are enormous 18-inch alloy wheels, 4-wheel disc brakes, an independent-rear suspension, Vehicle Dynamic Control and electronic traction control. In English, this means the M45 rips through turns without having its rear end swing around to greet you at the next bank. It also means that inclement weather such as rain and snow will not hamper your ability to keep control of the car, regardless of its rear-wheel drive setup.

The M45 comes with an impressive array of standard features, including such safety advances as front-side impact airbags and a side curtain airbag that protects both front and rear seat passengers. For improved night vision, the M45 comes equipped with Xenon headlamps that disperse a wider field of bright white light. A few of the notable options include a power sunroof, the Homelink universal transceiver/garage door opener and the voice-recognition system which allows you to simply speak commands for the climate control, navigation and audio.

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