This could be the last review of the Infiniti M Sedan ever to be published. Because, last week, I witnessed the totally familiar presence of the M Sedan at the Dubai Motor Show nevertheless with a new tag, the Q70.
To all those journos, that includes me, whose SUV or Crossover reviews have been overfed with the phrase “here’s one that drives like a sedan” the M56 is a cure for the malady. Well, this is one large-size luxury sedan that makes you feel as though you are in an SUV! I say it as a compliment – the M56 drives like a coupe, rides like a truck and even creates the illusion of a superior stance.
UPSIDE: Commanding stance among sedans, impressive handling, silent cabin, excellent music system, direct cabin controls
DOWNSIDE: Occasional heavy feeling, firm ride with road noise, rear mid seat uncomfortable, Some visibility issues
THE PRICE: Earlier prices: M56 S – AED 247,000, M37 – AED 197,000 and 209,000. The Q60 is yet to be available or announce its prices.
The 5.6L V8 engine that churns out 420 bhp is the version I’ve been driving but even the less powerful M37 V6 version has a heartening fact sheet. Initially, this V8 came across as more ‘composed than crude’, but when you actually pedal it past 3000 cycles, the turbo makes itself heard and gives you a peep into what it can do. Still, for a V8, the engine is a little wheezy unlike those that shamelessly show off their twin turbo power. The union with the 7-speed transmission brings up smooth results and it handles the formidable output without any hesitation, if you ignore the initial throttle lag.
The apparent bulk belies the handling ability of the Infiniti M56, and if you anitcipate an unwieldy chunk on stiff fours, the car surprises you with an eager compliance with the driver’s thirst for some fun as well. Agreed, fun might not be something you associate with something the size of the M Sedan, but it is a freebie that comes with one of the most measured steerings in the category. The traction is excellent and regardless of the status of its control switch, the car clings on, unfazed. For most part, for all practical purposes and many impractical ones, the M Sedan reacts almost as well as a much smaller sporty sedan.
With the M56, actually, things get better as you climb or rather the gaming level increases. The torque is available from 3000rpm to regions close to the red line. So the 100 to 200 climb becomes even more exciting. The car is extremely stable at high speeds and looks like it could be even a slalom winner in its category.
The fuel efficiency was 6.1km/L while the 0-100 came in 6.23 seconds. When you have so much of power at hand, the occasional power surges or delays are barely noticeable in the long run.
While the heavily set hood lends you that SUV feeling, the large A pillar and a high window line along with the rear wind screen, especially with the head rests pulled up, offer some challenge to visibility. But the car has an excellent parking camera with a healthy all round view and a cruise control with forward traffic alert, which along with unrestricted direct side views take care of driving dynamics in either direction.
Cabin and Controls
The cabin quality of the Infiniti M56 is arguably one of the best in the category. In the perforated leather, the soft rubber dashboard and the wood panelling on the dash and the door sides – Infiniti has shown a lot of design sense and good taste in the M sedan cabin.
The touch of luxury shows in thoughtful features like access seating. The seats and the steering make way for your easy exit just as the seat belt retracts elegantly and nicely without slithering onto your lap and waiting for you to stow it into its place. Just as expected of the luxury arm of Nissan, famous for their cabin-conditioning, the AC was of excellent quality, even when the temperature outside was 38 degree Celsius.
The hefty finish makes it look shorter than it actually is. But make no mistake, there is enough cabin space inside. Yet, while the front seats are on super-comfort mode, the rear seat especially with the firm ride quality might not go well with people who shell out super luxury kind of money.
Ironically, the Infiniti M is reasonably priced for the value it offers within the cabin. The plush appointments are complemented by a very friendly, easy to use console mapping. The usage of buttons is direct and straightforward but this obviously multiplies the number of buttons itself. The console has a classy central analogue clock, above which is a large 8 inch screen for navigation and audio controls.
Unlike my growing up days, where large old ‘Landmasters’ that we called Ambassadors meant 4 to 5 extra people comfortably squeezed into the rear, larger cars of our times aren’t meant for more. The centre seat of the M56 is ‘modern’ alright: more of an appendix than actual seating – very uncomfortable, almost unusable!
The Infiniti cabin is set to silence. It could reduce the drone of a 458 Italia that whizzed past me to a mere hum. On the other hand, the firm ride of the M56 resonates with a road noise which can be termed raucous for a luxury supersized car.
Now, for such a powerful and luxurious car, it’s interesting that perhaps the most overwhelmingly powerful feature is its Bose stereo system. Excellently balanced, the 16-speaker system offers audiophile sound quality, which is a pleasure on the long drives and would drown any sort of complaint that the rear passenger would have about the firm ride quality.
The Essential Infiniti M56
The Infiniti M competes with esteemed rivals like the 5 series, the E class and the Lexus GS but this one has the feeling of bulk like no other which is actually pretty reassuring. The Infiniti M56 is a car that keeps those in front extremely happy and those in the rear wondering why the car, with all its space and plush upholstery, doesn’t feel as comfortable as it actually looks. As for those who ignore the bits about a firm ride or turbo delay, the Infiniti M56 rewards them with ample power, control and well of all things an almost SUV sort of a driving position. And as for those who want a smoother and more comfortable ride with not much of road noise intrusion, they can opt out of the sports package. The sports quotient is a given in the Infiniti; so there wouldn’t be much of a compromise!
Drive Courtesy: Infiniti Middle East
Pictures: Sudeep Koshy