2011 is an exciting year for Infiniti M enthusiasts as a new generation of
Infiniti's high-end sports sedan will come to market. In order to look
to the future, we must first look at the M-series present and past.
Infiniti released the first M-series as a 2-door GT-styled luxury coupe in 1990
when Infiniti was launched for the US market. With lackluster performance
due to its underpowered 162hp V6 and weight, even the release of a convertible
could not help sales enough to keep the M30 in the Infiniti lineup and it was
discontinued after the 1992 model year. The M30 shares nothing in common with
later models M-designated models.
Fast forward to 2003 and Infiniti released an all new M for the US market, based
upon the Nissan Gloria in Japan. This new model was released as a first
generation sedan and included a 340hp 4.5L V8 with 5-speed automatic transmission
in a FR layout. The first generation M45 was a love-hate relationship as you
either appreciated the styling or simply walked away. Again, the M sold poorly
in the US marketplace and was only in production for 18 months.
In 2005, Infiniti released the second generation of the M mid-sized sport sedan
with all new styling, a more rigid platform and more options. The first release
featured the M45 with the same 4.5L V8 (325hp) as the prior model but also
included a new M35 model sporting the same 3.5L V6 as found in the Infiniti G35
and Nissan 350z (among others) with 303hp. The M also became the
the Infiniti lineup as the Q45 was retired after 2006. Infiniti also released
an all-wheel-drive model, the M35x, came standard with a variation of the ATTESSA-ETS
(Advanced Total Traction Engineering System for All-Terrain system) system that
had successfully been utilized by Nissan in cars such as the Skyline since 1989.
In 2006, the M35x won Consumer Reports top luxury car pick, bumping the Lexus
LS 430 from the top spot.
The M lineup received a mid-generation refresh in 2008 by offering the ATTESSA-ETS
system with the V8 edition, with the release of the M45x. Sport versions of each
were also released which added a stiffer suspension, rear active steer and additional
interior and exterior styling. For 2009, the M35 was upgraded to the M37 and
received the 3.7L 328hp V6, with 7sp automatic transmission, that was also powering
the latest G and Nissan Z models.
corporate design cues.
Model year 2011 brings us to the third-generation M, and a thorough redesign.
From an exterior aspect, the new M takes a few styling cues from the Infiniti
Essence concept vehicle. The new front
fascia has a larger grille area, sweeping fenders, and G37-esque headlights
which add to a more sculpted look than the M it replaces. The
side profile also goes away from the prior generation's flat-panel effect and
continues the sweeping lines to give more style and definition to the vehicle.
Gone also is the
square rear of the current generation as this new design is in keeping with Infiniti's new
From a technological perspective, the Jury is still out. At a minimum, the M will
offer a full Navigation system, Bose HD Musicbox with 5.1 sound and video capabilities,
adaptive headlights, active cruise control, lane departure systems, and all the other
bells and whistles seen in the current models offered by Infiniti. One new system that
is rumored to be added is a blind spot monitoring system that will assist the driver
if another vehicle is found to be in the blind spot during a lane change.
Performance: Infiniti will continue to offer the 3.7L 328hp V6 in
base, AWD, and Sport editions similar to the current models on the market. The big
change is the M45 is upgraded to the M56 and powered by a 5.6L V8 which is currently
used in the Infiniti QX56, Nissan Armada, and Nissan Titan pickup. Power is expected
to be in the 400-420hp range with an automatic transmission being standard. The M56
will be offered in similar Base, Sport and AWD configurations as the current generation.
With the more powerful motor, Infiniti does not expect EPA MPG ratings to be any lower
than the current 16 city, 21 highway.
In addition to the restyled M37 and M56, Infiniti will be releasing a hybrid version
in 2011 as well. With the designation of M35 Hybrid, it will be offered with a single
electric motor/twin clutch arrangement in conjunction with the naturally aspirated 3.5L V6.
The electric motor
helps with acceleration while also acting as a generator for the “laminated” lithium-ion
(Li-ion) battery pack. MPG estimates have not been released at this time.
Infiniti is once again shaking up the mid-sized luxury sport segment, and enthusiasts
are eagerly awaiting the outcome. To keep up with the latest M-series news and information,
visit the following dedicated sites:
Article by: Matthew Moody, Nissan enthusiast and Adminstrator at Nissan Infiniti Car Owners Forum.
Information Copyright 2000-2009 by Matthew Moody|
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