Infiniti M45 Car Review – MotorPoint
2006 Infiniti M45
Infinitis M45 is a heavy-footed ready to romp sports sedan that offers both technology and luxury at a price point in the $40000-$50000 (US) range. It comes in four forms with our choice being the less expensive six-cylinder M35 version. Also available are an all wheel drive model the V8 M45 with its 335 horsepower and a sport model with Rear Active Steering.
There is a lot to like about the Infiniti but it does have a sturdy ride thanks to the wide tires and the noise that they generate. In addition the dash mounted controls are difficult to reach and require considerable practice to master. Other than that just the tightness of the back seat that makes carrying five passengers difficult and the need for premium fuel to achieve 20 mpg are all that might from being unsurpassed as a luxury sports sedan
What must be pointed out is that the Infiniti backup camera is the best ever. It is clear gives you lines so that you can see the width of the M when backing up and uses the large dash mounted monitor. If you live in a crowded place or have children this feature is a must. Also available is a GPS with a birds eye view map Bluetooth hands-free system a rear-seat entertainment system and heated and cooled seats. All of these work well and make the Infiniti a joy to frolic with regardless of the weather or traffic.
Competition most directly comes from the Acura RL which has the Infiniti covered when it comes time for sophisticated electronics pricing and interior room. However the Acura does not offer the handling or performance of the Infiniti. Another competitor might be the Chrysler 300 Hemi that is more basic in terms of doodads and luxury but offers as much performance and room for many thousands less. BMW 5 Series Mercedes Jaguar S and Lexus GS are also worth noting with the BMW being the most competitive. But as the Infiniti M its styling is an acquired taste.
Moms view: This is an executive vehicle and quite capable of handling any situation with its ready to romp engine smooth five speed transmission and abundance of features. It is pleasant to drive but rear visibility is limited and the M45 is not that nimble when parking it tight. Safetywise you get ABS vented disc brakes an electronic braking assistance program stability control front and side airbags and side curtain airbags active head restraints in front a tire pressure monitor and even a lane departure warning system. What really separates the Infiniti M from the competition besides a well regarded dealer network and its pricing is how comfortable it is. The seats are firm but not Mercedes hard and the feel of the interior fabrics woods and leathers reassure you that this is a luxury vehicle. You can easily get in and out as the doors open wide and the entry is well lighted. The is a little dark for my tastes but it could come back into fashion. The dash is very difficult to master with the clear seven-inch LCD screen taking up the center and a series of operation related push buttons surrounding a large control know below it. The result is not good. I could barely reach some of the functions and those placed on the far right of the control unit required me to stretch far more than should be necessary. Of course that leaves the center console available for two good sixed cupholders and a nicely designed two level storage bin. The Infiniti system is far more usable than the competition but the placement is not friendly to the short of limb.
Perhaps what spoils you most about Infiniti M ownership is a recognition key that alerts the car to your presence and unlocks the door and does a variety of other tasks prior to you pushing on the start pushing to ignite the engine. I found it best to push the start button once to enliven the accessory mode and get the memory seat and other functions into position. A few seconds later I hit the start button and a very gruff rumble from the potent V8 awakens to your call. The pre-programming can even be set for the mirrors and windows and it quickly becomes second nature and I never have to I fumble through my handbag looking for the key.
Infinitis rear is its weak spot. The trunk lid does not open nearly enough when the remote is used and you have to put your hand under the always dirty rear bumper to gain access. The trunk is also not that large with just 15 cubic feet of space or 11 if you opt for the full-sized spare tire. There is a ski pass through. Even the exterior rear view of the Infiniti is way too busy. Finally if you order the rear seat entertainment center and the rear monitor is down you simply cannot see out the rearview mirror.
Would I buy the Infiniti M45? No. The M35 is less expensive to buy and maintain has a similar nice interior and its 280 horsepower is enough for me. Regardless the powerful 335 horses superior brakes and sumptuous interior make this Infiniti compelling for those who enjoy driving in the fast lane.
Dads view: We waited a long time to test the Infiniti M45 and it was worthwhile. This is a tightly bound athletic sedan capable of getting to 60 mph in less than six seconds giving 20 mpg and doing so in a captivating cabin. Riding on an extended version of the terrific G platform the M sedan can easily change its disposition from friendly chat to shouting match just be depressing the accelerator. The 5-speed automatic transmission with a manual shift mode slightly tames the 335 horsepower and 340 lb-ft of torque and you can reach 100 mph in a quarter mile. The engine maxs out at 6800 rpm and it does not take long to get there. The transmission even blips the throttle when you manually downshift. Very impressive.
Suspension is anchored by a double-wishbone front and multilink rear set-up and the steering is modulated well except at low speeds where it has a ponderous feel. I was always surprised at how difficult it was to park compared to its nimble sister the G35. The ride reminded me far more of the FX SUVs. If you order the Sport Package you get a firmer suspension a rear steering system that emphasises turn-in when cornering and improves exit speeds and 19-inch cast-alloy wheels climate-controlled firmer seats and aluminum interior trim. The ride is definitely sportier but we question the need for such a package on a vehicle that weighs over two tons.
Standard features abound with leather upholstery a 10-way adjustable memory capable drivers seat one-touch up-and-down power windows dual-zone automatic climate control auto-dimming rearview mirror and heated outside mirrors. If you go with the Sport option Infiniti throws in rear active steering sport suspension upgraded wheels adaptive HID headlamps aluminum interior trim and heated and cooled sport seats. Some popular options include a DVD-based navigation system voice recognition technology and laser-based intelligent cruise control that maintains a reported safe distance from other vehicles and audio enhancements
Although not light on its feet the M is quite capable of matching lighter and more sporty cars when cornering. It is remarkably well tuned and only overt bumps and diamond cut highways cause it much concern. The performance is very understated and you quickly grow enamoured with the power absolutely corrupting your petrol company credit card. I seldom got more than 17 mpg and we barely averaged 20. Once the transmission has decided that you are serious about acceleration and you choice not to shift for yourself be prepared for a deep howl from under the hood and a spine adjusting push as the revs flow freely until you are where you wanted to be and quicker than you thought. It is addicting and the cool part is that the exterior is so bland that it seldom draws undue concern from the authorities. Only you know what lurks under the bonnet and it would take a self-control freak from not falling under its spell. On the other hand the brakes although excellent for what the hell fell off the truck in front of me applications is quite touchy in less dramatic situations. The big discs act right now and there isnt too much middle ground as the feel goes from wooden to woo nellie in a hurry.
I truly enjoyed the M45 but it took me a while to accept its heavy feel and ponderous parking problems. It certainly has caught the Lexus GS and it only has to reign in the expensive BMW 5 Class to become the dominate car in its class for those trying to combine the good life at a fast clip.
College going males view: The best option for me was the 14-speaker Bose Studio Surround sound system with digital 5.1 channel decoding. It was the finest stereo I have ever heard in a car that was not added on by an aftermarket tuner. Clear concise and readily capable of taking my CD downloads at http://www.simple-thoughts.net and making them into control room fresh. You must listen to this system. Period.
I remember when Infiniti just came out and they had an optional rear wheel turning system that proved to be complex and ruing the vehicles mileage and performance. Although we dont test at speed I doubt the value of this option since the wheels only turn a maximum of one degree thanks to an electrically actuator even if it adjusts the rear toe angles in an opposite phase when cornering at high speed.
This ample sized Infiniti is not a babe magnet but does appeal to older folks. It has certain sophistication to its looks but the rear with its LED light clusters and high mounted back-up lights appear to be the antithesis of last years Accord tail section. Neither one is particularly attractive. I did like the five-spoke 19-inch alloy wheels on the Sport model.
Those riding in the back seats on Infiniti Ms with the Premium Package will find them heated and able to recline. Inside the rear center armrest are controls for the DVD system with an LCD that folds out of the ceiling and is controlled with a remote. You also get dual rear climate controls but getting three adults back there isnt easy. By the way if you have the DVD screen lowered it blocks the rear view mirror.
Despite my college classes and ridiculous textbook costs—where is technology when you need it? I wouldnt mind owning a M sedan. But in my case it would be the M35 that is $7000 (US) less expensive and gets better fuel mileage by ten percent. Check www.nada.com about resale.
Young working womans view: Most interestingly the optional lane departure system on the Infiniti uses a camera to detect lane markings and buzzes the driver when the car crosses that line. It is deactivated under 45 mph or when you use the turn signals. Should be a good tool for those who arent used to signaling. If you travel tired or take long journeys this could save your life.
We didnt test the M35X with its all wheel drive but noticing the ease of which the large V8 applied torque to the rear wheels I would highly recommend this model to those who frequent the snow either willingly or by default. The M45 is too much car for my needs but I liked the comfortable interior and the wonderful rear view monitor. Perhaps the V6 model would be more favorable but the Infiniti G35 makes more sense to me and is easier to park.
It has a four year/60000 mile warranty and the range of costs go from about $40000 for the base M35 to $46750 for the M45 and three thousand more for the Sport model. All models get a good but not great five speed automatic transmission. I think it takes too much time to downshift.
The major option groups are the Journey Package that includes an upgraded Bose sound system HomeLink rear view video monitor front pre-crash seatbelts and a compass for $1700 and a very good but not up to Acura standards $2000 navigation system. The GPS has an interesting birds eye view map that makes it much easier to find places quickly in large cities.
I was frankly disappointed with the travel range with the Infiniti M45 as we barely got 350 miles on the 20-gallon tank before we had to sell another acre of land to for fuel. Other than that I would highly recommend this vehicle to those who really like to drive or really like to have it all. Impressed but than again Im young.
Family conference: The Infiniti M Class is such a giant leap forward that it is hard to imagine why anyone interested in a sporty and luxurious vehicle would not consider it. Yes it could be more refined but the slightly more powerful and polished BMW 5 Class costs $7000 more. It is car for those who like to show a car whos the boss and rather drive than be driven. For a list of all vehicle websites go to http://www.reacheverychild.com and click on business.
Written by the Car Family
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