The 2012 Infiniti M sedan earned a top Total Car Score, pushing aside many notable vehicles from Europe and Asia in the process.
Infiniti's flagship sedan, a role it took when the Q sedan was discontinued in 2006, is noted for its performance, luxury and innovative-yet-user-friendly technology. Its cabin is luxuriously appointed — there is a long list of standard equipment and amenities — and it consistently delivers solid safety scores.
On the downside, Infiniti's focus on sport means the M sedan is occasionally critiqued for having a firm ride. However, that is not a problem for someone seeking a performance sedan. In addition, some of the electronic driving aids may be considered intrusive and annoying — thankfully, many can easily be shut off with the push of a button.
The current M sedan was all-new last year. It is the closest the Japanese have come to replicating a European sport sedan. Enhancements for the 2012 model include a new 18-inch wheel package, the combination of the M56 Sport and Sport Touring packaged into the Sport Package and a new interior color. Don't expect a replacement for another five years or so.
The 2012 Infiniti M is a midsize five-passenger sedan. It is offered in just one body style, but with two different engines and a choice of rear- or all-wheel drive. There are four different models: M37, M37x, M56 and M56x (the "x" denotes all-wheel drive).
Standard M37 models are fitted with Nissan's familiar VQ-Series engine, shared with the Nissan 370Z sports coupe. Displacing 3.7-liters, the naturally-aspirated V6 is rated at 330 horsepower under the hood of this luxury sedan. The range-topping M56 receives a much larger 5.6-liter V8, but it only gains 90 horsepower in the process (but a noticeable 147 pound-feet of torque).
Rear-wheel drive is standard in the M sedan, with Nissan's innovative full time all-wheel drive optional. All models receive a standard seven-speed automatic transmission with a manual shift mode and downshift rev matching. Paddle shifters are standard on rear-wheel drive models.
Base M sedans offer an array of standard luxury equipment including leather upholstery, active noise control — it digitally quiets the ambient noise in the cabin — and a backup camera. Major option packages include navigation (standard on the M56), lane departure control, radar-based cruise control and adaptive headlights. The various Sport packages add 20-inch alloy wheels, upgraded springs, double-piston shock absorbers and other performance enhancements.
The EPA fuel economy ratings for the rear-wheel-drive 2012 Infiniti M37— the most fuel efficient in the model range — are 18 mpg city, 26 mpg highway and 21 combined and 17/24/20 for the M37x. The M56 earns 16 mpg city, 24 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined while the M56x gets 16/23/18.
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