I don’t know what’s in the water at Nissan/Infiniti lately but they’re pumping out some of the sexiest cars on the planet right now. The 350Z, FX45 and G35 Coupe are amongst the most stylish vehicles on sale now and not only are they head-turners, they’re great driver’s cars too.
Naturally, expectations were high for Infiniti’s latest model, the M45, which goes up against the likes of the BMW 5-Series and new Lexus GS430. Can Infiniti do it again and produce another class leader?
The M45 makes a good first impression with its stately lines and handsome front design. The grille and lights are distinctive without being gaudy and it certainly has a strong family look. If only the rest of the car maintained that same appearance and attitude. I have no complaints about the overall proportions. It seems a little slab-sided and the profile could have benefited from a bit more imagination. Some might argue that the rearmost side window is unnecessary. The light arrangement at the rear is also a little fussy and Nissan/Infiniti could do better than the stock 18-inch rims. Wheels that are more dramatic would really make the shape of the M45 stand out.
Things are much better inside with its gorgeous, yacht-like, Rosewood finish and sumptuous materials throughout. The layout of the dashboard is very pleasing to the eye, although the placement of the major controls on top of the dashboard takes a little getting used to. Still, it’s preferable to using a menu-based system. The buttons are big and easy to find, particularly at night when they emit an eerie orange glow. With a ten-way adjustable driver’s seat and electrically adjustable steering wheel, getting comfortable in the Infiniti is not a problem and things are just as pleasant in the rear with comfortable rear seats and plenty of space for six-footers.
There’s a long list of standard equipment in the Infiniti M45; including power leather seats, a 6-CD changer, dual zone climate control, a seven-inch LCD screen, keyless entry with push-button start, a voice recognition system and built-in Bluetooth phone controls. Our test car came with the “Premium Package,” which includes a satellite navigation system, wonderful cooled and heated seats, electrically adjustable and heated rear seats, a DVD player and an ear-popping Bose sound system with speakers in the seats! It’s a nice package but it’s not cheap, adding an extra $10,000 to the M45’s $46,950 price tag. Our car even had the optional Intelligent Cruise Control, which maintains a safe distance between you and the car in front of you by controlling the gas or even applying the brakes. It’s a fine idea in theory but the execution gets annoying quickly because the distance it wants to maintain between you and the vehicle in front of you is so great that it encourages others to cut in front of you all the time. When a car jumps into that space, the M45 slows itself down to open up that massive gap again so highway progress is marred by constant changes in speed. It seems there is no way to turn it off either, so I ending up driving without cruise control most of the time. I also turned off the “Lane Departure System” because it only chimes once you’re over the white lines and it doesn’t recognize curbs or concrete dividers. It’s pointless.