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New diesel executive saloon holds its own next to rivals from BMW, Mercedes and Jaguar

Our Verdict

Infiniti M
The Infiniti M is aimed squarely at its established rivals rather than being an alternative to them

The Infiniti M is a likeable and capable, if expensive, alternative to the obvious

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What is it?

It’s probably the moment Infiniti really gets serious about Europe. Because for all the crossovers, natty coupés and occasional drop-tops that Nissan’s luxury arm has peddled in this part of the world since it inched over here (via Russia) in 2008, it has remained on the fringes, a bit like a party pooper keeping quiet in the corner while preparing to make a scene.

Now, though, in the shape of the M30d, Infiniti has a car that will take on the BMW 530d, Mercedes E350 CDI and Jaguar XF 3.0d head on. Gulp. Infiniti isn't trying to undercut the established European opposition on price, for this GT Premium edition of the M30d costs a little under £45k. That’s a couple of grand up on a XF 3.0d S Premium Luxury, around £5k more than a 530d M Sport and £9k up on an Avantgarde E350 CDI.

Infiniti says that the M’s comprehensive equipment list allows it to fight its corner on toys without resorting to the lowest common denominator. The GT Premium has only two options: metallic paint and a spare wheel (instead of a repair kit). Hard disk-based navigation with Bose surround sound and ‘Forest Air’ climate control come as standard.

The M gets the same 3.0-litre turbodiesel powerplant that we tried earlier this year in the EX. It produces 235bhp and 405lb ft, a decent enough pair of figures but shy of the outputs of the 530d, E350 and XF.

The hybrid version of the M, incidentally, is tipped by insiders to cost “only a modest amount more” than the diesel when it arrives in 2012.

See pics of the Infiniti M30d in action

What’s it like?

Well, this isn’t a car with the hard sporting edge of the 530d, or the waftability of the E-class. And the cabin doesn’t quite have the emotional connection of an XF’s, although fit and finish are excellent.

But if that sounds negative, it’s not meant to, because as an overall package, the M slips down between the cracks very effectively. The oil-burner has decent reserves low down, enough to make progress feel swift (but short of rapid).

You can rev it right through to beyond 5000rpm if you wish; doing so brings a note that fluctuates strangely between diesel rattle and sonorous V6. In truth, of course, there’s little point in thrashing it, because its best work is done by a little over 3000rpm. The seven-speed automatic gearbox isn’t particularly keen to be rushed anyway; even in sport mode, its shifts are smooth and relaxed.

It feels a heavy car, the M (it is, at 1840kg), but it’s well balanced enough and the steering has decent weight (if a little less feeling than we’d like). There’s enough there to deliver on the brand’s mission statement of a rewarding drive - just.

Inside the choice of materials is generally fine, and the refinement is excellent, particularly when cruising, when only a bit of wind noise will intrude. The non-S M30d rides on 18in wheels instead of 20-inchers, a factor that definitely reduces the amount of tyre rumble.

Should I buy one?

You shouldn’t rule it out. Yes, really. The M30d may be short of an absolute star turn - and we’re not sure if half of its standard toys will really tempt buyers away from the Germans - but there’s a well judged mechanical package here.

You should at least test an M30d if you’re in the market, because you may well conclude that it drives well enough. And from that point, you can start to weigh up the potential attractions of its extra standard kit.

John McIlroy

Infiniti M30d GT Premium

Price: £44,600; Top speed: 155mph; 0-60mph: 6.9sec; Economy: 37.7mpg; CO2: 199g/km; Kerb weight: 1845kg; Engine: V6, 2993cc, turbodiesel; Power: 235bhp at 3750rpm; Torque: 405lb ft at 1750rpm; Gearbox: 7-spd auto

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Comments
25

1 November 2010

So Nissan think they can put a fancy primera together and go all out and charge more than BMW do for a 530d...are they still on this planet? The interior looks like far to american for me..and the engines are not as good as the german/jag rivals.. I know its staying with the norm, and people may well buy it... but £45k, i'll take a 530d/E350 with change.......and do I need to even mention the mpg gains, residual value of the others..especially the BMW diesel..

3 November 2010

I really dont think Infinity as a brand has any place in the UK market, they are clearly made for America, if we could have them for the same price as they charge in America they would make a bit more sense, but we appear to be paying in pounds what the Yanks pay in dollars.

3 November 2010

While I do agree that it's frightfully expensive despite being well-equipped, I don't agree that there's no place for it in the U.K. market. Infiniti have made a competitive executive car that appears to stand shoulder to shoulder with the incredibly advanced class leaders, and that's no mean feat.

Also, Infiniti have made great strides in Europe in, what, two years? Lexus have taken about two decades to produce cars that still aren't quite good enough. The GS is a prime example of a car that wasn't really competitive even when it was new, and the SC wasn't all that, either.

3 November 2010

[quote ej03]So Nissan think they can put a fancy primera together[/quote]

Come on, thats like saying a new Lexus GS is just a fancy Toyota Carina... bit of a silly statement. Personally I really like it, its different & has character. & the interior looks fantastic, the wood in particular looks very nice & it all looks (in the pictures anyway) a much nicer place to spend time than the dull German interiors.

I think it will do alright, it certainly won't outsell the 5-series but Nissan arent claiming it will, at the end of the day it will sell as being a different choice for people who dont want a car that screams "middle-management company car driver" (aka the 5-series). I would have one just to have a car that's fairly individual.

currently a happy owner of a Mitsubishi Shogun Pinin :)

3 November 2010

[quote ej03]I know its staying with the norm, and people may well buy it... but £45k, i'll take a 530d/E350 with change.......[/quote]

You'll only have change if you have the 5 Series in Poverty spec. I personally like the fact that an executive car company is offering executive levels of kit. Rather than the BMW angle of, matching a Hyundai level of kit and then charge the world for everything else.

I'd much rather have a loaded Infiniti than a 5 series. Not least because the Infiniti looks interesting and isnt styled to be identical inside and out to every other car in the range.

BMW's are boring......

BMW: Boring Motors for Wan....

3 November 2010

[quote Citytiger]I really dont think Infinity as a brand has any place in the UK market, they are clearly made for America, if we could have them for the same price as they charge in America they would make a bit more sense, but we appear to be paying in pounds what the Yanks pay in dollars[/quote]

Agreed - and the 'base' price of this in the States is way less than the pound figure (although not a diesel of course)

3 November 2010

[quote ej03]So Nissan think they can put a fancy primera together[/quote]

Oh please...you sound more than a little threatened. This is the first rung on the ladder.


3 November 2010

I'll probably get one in a couple of years to see if it justifies its position, should be about £15k by then!

To live is to drive

3 November 2010

Someone mentioned the Toyota Carina above. The problem with this Infiniti is that it just doesn't look like a £45k premium car. It looks like a modern Toyota Carina.

3 November 2010

A couple of points here - you have to drive one of these cars before passing opinion. In general the European Nissan's fit in well in their classes, but in the States they are so much better.

Infiniti's are better again - they are very real and able alternatives to BMW. Drive one and you will see.

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