From £37,366
M37S Premium is very competent but struggles when faced with its rivals

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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21 September 2010

What is it?

Arguably there’s only one car maker that builds a direct rival for BMW’s signature front-engined, rear-wheel-drive models.

Infiniti uses the same formula to impressive effect in its distinctive SUV models. Now Nissan’s boutique brand has finally launched the M-series saloon in Europe.

See pics of the Infiniti M37S Premium

What’s it like?

Although, on paper, this M37 is clearly aiming to match the 5-series, the execution and flavour of the Infiniti is very different.

As you might expect from a car engineered in Japan, the M37’s driving position is first rate. The interior is immaculately finished and built with typical high-end Japanese precision.

However, the design language (based on ‘wind and waves’ and used inside and out) just lacks the measured dignity of the inside of today’s 5-series or E-class.

The Infiniti’s profusion of silvered switches and centre console layout lean slightly too far towards the arcade aesthetic. Some individual pieces (such as the gear selector) are very finely executed, but other areas (the instrument dials and chassis selector) are rather plain and ordinary. The exterior styling is, arguably, similarly lacking in the deeply polished elegance of the best that European premium cars can offer.

Still, there’s not much arguing with the underskin execution. The V6 (appreciably shorter than the straight six in the 5-series) is tucked right back in the chassis, driving the rear wheels, through a seven-speed autobox. On this M37S Premium, the driver also gets the assistance of active four-wheel steer.

Using the three-position switch mounted on the centre console, the driver can dial up three very different characters. The Eco mode delivers a very long travel for the accelerator pedal and actively resists hard acceleration from the driver. A green light on the dash indicates suitably eco progress.

In Sport, however, this car really wants to motor. It’s extremely quick-witted, agile and thrusting, making good use of the motor’s sweet-spinning and pacey nature. The M37 also feels firmly planted and stable at high speeds.

However, if there’s one criticism of the the M37’s Sport setting, it’s one of over-eagerness. It can over-exaggerate the driver’s inputs and, consequently, exaggerates the car’s outputs. When pressing on in the M37, particularly during high-speed overtaking manoeuvres, progress is touch frenetic.

The Standard setting is much less focused than Sport, with the car delivering a less direct response to steering inputs. Indeed, the whole car is much slower-witted in the way it responds to moving away from straight head.

I was impressed by the four-wheel steering in Sport mode. Its response is extremely keen at lower speeds. Travelling around slow-speed corners the M37 really feels like it is centre pivoted.

At higher speeds, the 4WS allows the driver to easily run up to the tyres’ limit of adhesion. Pushing hard through bends, there’s no sense of understeer at all - though the sensations coming back through both the seat and wheel rim are rather distant and mechanical.

The brakes are nicely powerful at their full extent and also easy to modulate under hard braking. The car’s ride was remarkably good, too, especially considering it was rolling on big 20in wheels.

Should I buy one?

The question is whether you should buy one over a 5-serie, but in many ways the M37 is more of a Japanese Jaguar XF than a Beemer and it struggles in this respect.

Where the Jaguar has a masterful maturity under pressure, the Infiniti is just that much more brittle and digital.

Infiniti M37S Premium

Price: £45,665; Top speed: 155mph; 0-62mph: 6.2sec; Economy: 27.7mpg (combined); CO2: 235g/km; Kerb weight: 1765kg; Engine: V6, 3696cc, petrol; Power: 315bhp at 7000rpm; Torque 266lb ft at 5200rpm; Gearbox: 7-spd autoSee all the latest Infiniti reviews, news and video

Join the debate

Comments
18

27 September 2010

You say that the dials are plain - I think that they are incredibly clear and easy to read which to me is much more important. As for the rest of the interior I suppose it does not appear to be aping either BM or MB. As I have said in a previoous post Infinitis in my expereince are very good to drive, very driver-focussed, well-built and reliable. This though seems WAY too expensive. This car costs less in USD (46,000) than it does in pounds!

27 September 2010

BMW's 5 looks very dated and boring inside out compared to this Infiniti. M's design language is very strong, sexy and beautiful. BMW has no chance on my list: it's a car for those who place the badge above all. The Five is not bad, but it's looks are.

PS: Infiniti, where's M Coupe? And M Wagon?

27 September 2010

[quote Autocar]Arguably there’s only one car maker that builds a direct rival for BMW’s signature front-engined, rear-wheel-drive models.[/quote]

Clearly, Jaguar, Merc or Lexus don't exist then. And has the E-Class fallen off the radar now as no mention of whether the M37 should be chosen over it, despite it being class best?

27 September 2010

[quote Autocar]Arguably there’s only one car maker that builds a direct rival for BMW’s signature front-engined, rear-wheel-drive models.[/quote] Unlike BMW this Infinity will not have a choice of diesel engines and power outputs like BMW provide. Lets face it an executive car like this with a 3.7 petrol engine will sell in tiny numbers in Europe. It needs a range of diesel engines to sell well just like BMW/Audi/Mercedes regardless of how well it is made or drives. And yes it is far too expensive in the UK compared to US prices.

28 September 2010

The interior is a mess, the exterior is badly executed and oveall its last in class behind a long list of very able cars. Its also not helped on price, as per usual the US dollar price becomes a UK pound price plus a bit when delivered over here (why is this? there is no really justification just profiteering).

A choice for the excentric who doesn;t mind class leading depreciation and being laughed at for the droopy bollock logo.

28 September 2010

[quote crashbangwallop]and being laughed at for the droopy *** logo[/quote]

A wonderful insight into the mentality of what Infiniti is up against in the UK. What rational person would give even a second thought to the appearance of a logo on a bonnet when deciding to purchase a car.......sadly it would seem a great number of people in the UK

Unable to think for themselves, they are to marketing departments, as donkeys are to carrots.

28 September 2010

Yes, what an astute and clever individual you are. We donkeys are only concerned with the messy interior, poor outside design and lack of value for money plus of course the bollo logo, while you Steppenwolf.. get over yourself

28 September 2010

[quote geed]

A wonderful insight into the mentality of what Infiniti is up against in the UK. What rational person would give even a second thought to the appearance of a logo on a bonnet when deciding to purchase a car.......sadly it would seem a great number of people in the UK

Unable to think for themselves, they are to marketing departments, as donkeys are to carrots.

[/quote]

What an idiotic post. One person, ONE PERSON, mentions a dislike of the logo and all of a sudden 'a great number of people in the UK' are donkeys? Nice logic.

There's a donkey in the forum, that's for sure.

29 September 2010

I may be an ass sometimes but I am no donkey;-)

"A wonderful insight into the mentality of what Infiniti is up against in the UK" This statement refers to the UK, NOT one person. Mr/Mrs cbw was merely portraying the mentality I often see with British consumers, of which there are many.

"a great number of people in the UK" refers to all the plebs that pay more for an Audi over an virtually identical VW....because the badge looks better. Or pay more for a VW over a Skoda for the very same reason. Or not buy a very capable Infiniti because the badge looks funny. I don't like the M, but you've missed my point entirely.

Have you and cbw got something going on? oops sorry I'll leave you two to it.

29 September 2010

[quote geed]Audi over an virtually identical VW....because the badge looks better[/quote]

Emmm ... no mate Audi's are different to VW in many ways, they may share some similar underpinnings but the interior's in Audi's are much much better, the styling is better, they are much more classy, layout of controls, design of the car, handling etc etc if they were Virtually identical like you said then no one would buy it !

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