Infiniti’s new M saloon will compete with the BMW 5-series and Audi A6 when it’s launched in the UK next summer.
The new four-door is based on the Nissan FM platform that underpins all Infiniti models. It’s rear-wheel drive only, with no four-wheel drive option, but buyers will be able to specify Infiniti’s four-wheel steer system.
The M will be launched as a single model — the M37, with a 316bhp/265lb ft 3.7-litre V6 — but this will be followed in autumn 2010 by the M30d, which uses the new 3.0-litre V6 diesel that’s due at the beginning of next year in the EX and FX.
Closely related to Renault’s V6 diesel, the Infiniti unit will have slightly more power (240bhp) and more torque. It’s also been modified to suit the Infiniti’s rear-drive installation. Transmission for both engines is a seven-speed auto with paddle shifts, actuated by magnesium paddles behind the steering wheel.
Infiniti is claiming that the car is fairly light, thanks to the use of aluminium panels, including the doors and the bonnet. That helps to give the M37 performance comparable to the G37 Coupé, with a 0-62mph time of 6.0sec and a top speed of 155mph. That’s on a par with the BMW 530i.
At the beginning of 2011 Infiniti will launch a petrol-electric version of the M37. The firm’s first hybrid, it will feature a 3.7-litre petrol V6 and a pair of electric motors.
Infiniti hasn’t released exact UK pricing for the M, but it will cost much the same as a BMW 530d, at around £35,000. However, the firm claims that it will be much better equipped than the equivalent BMW.