Infiniti claims the M’s design was inspired by the 2009 Essence concept. Now, it is not within our general remit to tell you how good looking a car is, but if you had placed an order for an M on the strength of the dynamism of the Essence’s styling alone, we can’t help but think that you might come away disappointed.
To our eyes, the M is a moderately attractively sculpted saloon that sits utterly conventionally within the class in which it means to compete. At 4945mm in length, it is a touch longer than its rear-wheel-drive German rivals, with a 2900mm wheelbase that is longer than an E-Class’ (by 26mm) but shorter than a 5-Series’ (by 68mm).
The body is certainly smooth, though; in S trim, which receives a sportier-looking front end than lesser models and 20in alloys, it merits a drag coefficient of 0.28 (and an even more impressive 0.27 in other variants).
The flowing, rising hip line has translated well from the Essence concept to the saloon, even if it looked a lot more impressive on the concept’s three-door coupé body. The narrowing window line that rises over the rear wheel arch comes closest to giving the M3 the coupé shape that Infiniti claims it has, while the distinctive upturned ‘ducktail’ boot lip was designed to improve airflow and create zero lift at high speeds to aid stability.
S-trim models get a different front-end look to distinguish them from regular versions, including black headlight surrounds and a tweaked bumper design. They also get 20-inch wheels, while other versions get 19-inch alloys. High-set door mirrors give good rear three-quarter visibility (aided by a standard blind spot warning system) but it’s a double-edged sword as they can impede forward vision.