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Steering, suspension and ride comfort

The Infiniti M faces its European competition on a level playing field, sharing its basic front-engined, rear-drive layout with all key rivals other than the Audi A6. From that starting point, Infiniti is offering two versions: the GT and the S.

The difference is that the S is fitted with sports suspension, four-wheel steering and 20in wheels in place of the GT’s 18s. Regardless of which version you opt for, the M feels very European in its responses, treading a line between the softness of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and the precision of the Jaguar XF.

There are noticeable differences between the two versions, though. First, the steering. Unsurprisingly, it is the GT’s that has the more natural responses, but the gearing is relatively slow; combined with the GT’s softer suspension, this means the M can feel slightly reluctant to turn in.

In comparison, the S is noticeably more alert, and not simply because its four-wheel steering requires smaller inputs, but also because the sports suspension reduces the roll angle. As with all four-wheel steer systems, the M’s takes a little getting used to, but in comparison with others we’ve tried it is more consistent in its responses as the lock is increased and, as a consequence, more intuitive.

Which is better? Cross-country, we prefer the superior poise of the S. That poise comes at a price, though: the S’s ride is more unsettled at low speeds. The issue isn’t so much the ability to soak up larger bumps, but vertical agitation at sub-20mph speeds over small, high-frequency ridges.

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As with our comments in the performance section, the extent of our criticism here is not so great as to detract from the M’s appeal, but the fact remains that there are others, namely the Jaguar XF, that present a better ride on equal-sized wheels.