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.
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.