What is it?
Excellent question and one which we were asked many times during our week with the Infiniti M37 S Premium. Worryingly for a brand trying to re-establish a toe-hold in the Australia premium car market after a 20-year absence, most guesses ranged from Hyundai i40 to “one of those new Chinese cars”. The closest call was a lone bid for a Lexus. Nissan’s luxury arm has some brand identity work to do.
The oddly named M range offers a choice of petrol V6, petrol V6 hybrid or V6 turbo-diesel. We tested the straight petrol V6, which displaces 3696cc and shares duty in the Nissan 370Z. In the Infiniti, the engine makes 235kW at 7000rpm and 360Nm at 5200rpm (the Zed makes 245kW and 369Nm at the same revs). Smooth and punchy, it’s a thirsty engine though, and the 10.2L/100km combined cycle ADR figure blew out to 14.1L/100km on our test.
The seven-speed torque converter auto is unobtrusive and smooth.
What’s it like to drive?
Initially it’s a bit odd. The steering wheel is huge and the rack is very sensitive off centre which combines for clumsy initial progress. Get familiar with the set-up, however, and the M37 possesses a grippy and entertaining chassis. There is unshakable grip from the 245/40 R20 tyres and strong and progressive brakes (355mm front rotors with four-piston calipers, 350mm rear rotors with two-piston calipers).
Despite the relatively modest spec of the V6 and chunky 1702kg kerb weight, the M is a quick car; Infiniti claims a 6.2-second 0-100km/h and a 250km/h top speed.
How does it compare?
As a brand, Infiniti is up against some serious players and that challenge is exemplified by the M’s competitive set. BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar and Audi all offer more compelling and comprehensive model ranges in the premium-large sector in which the M competes. Even Lexus’ new GS range is a tough competitor. The M is up against it and you’d need to be a committed individualist to choose one.
Anything else I need to know?
Infiniti dealers are few a far between with one each in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. The brand is looking to expand both its dealer footprint and model range, which presently consists of M sedan, G convertible and FX SUV.