2011 Infiniti M - Click above for high-res image gallery

If you distill Monterey's week-long extravaganza into a single word, it's "luxury." Sybaritic pleasures are the order du jour in and around Pebble, so Infiniti's decision to reveal the 2011 M on the Monterey Peninsula is a clear indication of the brand's interminable pursuit of recognition and respect in the world of up-market automobiles.

Infiniti is well aware that becoming a major player in the segment doesn't begin and end with creating a dynamically engaging and aesthetically pleasing entry-level luxury sedan and coupe. It's got to go big – or at least bigger – filling a niche that falls somewhere between the BMW 5 Series/Mercedes-Benz E-Class and 7 Series/S-Class.

Taking all the right cues from the Essence concept, the all-new M successfully distills the organic shapes and angular creases of its conceptual forbearer into a traditional sports sedan shape. The front fascia's engorged maw blends well with the aggressive headlamps and curvaceous lower valence, and while things are somewhat subdued in profile, the real action starts with the shapely swage line beginning in the middle of the rear door and sweeping back into the Jaguar-esque tail lamps and pinched rump. The exterior's sinuous lines carry over to the inside, with a duo of convex interior compartments accentuated by a smattering of wood and aluminum. There's also some new technology, including a unique take on the blind spot intervention system that actually helps the driver back into his original lane if another car is detected alongside.

We're hoping to snag more details when we take a look at Infiniti's "virtual M" tonight, where the automaker is employing a bespoke "video mapping" system to display the M's details and colors onto a full-scale model of the sedan. Infiniti's third-generation flagship is set to go on sale in 32 markets in the spring of 2010 and will be available in either V6 M37 trim or a 400-hp V8-powered M56 variant. Full details in the press release below the fold.

UPDATE: Click here to watch a live stream of the 2011 Infiniti M being unveiled in Monterey.


Related Gallery2011 Infiniti M


PRESS RELEASE

2011 Infiniti M Makes Virtual Debut at Concours d'Elegance

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (Aug. 14, 2009) – Infiniti today provided an advanced look at the all-new 2011 Infiniti M performance luxury sedan at the 59th Annual Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. This is the third generation of Infiniti's popular M and the first to be sold across all of Infiniti's 32 markets around the world, including Western Europe.

Like the current Infiniti M, the next-generation design will be offered with V8 and V6 engines. The 2011 M models will be designated the Infiniti M56 and Infiniti M37 respectively, reflecting their more powerful, larger displacement engines. The M56 V8 is expected to offer more than 400 horsepower. For Western Europe, the M56 will be replaced by a V6 performance diesel.

The 2011 Infiniti M also features a completely redesigned body, with authentic sports sedan proportions and evocative new styling with a low front end and deeply sculpted fenders inspired by the Infiniti Essence concept car. The new M interior promises to be pure Infiniti, highlighted by the use of innovative materials, an advanced climate control system, superior audio and an enhanced quality feel. Despite improved performance from the new engine lineup, fuel consumption will be reduced.

In addition, the 2011 M will continue Infiniti's technology innovation leadership with a blind spot intervention system. This industry-first system is designed to help alert the driver if another vehicle is detected in an adjacent lane during an intended lane change, and then help assist the driver in returning the vehicle toward the center of the original lane of travel.

The 2011 Infiniti M, which is scheduled to go on sale across the world starting from spring 2010, was revealed through a unique "video mapping" process – in which a "virtual M" was created on a 3D form. It is the world's first "virtual only" (no physical vehicle) automotive application of this cutting-edge technology. The 2011 Infiniti M will make its official public debut later this year.