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.