2007 M45 New Car Test Drive
The 2007 Infiniti M series is enough to give German automotive engineers insomnia. The M35 and its more powerful sibling, the M45, demonstrate that Japanese luxury brands are steadily learning from their mistakes, improving their product and posing an increasing challenge to the traditional luxury cars from Europe.
The Infiniti M successfully blends aggression and sophistication for stylish visual flair. Its rosewood-trimmed interior is luxurious, with comfortable seats and a full array of standard safety equipment. Every model features the requisite luxury accoutrements, including keyless push-button starting.
The M35 can be rewarding to drive. Its V6 engine is one of the most powerful available. Enthusiast drivers will particularly like the M35 Sport, which features a firmer suspension and active rear steering. The V8-powered M45 delivers even stronger acceleration; the M45 is also available as a Sport model.
Those who live in slushy, snowy climates should be wary of the Sport versions of either M, however. These cars are equipped with sticky speed-rated tires, which are designed for lots of grip on dry pavement, and aren't much good for anything in snow. Better to choose the all-wheel-drive Infiniti M35X, which comes with general-purpose, all-season tires. The M35X adds an element of confidence and security in sloppy climates, without a significant toll in fuel economy.
Sedans in the $50,000 range comprise one of the most competitive chunks of the new car market, loaded with good cars like the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series, Cadillac STS, Jaguar S-Type, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Lexus GS, and Acura RL. The Infiniti M leans toward the sportier end of this spectrum, particularly in Sport trim. We strongly recommend a look at the Infiniti M35 or M45 for anyone looking for a car in this class.
The 2007 Infiniti M offers a V6 or V8 engine in five different models. All are equipped with a five-speed automatic transmission.
The Infiniti M35 ($41,450) is powered by a 275-horsepower V6 engine. The M35X ($44,550) is an all-wheel-drive version of the M35.
Leather seats with heating and ventilation come standard on the M35, and the driver's seats offers 10-way power adjustments. Also standard: Brazilian Rosewood trim, a 160-watt six-speaker AM/FM/cassette stereo with 6CD changer, power sunroof, Bluetooth cell phone interface, voice activation of many controls and a seven-inch LCD screen that displays most vehicle information. Standard wheels are 18 inches in diameter.
The M35 Sport ($44,250) is, as the name suggests, a sportier version of the rear-drive M35. The Sport adds a sport-tuned suspension with Rear Active Steer (RAS), 19-inch alloy wheels, aluminum interior trim, and auto-leveling high-intensity xenon headlights with Adaptive Front Lighting System (AFS), which swivels the lights to shine around in turns.
The M45 ($49,100) and M45 Sport ($50,550) are identical to their M35 counterparts, except that each is powered by 325-hp V8.
An available Premium Package ($8,900) includes almost every available option: navigation system, RearView camera, Lane Departure Warning, intelligent cruise control, DVD-based Mobile Entertainment System for rear passengers, heated and power-reclining rear seats, power rear sunshade and rear passenger climate and audio controls.
Standalone options include XM or Sirius satellite radio ($350); the DVD entertainment system ($1,500), 18-inch chrome wheels ($1,000), an aerodynamic body kit ($1,590) and a rear spoiler ($290).
Safety features include dual-stage front airbags, front-passenger side-impact airbags, and curtain-style head-protection airbags for all outboard seats. All Infiniti M models feature Vehicle Dynamic Control skid-management electronics, traction control, and an advanced ABS system. Optional safety equipment includes the lane departure warning system, RearView camera, preview braking and pre-crash seat belts. In front-offset and side-impact crash tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the M35/45 got Good ratings, on a scale that includes Good, Acceptable, Marginal, and Poor.