Restyled and re-engineered for 2011, Infiniti’s M sedan was offered as an M37 or M56 and made available with either rear-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive. Both engines (3.7 litre V-6, 5.6 litre V-8) were mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission with a manual shift mode and, in the case of the M37, Nissan/Infiniti’s downshift rev matching feature. This automatically matched engine and transmission speeds when downshifting and was also found in the 370Z Roadster.
Both rear-drive models were available with Nissan’s four-wheel active steering feature, which angles or “steers” the rear wheels up to one per cent during hard cornering. It was part of the Sport Package, which included upgraded brakes and 20-inch wheels and tires. The optional Infiniti Drive system let the driver, via a console-mounted rotary knob, choose from four performance modes, including an Eco setting, which changed the throttle pedal response and made it “push back” slightly when you wanted to overtake or speed up. Infiniti tagged this feature the “Eco Pedal”, and performance was directly affected when it was in play.
The interior was also on the receiving end of a redesign and featured a “tiered” centre stack angled toward the driver, with all-new switchgear.
What set this breed of Infiniti apart was its “user focused technologies” – gizmos that pampered the driver and occupants, in other words. And this M sedan had plenty. For example, as well as providing a formidable 16-speaker aural experience, the Bose sound system also helped to reduce NVH (noise, vibration, and harshness). If the engine was revving at 5,000 rpm in one of the lower gears, the sound system sensed this and dampened the intruding noise accordingly.
One safety recall for this M sedan concerned a possible leak in the pressure sensor in the M56’s fuel delivery system. If present, it could lead to an engine fire, but is easily rectified by dealers. This glitch also applies to the 2011 Nissan Juke.
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has 13 technical bulletins out for the 2011 M sedan. These include issues with the intelligent key feature, sketchy power windows, “excessive engine braking” after releasing the accelerator, transmission glitches, and electrical problems.
Marketing researcher, J.D. Power isn’t keen on this year of the M sedan, giving it below-average grades for overall quality, performance and design, and just an “average” rating for predicted reliability.
Confusingly, Consumer Reports gives its “Good Bet” seal of approval, but all is not sweetness and light. The aforementioned Bose sound system is a steady source of headaches, and blemishes an otherwise above-average dependability performance. The electrical system is also a source of problems, according to Consumer Reports, and consequently, the 2011 M sedan rates an “average” used-car verdict.
From an original base price in the low $50,000 range, the M sedan has dropped by about a third, depending upon the model. A base RWD M37 is valued in the high-$20,000/low-$30,000 neighourhood, with AWD models fetching $2,000-$2,500 more than their rear-drive counterparts. For the M56, add another $8,000 to $10,000, and an additional $5,000 for AWD.
2011 Infiniti M sedan
Original Base Price: $52,400-$73,400; Black Book: $37,125-$51,750 Red Book: $28,400-$42,125
Engine: 3.7-litre V-6 and 5.6-litre V-8
Horsepower/Torque: 330 hp/270 ft-lb and 420 hp/417-ft-lb
Transmission: Seven-speed automatic with manual shift mode
Fuel Economy (litres/100 km): 11.4 city/7.6 hwy (M37 RWD). Regular/Premium gas
Alternatives: BMW 5-series, Audi A6, Lexus GS, Mercedes E-class, Cadillac STS, Acura RL
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