Infiniti's objective for the latest M series was to enhance its overall image, in terms of both styling and performance. Our early drives of engineering prototypes indicated that the longer, lower, wider exterior styling changes definitely impart a sleeker, more elegantly muscular appearance that looks especially good when viewed rolling down the road.
The wider stance, primarily for styling purposes, also contributes to improved road holding, with the front track 1.4 inches wider and the rear track 0.8 inch wider. The wheelbase is unchanged, but new rear-suspension geometry aims for a quieter ride and additional handling stability.
Under the hood, the 3.7-liter V6 of the M37 outpowers not only the previous V6 but also the 4.5-liter V8 of the previous M45 by five horses, for a total of 330 hp. The new 32-valve, 5.6-liter V8 in the M56 ups the ante to 420 hp (an additional 95 hp) and 400 lb-ft of torque (81 lb-ft more). A seven-speed automatic transmission with rev matching on downshifts in the manual sport mode backs up either engine.
The M56 prototype we drove was the Sport version, which also includes 20-inch wheels, four-wheel active steering, sport suspension and four-piston caliper, vented-disc brakes. Infiniti admitted that the M56 we had driven earlier was not quite ready for prime time, but engineering changes since then were evident as soon as we got on the throttle in a more recent test drive. Power-train engineers changed the shift-program software for more responsive part-throttle operation which holds lower gears longer and makes better use of the available torque. The result is that the standard setting of the four-mode M drive is more assertive off the line, while the sport mode responds even more aggressively when you mash the throttle or downshift. In short, despite a more discreet exhaust note than on previous models, you can feel the added punch of the larger, more powerful V8.
The M37 V6 prototype we drove had an authoritative growl and an enthusiastic throttle response.
In manual mode, the transmission provides crisp upshifts, but the downshifts, while fine for the majority of the intended audience, could be a bit more aggressive physically and aurally for the hard-core. Steering feel and response were very good. Under aggressive cornering in tight turns, the rear steering (with "4-Wheel Active Steer") lagged a bit. Otherwise, both ends of the M56 delivered solid handling and a firm but comfortable ride. Braking was very good but not outstanding. An eco mode (one of four throttle maps) saves fuel by pushing back on the accelerator, something that can be felt but is not annoying or distracting.
Overall, our drive revealed definite improvements over earlier M models, with performance and styling gains that should provide a stronger identity for Infiniti against the competition.
2011 Infiniti M37
ON SALE: Now
DRIVETRAIN: 3.7-liter, 330-hp, 270-lb-ft, V6; RWD, seven-speed automatic
FUEL ECONOMY (EPA): 21 mpg (est)
Read more: http://www.autoweek.com/article/20100127/CARREVIEWS/100129936#ixzz11gn0oYR0
Categories: New Inventory