Infiniti M56x delivers power and traction
By JOHN STEIN Automotive Editor October 15, 2012 1:21PM
2012 INFINITI M56x
ENGINE: 420-horsepower 5.6-liter V-8
TRANSMISSION: seven-speed automatic
DRIVETRAIN: all-wheel drive
FUEL ECONOMY: 16 city/23 highway
BASE PRICE: $61,600
AS TESTED: $66,925
The Infiniti M56 is a midsize luxury sedan that will make the performance crowd take notice. Offering rear-wheel drive as well as all-wheel drive, this sophisticated sedan can be had as a V-6, V-8 or a hybrid.
What other options do you need, right?
Sharing a variation of the same platform as the highly touted G sedan and the EX crossover, my M56x (the “x” is for all-wheel drive) tester came equipped with a big V-8 under the hood; a set of 18-inch alloy wheels ($650 option) on the outside gave it some immediate impact.
From my point of view, exterior looks are not the M56’s strong suit. There are really no distinguishing characteristics that immediately conjure up a specific feeling or thought or an attitude of excitement. With the competition in this class incredibly strong when it comes to looks, approaching the exterior from a different direction is a great strategy to try to get noticed. However, if you miss the mark, you will limit your appeal.
The M56’s exterior does offer some immediate benefits for passengers. The elevated roofline delivers outstanding headroom inside the cabin, while the ample glass surround provides clear sightlines and opens up the big cabin, making it feel even larger.
The interior surfaces were a real positive, adding some character in addition to the Japanese White Ash wood trim, which Infiniti says contains silver powder accents. My tester featured the deluxe touring package ($3,800), which upgraded the already fine leather seating surfaces while jacking up the audio system with a premium Bose 16-speaker treatment. Trust me, there’s little you could want that this system cannot provide.
I found the driver orientation to the road to be paramount in the M56 as 10-way power seat adjustments with lumbar support create a perfect position for any driver. On the dash, gauges are easy to read and placed intuitively across the horizon line of the instrument panel.
Comfort is easy to obtain in this refined environment, and fit and finish meet the expected excellent quality standards of all Infiniti models. Look for seat heater and ventilation controls to be easily found as well as the controls for the heated steering wheel, rear sun shade and trunk release.
A big 8-inch screen provides excellent viewing of navigation information because Infiniti tilted it just low enough to avoid sun glare during the day (a problem with many navigation screens). If nothing else, it is a few fractions of a second more time that my eyes are on the road and not squinting or shading the screen with my hand.
Rear-seat passengers will enjoy a comfortable space to relax. A fold-down armrest splits the rear seats and a small pass-through to the trunk is a convenient way to accommodate longer items. The trunk provides plenty of utility space and reflects the larger sedan spaces inside the cabin.
The console has a convenient knob for adjusting the drive mode between snow, eco and sport. When it comes to driving the M56x, the rear-wheel-drive platform delivers the balance and responsiveness that you might expect. While my experiences with the Infiniti G (same platform) were considerably more enthusiastic, this M is a lot bigger and heavier. However, the big V-8 it has the horses to get up and move on demand.
My M56x tester had the 420-horsepower 5.6-liter V-8 mated to a silky smooth seven-speed automatic transmission. I found acceleration to be substantial and shifts to be succinct. I was the least fond of the eco setting on the M56, but on average, the M delivers 16 city/23 highway — nothing to really brag about, but you get a big sedan that provides great power and performance.
The Infiniti M56x I tested had a base price of $61,600 that increased to $66,925 with the 18-inch wheel package and the deluxe touring package. This puts the M’s price in lofty territory with German and Japanese sedans of comparable refinement and equal performance. For me, I’d definitely have to consider opting up for an AWD.
You Might Like
- Beetle Convertible debuts with sportier style
- Lexus ES350 maintains luxury feel
- Jeep Wrangler Sport a dual-purpose SUV
- Click & Clack: How to replace a car’s interior
- Chrysler Group makes substantial investment in Ohio machining plant
- Chevrolet Equinox a distinctive and comfortable crossover
- New Ford Explorer Sport a high-performance SUV