2011 Infiniti M

2011 Infiniti M

Episode 2932 , Episode 2945
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

Infiniti dealers have been begging for a new halo car ever since the ponderous Q-series was retired in 2006. While Infiniti had hoped the somewhat smaller M-series could play the part, it’s reviews as a showroom star have been lackluster at best. But now that may change. The M-series is again reborn, and it finally looks like it just might master the part. So let’s raise the curtain and see how it acts.

In Japan, it’s called the Nissan Fuga.  Here in the States, it’s called the 2011 Infiniti M. Regardless of its badge, this redesigned, premium four-door sedan retains the swoopy, long hood, high rear deck form for which the M-Series is well known, but now adds sleeker design language to project a more expressive, upscale, and substantial image.

Wheelbase is unchanged, but the M-Series is now slightly longer, wider, and lower than before. A new low slung grille is flanked by swept-back crystal-look headlight clusters. The profile is defined by deeply sculpted fenders and flowing wave-style doors.

But the M’s brawniness comes from its chunky C-pillar area, which almost gives the car a jacked-up muscle car vibe, complete with sporty dual exhaust. Exhaling through those pipes are a pair of stronger engines. The M37 sports the G’s 3.7-liter V6. Horsepower is 330 – an increase of 27 over last year's 3.5 V6 - and torque is 270 pound-feet – up eight.

The M56 uses a direct-injected 5.6-liter V8. About a quarter larger than the previous 4.5 V8, it rates 420 horsepower – a big jump of 95 – and 417 pound-feet of torque – up 81.

The lone transmission is a seven-speed automatic with Adaptive Shift Control, feeding either the rear wheels or all four on "x" models.

Remarkably, even with a big boost in power, fuel efficiency is up too. Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 18/26 for the M37, and 16/25 for the M56. A new feature, Eco Pedal, provides feedback to encourage efficient driving. Infiniti claims a five-to-ten percent economy gain.

But a bigger increase comes in performance: the M feels much stronger. We judge the M56 to be capable of 0-60 in under 5.5 seconds. That puts it in the league of the Mercedes-Benz E550.

Still, after testing both engines, we found the V6 to be more than adequate for most buyers. With the V8, there's more power, but the front-end also felt heavier and less responsive. The new Drive Mode Selector adjusts throttle response and shift points to one of four settings; Standard. Eco, Sport, and Snow.

The front double-wishbone, rear multi-link FM chassis remains, but with a new back end geometry. The Sport Package, only offered with rear drive, brings tighter tuning with upgraded springs and new double piston shocks. It also adds Four-Wheel Active Steer for greater nimbleness. Infiniti's Intelligent all-wheel drive system is geared more for routine all-weather driving, unlike Audi's more performance-spec quattro setup.

Still, optional Active Trace Control, which adjusts engine torque and braking at all four wheels, does help to smooth out turn-ins. Brakes are enhanced, too, but only with the Sport Package, which brings larger rotors with four-piston calipers front, and two-piston rears. So, we judge overall dynamics to be both more sporty, yet still luxurious. Neither soft and Lexus-like or taut and BMW-like. Rather, the M is smack dab in the middle.

The interior also benefits greatly from the M's new design language. It now looks like a top drawer sedan. From the twin-hump instrument shroud, to the stepped center console, the look and feel is both athletic and luxurious.

The leather front seats have standard 10-way power, with optional heating and cooling. Sport Package brings added bolstering and a sport steering wheel with available heat. New comfort features include Active Noise Control, and Forest Air, which manages airflow and humidity to mimic a fresh breeze.

Higher-end options includes Navigation with satellite traffic and weather, a back-up camera, a 9.3 gig hard drive Music Box, and a Bose stereo. The rear seat is roomy for two adults, three in a pinch. The seats do not fold, but there is a pass-thru which leads back to a spacious 14.1-cubic foot trunk. For advanced safety technologies, the M offers Distance Control Assist, Intelligent Brake Assist, and Blind Spot Intervention. A world first, it uses selective braking to correct lane drift.

Pricing starts modestly for its class. $47,115 for the rear drive M37, $49,265 for the M37x. The M56 has a base of $58,415, while the M56x begins at $60,915. A V6 hybrid M is due for 2012.

While it still takes up little less pavement than most flagship sedans, the 2011 Infiniti M-Series gives up nothing in style, accommodations, or performance to rivals. The curtain is up, and Infiniti's new star is more than ready for a command performance.

Specifications

  • Engine: M37 3.7-Liter V6m56 5.6-Liter V8
  • Horsepower: M37 330/m56 420
  • Torque: M37 270/m56 417 Lb Feet
  • 0-60 MPH: M56 5.5 Seconds
  • EPA: M56 16 MPG City/ 25 MPG Highway
2024 PHEV Roundup 1

2024 PHEV Roundup

You Don’t Have To Go Full EV To Live The EV Lifestyle

Episode 4338
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

You’ve heard us say many times that PHEVs– plug-in hybrid electrics– rather than BEVs– pure battery electrics– are a sound choice for many folks thinking about owning an electric vehicle. Well, buyers do seem to have gotten the message, as while recent sales of all-electric BEVs are down, PHEVs are suddenly skyrocketing. So, we thought we’d give you a close look at the range of PHEVs that are available today.

An EV when you want it, a fuel-efficient hybrid when you don’t; that’s the reason that PHEVs are so appealing, and why we feel they’re the perfect starter vehicle for this time of transition from internal combustion to all-electric. So, buckle up for an alphabetical rundown of all the mainstream PHEVs that are currently available.

BMW has many plug-in options, starting around $46,000 with the 2.0-liter I4-based 330e sedan and its 22 miles of EV range. There’s also a 750e sedan with more than 30 miles of EV range, and an xDrive50e X5 utility with closer to 40 miles of EV range, plus a high-performance XM with 738 horsepower. For partner Mini, a small 1.5-liter I4-based setup is available in the Cooper SE Countryman ALL4 utility with 18 miles of EV range, going for around $42,000.

Ford has been in the plug-in game for some time, and currently gets a great 37 miles of EV range out of their 2.5-liter I4-based setup which is available in both the Escape for about $36,000, and in its upscale Lincoln Corsair counterpart which goes for around $55,000.

Hyundai offers a pair of plug-in SUVs, the Santa Fe priced at around $43,000 and the Tucson which goes for about $40,000; both use a 1.6-liter I4 turbo engine. It shares with their corporate cousins over at Kia. The Sorento, which starts around $51,000, and the Sportage, beginning at $40,000, along with Kia’s Niro at $35,000. All get more than 30 miles of EV Range.

For the high-rollers, Land Rover has a six-cylinder P550e plug-in option for both the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport with 51 miles of range, starting around $119,000.

Mazda is very new to the plug-in game, with their inline-six based setup just recently becoming available in the new CX-70 and CX-90 SUVs, both with 26 miles of electric-only range, starting at $41,000.

Mercedes-Benz has offered quite a few PHEVs over the years, though currently their lineup only consists of the $70,000 GLE450e SUV with a 2.0-liter I4 and 48 miles of EV range; and a $128,000 3.0-liter I6 S580e sedan with 46 miles of range. Though a high-performance 671 horsepower AMG C 63 S E Performance will be blasting onto the scene soon.

We’re very familiar with this second-gen Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, having had both generations as part of our long-term fleet. The current Outlander PHEV goes for $41,000 and gets 38 miles of EV range from its 2.4-liter I4-based setup.

Stellantis has a wide array of PHEVs available across their many brands, starting with the 3.6-liter V6 Pentastar-packing Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid. It arrived way back in 2017 and currently delivers 32 miles of EV range for $40,000.

More recently, they’ve added the technology to the Jeep brand with 4Xe versions of the Jeep Wrangler for $52,000 and the Grand Cherokee at $61,000. And their most recent setup has just arrived in the compact crossover segment with 33 miles of battery in both the $45,000 Alfa Romeo Tonale and the $42,000 Dodge Hornet R/T.

All of this started with the Toyota Prius of course, which you can now get a Prime version of for $34,000 with a 2.0-liter I4 and 40 miles of range. The RAV4 Prime goes for $45,000 getting 42 miles. Plus, there’s a trio of Lexus PHEV’s rolling with bigger batteries on board, the NX450h+, the RX450h+, and the TX550h+, starting around $58,000.

Volkswagen PHEVs stick to their premium brands, starting with the $58,000 2.0-liter I4-based Audi Q5 55TFSI e quattro SUV with 22 miles of battery range.

Bentley adds electric-motor assistance to a 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 for both the $206,000 Bentayga SUV, which gets 18 miles of EV range, and the $217,000 Flying Spur sedan, which stretches it to 21 miles. That same setup is available at Porsche in E-hybrid versions of both the $93,000 Cayenne SUV and $110,000 Panamera sedan, getting up to 19 miles on battery power.

Finally, Volvo has had a plug-in version of their turbocharged 2.0-liter I4 since the T8 arrived with the XC90 back in 2016. Now with a Recharge label, an updated version is available in just about every vehicle in their lineup; the S60 and S90 sedans, XC60 and XC90 SUVS, and yes even in the V60 wagon, starting around $53,000 with up to 40 EV miles.

So, there you have it, the Bs-to-Vs of PHEVs. They really are an easy way to live the EV lifestyle today, without going all the way.