Although not formally represented at the L.A. Auto Show, Infiniti did host a remote reveal at an off-site location and provided a comprehensive rundown on what the all-new M37 and M56 will offer when they hit the showrooms this spring. In a word: plenty -- and all of it good. Borrowing elegant styling cues from the Infiniti Essence Concept, this new "halo" sedan is longer, lower, wider and -- with a 0.27 coefficient of drag -- impressively sleeker than the current M series. Rich leather and polished wood set off a massive list of premium standards that include a full complement of power assists, dual-zone climate control, power moonroof, a 160-watt AM/FM/CD/MP3/USB/iPod audio system, Bluetooth connectivity, 7.0-inch vehicle information display and Intelligent Key with Push Button Ignition. Intended to serve a true techno tour de force, Infiniti will offer both M models with an equally impressive roster of upgrades, from its next-gen hard drive navigation system with 9.3 GB MusicBox hard drive, state-of-the-art Bose Studio Surround audio, and Intelligent Cruise Control to Distance Control Assist, and both Lane Departure and Blind Spot Warning/Prevention functions. Did we forget to mention the new odor-abating/passenger-soothing Forest Air system?
Solid performance has always been an M Series strong suit, and for 2011, it gets even better. Residing beneath the hood of the both the rear-drive M37 and the all-wheel drive M37x is the same slick V6 found in the G37. Rated at 330 horsepower and 270 lb.-ft. of torque, it develops 33 more ponies and eight more units of torque than the current M35's 3.5-liter. Motivation for the M56/M56x comes from a 5.6-liter direct-injected V8 that makes 420 horses and 417 lb.-ft. of twist, both massive bumps compared to the 325/336 stats of the 4.5-liter in the M45. In a classic case of the rich getting even richer, both engines are now backed by a seven-speed automatic that helps each deliver superior overall performance and better fuel economy. The well-sorted suspension and anti-lock braking systems remain largely unchanged. But for the true enthusiast, Infiniti still offers the Sport Package which brings even tauter underpinnings, bigger binders and steps up from 18-inch to a 20-inch wheel/tire fitment.
In summing up the division's newest offering, Ben Poore, vice president, Infiniti Business Unit, noted "The 2011 Infiniti M embodies all of our best thinking, design and quality to date. It builds on the strengths of the previous generation, delivering a performance luxury experience crafted to a higher standard." From what we've seen, we suspect he's correct.