First (Virtual) Look: 2011 Infiniti M
In a classic variation on the "now-you-see-it, now-you-don't" exercise, Infiniti employed a unique "video mapping" process to present a virtual preview of its upcoming 2011 M sedan on the eve of the 59th annual Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. The first-ever use of this advanced technology for an automotive intro literally involved projecting a series of computer-generated renderings of the new M onto a 3-D foam matrix shaped to mimic its shape and proportions. Infiniti plans an in-the-metal presentation of the new M later this year prior to its going on sale worldwide in early 2010.
High-tech presentation tricks aside, the 2011 Infiniti M promises to be far more of an impact player than the current model as it attempts to lure buyers pondering alternatives from the BMW 5 Series and Lexus GS Series portfolios. Visually, it borrows cues from the luxury-division's Essence concept car first seen at this year's Geneva Auto Salon. Bolder, more aggressive contours dominate, from a dramatically low-slung front fascia treatment and deeply-flared fenders to a sensually flowing swage line that runs down its side and resolves in a sporty flourish of its own at the rear quarter. That athletic character will be present underhood as well. In base form, the M37 will share a variation of the 3.7-liter V6 used in the G37 and likely to be rated on the far side of 350 horsepower. The top line M56 will carry a version of Infiniti's 5.6-liter V8 that is "expected" to turn out in excess of 400 ponies. Despite the additional firepower, both engines have been tweaked to deliver even better fuel economy. Inside, these new M Series sedans are set to bring a variety of premium materials and innovative technologies, particularly in their climate control and audio systems as well as a new and even more sophisticated blind-spot intervention system.
Icing on the cake? The firm has confirmed that sometime after its introduction, European buyers will be able to get a new M with a high-performance turbodiesel V6 engine and the U.S. market will see on arrive with an "alternative-fuel" capability. While Infiniti operatives refused to qualify that comment, there's reason to believe the variation we get might end up being a production take on the gas/electric hybrid system used in the Essence that pairs a 3.7-liter V6 with an electric motor powered by a Lithium-ion battery pack.