2011 Infiniti M56
2011 Infiniti M56. Click image to enlarge

Related articles on Autos
Preview: 2011 Infiniti M
Auto Tech: Infiniti’s new technology
Buyer’s Guide: 2011 Infiniti M37/56
Buyer’s Guide: 2010 Infiniti M35/45
Buyer’s Guide: 2009 Infiniti M35/45
Buyer’s Guide: 2008 Infiniti M35/45
Infiniti shows new M35 Hybrid
Infiniti announces 2011 M pricing
2011 Infiniti M makes Canadian debut
Infiniti Essence debuts in Montreal
2011 Infiniti M makes world debut
Infiniti Essence to debut in Montreal
New Infiniti M debuts on Facebook
Infiniti will build M35 hybrid
New Infiniti M previews at Pebble Beach
Infiniti unveils Essence concept in Geneva

Manufacturer’s web site
Infiniti Canada

Join Autos’s Facebook group
Follow Autos on Twitter

Review and photos by Paul Williams

Find this vehicle in Autos’s Classified Ads

Photo Gallery:
2011 Infiniti M

San Diego, California – Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, Nissan’s luxury “Infiniti” brand enjoys great success in Canada with some of its models, but has lagged behind in others. The “G” line of cars (G35, G37), for example, are definitely winners with consumers, but the “M” line has had trouble gaining a foothold in the large luxury segment. This is not for lack of trying, as Infiniti has released some capable “M” vehicles over the years. It’s more a lack of focus and brand image.

Now there’s an all-new 2011 Infiniti M, and three key dimensions of the car — performance, technology and design – really stand out. In short, this is the best “M” yet; a car that has some real character to separate it from its predecessors and the competition.

There are two “M” models: the V6-powered M37 and the V8 M56, both available in rear-wheel drive (RWD) and all-wheel drive (AWD) “x” versions. Base price for the RWD M37 is $52,400, with AWD adding $2,500 for the M37x ($54,900). The RWD M56 starts at $66,200, rising to $68,700 for the M56x.

2011 Infiniti M56
2011 Infiniti M56
2011 Infiniti M56
2011 Infiniti M56. Click image to enlarge

Various options and packages (Premium, Touring, Sport, Technology) are available, and prices are very competitive with like-sized vehicles from Audi and BMW (A6, 5 Series), while lower than the outgoing 2010 Infiniti M models.

2011 Infiniti M performance – in both V6 and V8 specification – is a notable feature of the model. Available power from the 3.7-litre V6 and all-new direct injected 5.6-litre V8 is exceptional, with the V6 making 330 horsepower at 7,000 r.p.m. and 270 pound-feet of torque at 5,200 r.p.m., and the V8 generating 420 hp at 6,000 r.p.m. and 417 lb.-ft. torque at 4,400 r.p.m. Compared with the equivalent 2010 models, the V6 gains 27 hp and the V8 gains 95 hp. To put the output of the M56 in perspective, it has the same horsepower as the supercar Audi R8.

A new seven-speed transmission (with paddle shifters available) sends power to the wheels, and a driver-selectable four-mode control system (Infiniti Drive) manages throttle and transmission mapping responsiveness (normal, Eco, Snow, Sport). The “M” — V6 or V8 — accelerates, turns and stops with surprising authority and capability.

Fuel economy is commendable for a vehicle of this size and power, and improves upon estimates from the 2010 Infiniti M models as seen in the chart below, with last year’s numbers in parentheses. Notably, the $1,200 “gas guzzler” tax levied by the Province of Ontario on the 2010 M45x is slashed to $75 for the equivalent 2011 model, despite the prodigious increase in power.

2011 Infiniti M
City L/100 KM
12.0 (-1.3)
13.4 (-1.7)
Highway L/100 KM
8.3 (-0.8)
8.5 (-1.7)

Along with the lusty performance, technology – especially in the area of consumer amenities and safety systems – is a highlight of the 2011 Infiniti M.

2011 Infiniti M56
2011 Infiniti M56. Click image to enlarge

Examples include Active Noise Control, which creates a quieter interior, and available “Forest Air,” designed to reduce odours that may intrude into the cabin while generating a more natural “breeze-like” flow of air. Another innovation is the Eco Pedal, which gives driver feedback to encourage fuel efficient driving. For audiophiles, an available Bose Studio Surround sound system features 16 speakers and digital decoding.

A Technology Package includes Blind Spot Warning (detects vehicles in the “blind spot” area) and Blind Spot Intervention, which is a system that helps prevent a driver from changing lanes when a vehicle is approaching. (In practice, as the driver attempts to move into an occupied lane, the vehicle “pushes back” on the steering wheel in an attempt to prevent a collision).

Connect with Autos.ca