Road & Travel Magazine

Auto Advice & Tips
Auto Buyer's Guides
Car Care Maintenance
Climate Views & Videos
Auto Awards Archive
Insurance & Accidents
Legends & Leaders
New Car Reviews
Planet Driven
Road Humor
Road Trips
RV & Camping
Safety & Security
Teens & Tots Tips
Tire Buying Tips
Used Car Buying
Vehicle Model Guide

Travel Channel
Adventure Travel
Advice & Tips
Airline Rules
Bed & Breakfasts
Cruises & Tours
Destination Reviews
Earth Tones
Family Travel Tips
Health Trip
Hotels & Resorts
Luxury Travel
Pet Travel
RV & Camping
Safety & Security
Spa Reviews
Train Vacations
World Travel Directory
Bookmark and Share

2012 Infiniti M Road Test Review : Road & Travel Magazine's 2012 Luxury Car Buyer's Guide

2012 Infiniti M Road Test Review

by Martha Hindes

2012 Luxury Car Buyer's Guide - Top 10 Picks

Audi A6

Infiniti M

BMW 5 Series

Jaguar XF

Chrysler 300

Hyundai Equus

Having a gorgeous body and the ability to run has to be a double whammy. Not only can the 2012 Infiniti M cultivate the envy of others, but it can outdistance them when they're in pursuit. Score both for the Infiniti M performance luxury sedan, a deliciously evocative combination of supple-styled steel and eager driving capability.

This is the second year of the current "M" iteration, after a total "ground up" redesign for 2011, that focused attention on appearance as well as performance. The line up retains the M37 and M56 models in rear- or all-wheel-drive, but adds a gasoline-electric hybrid M35h version for the first time for 2012. All models wear the bold, uncompromising stance and toned appearance that flows from fore to aft in a sweep of motion with a slight spoiler nudging up at the rear. At standstill, it appears to be planted ready for a confrontation, with slight bulges in the hood line and over the headlamps daring a challenge. In motion, it simply leaves one in the dust.

This isn't your cruiser's luxury car. It is meant to move. For those who find a single driving style somewhat boring, there are quick changes in its character thanks to settings in the 7-speed automatic transmission, the only one available. Transitions go quickly from normal to sport to economy (for more earth friendly fuel savings) with accompanying adjustments in shift gate timing. In bad weather, it can morph to a snow mode. Rear drive alone, although not anchored at all four corners, is sure footed in most conditions.

While the M37 rides on a "refined" 3.7-liter V-6 engine  (Infiniti's term) that kicks out 330-horsepower, it gains an 18 city/ 26 highway miles per gallon rating. The M56 model earns 420-HP from its 5.6-liter V-8 that also features Direct Injection Gasoline technology. Mileage for the rear drive version is 16/25, with a loss of two highway miles with all-wheel-drive. The 360-net horsepower for the V-6 based "driver's" hybrid version earns a combined 29 miles per gallon.

Last year's Sport and Sport Touring Packages in the M56 are now combined into one Sport Package model for 2012. And Infiniti adds a Graphite interior color palette for Deluxe Touring versions.

Despite attention to the athletic side, Infiniti hasn't forgotten the technology equation. In addition to the expected navigation system, there's active noise control to keep engine sounds quietly at bay rather than allowing jarring dissonances to filter into the cabin. Infiniti notes that its blind spot intervention is the world's first system to selectively brake and prevent drift into an adjacent lane if the blind spot warning system detects a vehicle there. "Eco Pedal" provides feedback to coax more eco-friendly driving as the "Forest Air" system cleans and freshens interior air. And a system called Active Trace Control helps keep all tires planted during cornering.

Seating in the Infiniti M doesn't overlook comfort for those with luxury inclinations, with available heated and cooled front seats and 10-way power adjustable settings. A heated steering wheel is standard.

Base pricing ranges from $47,700 to $53,700. Among the priciest factory-installed options are the Premium Package for M37 ($3,450) that's standard on the M56, the V-8 M56 Sport Package ($5,650) and the Technology Package ($3,050) that's available on all models, including the hybrid. Those price tags not only buy a luxurious driving experience, but one that can kick backsides at the same time. Or as one automotive critic put it, a kind of "luxury hot rod."

Visit the Infiniti website, click here.