Europe Has New Gamemaker With Infiti M45


Nissan’s Infiniti luxury division is on a roll lately. First came the G35 sedan, which took home Motor Trend’s Car of the Year award along with its sleek coupe companion. Both vehicles are generating, arguably, the strongest run at the industry benchmark in their segment (the BMW 3-Series) of any competitor to date. The G35 has even taken home top honors in certain magazine comparison tests that pitted it against the vaulted Bimmer. Sales of the G35 continue to be strong despite the fact that it really is in the middle of its product cycle, with July being the sedan’s best sales month ever.

Next, up in the product parade was the FX crossover vehicle. It had been a pure styling statement that grabbed the attention of countless consumers who didn’t also have a clue that Infiniti existed. It also had the performance to backup the looks, and wound up stealing some of Porsche’s thunder by offering similar performance as lower-end Cayennes for thousands less. July was the ideal sales month ever to the FX, also.

The full-size SUV called QX56 launched this current year to mixed reactions from enthusiasts along with the media, somewhat disappointed by way of a design that is very similar inside and out on the Nissan Armada. The QX56 has seen to have respectable handling dynamics for a behemoth SUV as well as the 5.6L V8 engine from the Nissan Titan provides plenty of grunt. Infiniti dealers moved over 1,200 QX56s off of dealer lots in July, proving that individuals are willing to pay over fifty grand to have an Infiniti.

Two vehicles that have not seen similar success are the large M45 and Q45 sedans. The Q45 looks the part as Infiniti’s flagship vehicle, although the current M45 looks strikingly out of place featuring its slab sides and cramped interior. Considering that the current iteration of the M45 has been for sale for in Japan for several years, often serving duty in taxi fleets, it’s not hard to see why the M45 has been a flop. The vehicle is simply not that competitive. Some analysts believe element of blame for slow sales is due to consumers’ reluctance to pay for $50,000 on an Infiniti sedan, as the Q45 and M45 combined to sell just 492 units in July.

Infiniti M45 Concept. Courtesy: Nissan North America.

Infiniti looks to improve all of that using the next generation of the M, and the M45 Concept provides a very good illustration of what to expect. The thought is to make your M a true challenger for the BMW 5-series and Mercedes E-Class. That means offering more than just the 4.5L V8 engine offered in the current M45. At the “affordable” end could be the new M35, powered by Nissan’s venerable 3.5L VQ V6 engine, with at least 270hp. The 4.5L V8 standard in the current M45, Q45, and FX45 will return for that second-generation M45 with at the very least 340hp.

The appearance of the concept that you just see here will remain largely unchanged for that production version. Expect changes to the headlight projectors as the current ones just seem a little too “cool concept” looking to make it to production if something. Other than that, it’s doubtful any changes on the interior or exterior will be very noticeable. That’s not a bad thing, since the M45 concept has to be one of the sleekest and most well thought out designs from Nissan in years.

Underpinning the new M will be the “next generation” of Nissan’s respected FM platform. FM stands for the “front-midship” placement in the engine, which places many of the engine behind the front axle and enables an almost 50/50 weight distribution in other FM-based models. The first generation of the FM platform currently includes the Nissan 350Z, Infiniti G35 sedan and coupe, as well as the FX crossover. Infiniti claims the new generation of the FM will have 60% from the components either completely new or substantially improved within the old version. From early media reports, the improvements are very promising. AutoWeek tested a rough mule in the platform and came away hopeful for your production version. They noted that, in comparison to a G35, the M45 had less flex in the chassis and better steering. We’ll have to wait for production versions to choose, but the outlook is a good one. Something that won’t change is always that the platform will feature an independent double-wishbone suspension setup in front as well as an independent multi-link design out back. Thinking about the FX includes 20-inch wheels, we expect the concept’s 19-inch wheels will stay – at least as an option.

Talking about options, the M will come with all of the latest technology, as a competitive luxury car must in the current market. According to Infiniti the system’s “electronic control unit calculates the desired vehicle dynamics from some sensors, including vehicle speed and steering angle, and directs the machine actuator to modify rear geometry by moving both rear suspension lower links.” Overall, ARC is intended to create the M45 more nimble from the corners and much more stable during emergency lane changes around the freeway, probably the most important features is one Infiniti calls “Active Rear Control.”. It seems to be absent on the M45 as of this reporting, even though nissan’s advanced ATESSA E-TS all wheel drive system will also be offered on the M35. The system can distribute torque from a range of : 100 front to rear all the way around 50: 50 front to rear.

Infiniti M45 Concept. Courtesy: Nissan North America.

The inner of the concept looks to get one of the best quality efforts so far from Infiniti, which hasn’t exactly been known for top-notch interior treatments of late. The design and style shown is just a concept, but Infiniti’s commercial website is showing various colors for this design, leading one to believe that things won’t change all that much come the production version. It appears to be the current trend in automotive interior design is towards more eye-catching consumption of instrument lighting and the M45 concept’s “Solar Eclipse” gauges certainly complete the task, perhaps better than any of the company’s previous efforts. Like the new Cadillac STS, the M45 will come with a surround sound stereo system with 5.1 channel decoding, branded with the BOSE logo. The 14-speaker system includes two speakers in each front seat and the ability to have fun playing the relatively new DVD-audio format. XM and/or Sirius satellite radio would be a likely option, as previous Infinitis offer both.

Other interior features include climate-controlled seats (cooling and heating), power reclining rear seats, an intelligent key system that lets you lock/unlock the doors and commence the car (by using an illuminated start button) without ever having to take the keyfob out of your pocket, a new version of Infiniti’s Navigation System with a redesigned interface (see the large knob on the dash) and voice-recognition, Bluetooth wireless capability, “RearView” camera from the trunklid, laser-guided intelligent cruise control, and Infiniti’s new Lane Departure Warning system. Whether it predicts the vehicle will wander from its current lane, LDW is able to recognize lane markings and sound a stern warning to the driver. The system is disengaged once the turn signals are used, encouraging M45 drivers to notify others around them in their intentions rather than face a shrieking warning every time they change lanes without signaling. A kill switch will also allow owners to shut the system down completely.

Besides, lDW, other safety features include Infiniti’s Advanced Air Bag System, brake-operated pre-crash front seat belts, a slide-away brake pedal, and Vehicle Dynamic Control, among other details who have yet to become finalized.

Infiniti M45 Concept. Courtesy: Nissan North America.

It’s that this only confirmed transmission is really a 5-speed automatic if there is one weak reason for the M45 on paper. As the 3.5L V6 does come with a 6-speed manual, the four.5L V8 has never come with a manual. One can definitely expect the automotive press to throw a fit if no manual transmission is offered in any way. It must even be noted that a majority of of Infiniti’s competitors are switching to 6-speed autos, even 7-speeds, or F1-inspired clutchless manumatics (BMW’s SMG transmission is certainly one example), leaving Infiniti seemingly stuck before with a measly old 5-speed. Note to Nissan: Either stay informed about competition. Alternatively, be prepared to be steamrolled.

If not better, other than that, it would appear that the new M will keep up with the competition. It’s got the appearance, it’s got the power, and it’ll likely cost thousands less than a BMW 5-series or Mercedes E-class. The question is, will people pay upwards of $50,000 for an Infiniti sedan?

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