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2011 Infiniti M Preview

2011 Infiniti M Preview

By Jeff Youngs, December 31, 2010
2011 Infiniti MCritical Knowledge:
  • Infiniti's flagship sedan is all new for 2011
  • Four new models: M37, M37x, M56 and M56x
  • 330-hp, 3.7-liter V-6 engine
  • 420-hp, 5.6-liter V-8 engine
  • Rear- or all-wheel-drive powertrains
  • Eco Pedal driving mode designed to increase efficiency
  • Active Noise Control helps cancel undesirable engine harmonics for a quieter cabin
  • Blind Spot Intervention actively helps the driver steer the vehicle back into a safe lane
  • Available Sport package includes 4-wheel steering and 20-inch wheels
  • 7-speed automatic transmission
  • Arrives in the spring of 2010
Introduction
Infiniti first introduced the "M" in 1990-the same year it debuted as an automotive brand. The 6-cylinder M30, a re-badged Nissan Leopard (available in coupe or convertible body styles), was sold for just three years in the U.S. until it was pulled from the lineup. In 2003, Infiniti revived the M with the introduction of the 8-cylinder M45, itself a re-badged Nissan Gloria. In 2006, Infiniti launched the new "M", its first all-new, clean-sheet design built on Nissan's FM (Front Mid-ship) platform. The M was offered with a choice of 6- or 8-cylinder engines and a generous level of standard equipment. In 2008, Infiniti gave the model a facelift with revised exterior and interior styling, more available features, and the automaker added an all-wheel-drive option to the flagship M45.

The 2011 model year marks the debut of the all-new second-generation M-Series. Larger, more powerful, more luxuriously appointed, and more technically advanced than its predecessor, the new M-Series follows the same two-engine/two-driveline model pattern with a choice of 6-cylinder (M37) or 8-cylinder (M56) power. The standard powertrain is rear-wheel drive with an all-wheel-drive option available with both powerplants. The gasoline-powered 2011 M-Series models will be available in the spring of 2010. A hybrid model, still officially unannounced, is expected to follow in mid-2010.

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2011 Infiniti MDesign
The sleek new bodywork on the 2011 Infiniti M (with a low .27 coefficient of drag) isn't a radical departure from Infiniti's existing lineup; to most it looks like a freshened, yet slightly larger, G-Series. The hood is low and aggressive, with deeply sculpted fenders and doors adding character to the 4-door sedan. Inside the cabin, the automaker boasts the M-Series is ".a showcase for Infiniti's advanced, user-focused technologies, carrying on the tradition of the previous-generation M."

Model Lineup
Infiniti is offering the 2011 M in four different models: M37, M37x, M56 and M56x, the "x" denoting models equipped with Infiniti's Intelligent All-Wheel Drive. All models share the same platform, but each is offered with a unique powertrain. M37 models are fitted with a 3.7-liter V-6 while M56 models have a 5.6-liter V-8.

Standard equipment includes a leather-appointed cabin with heated 10-way power driver and front passenger seats, electroluminescent gauges, Intelligent keyless locking and ignition, and a 7.0-inch vehicle information display (for audio information, climate control, and vehicle settings). The standard audio package includes a 6-speaker, 160-watt system with a CD changer. Standard vehicle electronics include Voice Recognition, Bluetooth phone connectivity, Homelink universal transceiver, and a RearView Monitor (back-up camera).

Optional equipment includes the Infiniti Hard Drive Navigation system with 8.0-inch VGA color touch-screen display featuring Real-Time Traffic, XM NavWeather, Zagat restaurant guide, and streaming audio via Bluetooth. An available Bose premium audio package includes 5.1-channel decoding and 16 speakers throughout the cabin (including two speakers mounted in the shoulders of the front seats). The upgraded sound system also includes Audio Pilot Noise Compensation, designed to "cancel" undesirable engine harmonics for a quieter passenger cabin.

An available Sport package (rear-wheel-drive models only) adds bolstered front seats, sport steering wheel, sport suspension, 4-wheel Active Steer, larger front and rear brakes, and 20-inch alloy wheels with summer-oriented tires.

2011 Infiniti MHardware
The 2011 Infiniti M is available with one of two engines. The M37 and M37x feature a 3.7-liter, all-aluminum 24-valve V-6 rated at 330 horsepower and 270 lb.-ft. of torque. The M56 and M56x models are fitted with a 5.6-liter, all-aluminum 32-valve V-8 rated at 420 horsepower and 417 lb.-ft. of torque. Both engines utilize a 7-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission. The all-wheel-drive variants (M37x and M56x) feature Infiniti's Intelligent All-Wheel Drive. The system automatically splits engine torque to the wheels (0:100 up to 50:50) based on road and driving conditions without any driver intervention, Infiniti says. New for 2011 is Infiniti Drive, with driver-selectable transmission shift modes (Standard, Eco, Sport and Snow).

The front suspension of the new Infiniti M is of an independent design featuring double wishbones while the independent rear suspension is multi-link. A unique 4-Wheel Active Steer system, engineered to improve handling, is fitted to models with the Sport package. The standard wheels are 18-inch aluminum alloy equipped with all-season radial tires.

Technology
Infiniti is known for building cars and trucks laden with innovative technology, and the 2011 M-Series likely won't disappoint. Cabin ventilation features the "Forest Air" system, which provides a more natural breeze-like airflow in the cabin, Infiniti says. "Active Noise Control" uses sound technology to reduce undesirable noises in the cabin. "Blind Spot Intervention," a world first, says Infiniti, actively works with "Blind Spot Warning" to help the driver move the vehicle away from the vehicle in the driver's blind spot. "Active Trace Control" adjusts engine torque and braking to enhance cornering performance. Lastly, "Eco Pedal" generates driver feedback at the gas pedal to encourage economical driving behavior.

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