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Infiniti's M sedans take aim at the finest sport sedans from Germany, including the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, BMW 5-Series, and Audi A6. And for the most part, they deliver gorgeous looks, excellent handling, and top-notch performance, along with cabin appointments that are plush and distinctive, breaking away from the class norm.
Between the two standard versions of the M (for 2012 there's a new M35h), the V-8-powered M56 offers the most compelling argument to hop off the Teutonic train this time. Powered by an awesome 5.6-liter V-8, making 420 horsepower, the M56 delivers neck-snapping responsiveness accompanied by one of the most hellacious exhaust notes in a luxury car. All the while, too, its seven-speed automatic transmission grabs the right gears--seamlessly when driven gently, with trigger-shift urgency (or manual control) when you need it. And just as with its V-6-powered, M37 brethren, all-wheel drive is offered in the M56 (called the M56x).
There's very little on the outside, or inside, to tell the M56 apart from the M37. Both models were completely redesigned last year, and it's the most graceful, voluptuous Infiniti yet. And the combination of organix, flowing lines on the outside, and punctuated, showy trims on the inside creates a look that's more expressive than just about everything in its class, even the ravishing Jaguar XF.
Just as with the M37, you can expect great handling, quick, responsive steering, and ride quality that's not quite supple but definitely not harsh or too noisy. It's all an elusive mix, and Infiniti's nailed it. Plus, with a big trunk and more back-seat space than is typical in mid-size luxury sedans, the Infiniti M is practical, too.
Features are generous on comfort and luxury items, with plenty of opportunities for safety-tech and premium upgrades. Noteworthy options include dynamic cruise control, a blind-spot warning system, lane departure warning, a ventilated front seats, and a nav system with integrated live traffic info and Zagat restaurant guides.
For more information about the 2012 M56 and M56x sport sedans, please see our full review pages covering the entire 2012 Infiniti M sedan model line.
- Strong, charismatic V-8
- Great handling
- Georgeous, functional dash
- Sensual, sharp-yet-organic styling
- Real back-seat room
- Pricey for gadget-lovers
- Still under-the-radar for status-seekers