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With their subtle yet gorgeous looks, truly great handling and performance, and plush, lavish interiors, the 2013 Infiniti M sedans are among the closest rivals to the German luxury sport-sedan establishment. And with their own charming character both with respect to styling and behind the wheel, they do it without mimicry.
It's been a few years since the Infiniti M37 and M56 sport sedans were completely redesigned, yet they still stand out as some of the most graceful and voluptuous vehicles in their class. Swelling fenders flow from the car's grille, and flex from concave to convex surfaces along its shoulder, ending in an abbreviated, sloping trunk. It sits a little tall on its tires, but at the same time that makes its stance a little more butch. Inside, the level of sensuality is a counterpoint to stark German luxury-car interiors; there's more wood trim here than a Jaguar XJ, plus semi-aniline leather that's Infiniti's best yet, as well as silver-dust-buffed wood trim.
Performance for these rear- or all-wheel-drive sedans is the true focus, and in any of their three flavors Infiniti hasn't forgotten that. The M37 is the more common (and more affordable) of the three, powered by a 330-horsepower, 3.7-liter V-6. Meanwhile, the M56 has a 420-hp, 5.6-liter V-8 that delivers neck-snapping responsiveness and a brash exhaust note. Both engines pair up with a seven-speed automatic transmission with a manual-shift mode, rev-matching, and available paddle shifters. In either version, the transmission is happy to pound out quick, unobtrusive gear changes at your command when the automatic’s moved to manual mode. There's also the M35h, with its performance-oriented hybrid system making 350 combined horsepower yet managing EPA ratings of 27 mpg city, 32 highway.
Otherwise, Infiniti nailed the calibration of the suspension in the M37 and M56. Both have great handling, quick, responsive steering, and ride quality that's not quite supple but definitely not harsh or too noisy. The steering has the right weight and turn-in feel, and the rear-wheel-drive chassis is balanced and responsive for such a long car. On either of the non-hybrid models you can add all-wheel drive (M37x, M56x), and it doesn’t dull the edge too much. Our preferred setup is the Sport package, adding 20-inch wheels, four-wheel active steering, sport seats and steering wheel, and aluminum pedal trim to rear-drive versions; and for 2013, the Sport Package is now offered in AWD versions, and a few more convenience features are wrapped in.
The 2013 Infiniti M sedans, while they may drive with close to the verve of the compact G sport sedans, have one very significant difference: They have usable back-seat space. The M37 and M56 also offer a smooth, refined ride, as well as top-notch interior refinement and a roomy trunk. One of the things that the M37 and M56 do have in common with the smaller G sedans is that there's a bit more road noise than you might expect in a luxury car--even though Active Noise Control is included in all models. The V-6 in particular seems vibration-ridden. M35h hybrids, on the other hand, use a version of the somewhat smaller, smoother 3.5-liter V-6
Just as much as the BMW 5-Series or Mercedes-Benz E-Class, the M sedans are a rolling showcase of some of the world's most sophisticated, radar-driven safety technology. Dynamic cruise control is available, along with adaptive headlamps, a blind-spot warning system, and lane-departure warning. The M models have received both IIHS Top Safety Pick status and a five-star overall rating from the federal government.
The base M37 sedans come with a lavish array of standard luxury features, while the M56 and M56x add Bose audio, a heated steering wheel, and ventilated front seats. They also get standard Bluetooth streaming, voice-activated navigation, XM traffic and weather with Zagat restaurant guides; a music hard drive, and an in-dash DVD player—all of which are available on the M37. Other options will include ventilated seats; a heated steering wheel; real-time traffic; a power sunshade; and an awesome Bose surround-sound system.
- Crisp, engaging handling
- Gorgeous and functional interior
- Sharp yet sensual styling
- A usable back seat
- Available all wheel drive
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- Lacks the cachet for status-seekers
- M37's gravelly voice
- A little too much road harshness and noise
- Gets pricey, if you're gadget-happy