Inspiration has taken charge of the big Infiniti M, by way of the 2009 Essence concept. Borrowing cues from that styling-studio exercise, the 2011 M is the most graceful, voluptuous Infiniti yet. 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's a long, long way from the ungainly old Infiniti J30, for sure--though in person the M seems to sit a little tall on its tires. The whole car bears a much-improved, more aggressive look than the somewhat bland wrapper of the previous M--especially with the big five-spoke wheels on some models that would fit right on a Nissan 370Z roadster. It’s far more expressive than just about everything in its class, even the ravishing Jaguar XF.
The 2011 M's interior pushes Japanese tradition and technology-adds ons into an opulent marriage. There's wood trim, lots of leather hides, and on some versions, a special wood trim treated with silver dust. It's an elegant and neatly arranged cockpit, rich in feel and visual appeal. The center console sits up and out prominently, like a jewelry case, and wears buttons for audio and climate controls that sit under under a large LCD screen that displays their outputs. The M exudes refinement: it has more wood trim than a Jaguar XF, and that wave of organica is more compelling than the usual afterthought applications. The versions fitted with silver-dust-buffed wood trim, a sueded headliner and semi-aniline leather (meaning, it’s not buffed of all imperfections) are Infiniti’s best yet. It’s substantial and attractive, and a sensual score even in this pricey class.