Infiniti M45x 2008 Review

A World-Class, All-Wheel-Drive Luxury Sedan

The 2008 Infiniti M45x is a luxurious car to ride in and pilot. The M45x is 15 inches shorter than Cadillac's longest passenger car the DTS, yet the wheelbase is only an inch and a half shorter. A wheelbase over 114 inches makes for an awesomely comfortable ride like the M45x.

Infiniti is the luxury division of Nissan motor cars, and the controlling shares are held by the French automaker Renault. French automakers are known for their unique suspension designs and soft riding cars. The M45x is not a soft or mushy riding car yet the ride quality is luxurious by today's standards. To better understand the Infiniti division, think of it as the BMW of Asia. Like BMW, Infiniti has built luxury cars with a strong performance tilt, and often sports cars with a luxury tilt.

V8 Powered Luxury

Besides the Cadillac length wheelbase there is tremendous V8 power driving all four wheels. The 325 hp light alloy V8 is quick and quiet to serve you with plenty of low speed torque for urban driving. For the M45x think of all-wheel drive as a luxury that allows you more control to do what you want despite the weather. The unit body is very stiff, which contributes to the ride quality and outstanding safety. This car offers outstanding active and passive safety.

Most physicians have at least three cars in their family garage—many of us have more. The M45x is a reward for the professional who's likely to spend a disproportionate amount of time on the road. The M45x is designed to handle like a traditional front-engine, rear-wheel drive luxury car.

Usually the front wheels do little pulling, yet as the back wheels give way on the pavement, the front wheels are fed more power to pull the car ahead. The front wheels can handle up to 50% of the engines torque quickly automatically. Under light load the all-wheel drive system is quite transparent. Accelerate on loose or slippery pavement, and you'll feel the front wheels come in immediately.

Details by Design

The profile of the M45x seems almost common like the profile of the 7-Series BMW or a Chevrolet Malibu. Yet it's the details and thoughtfulness that make the M special from the protruding front bumper past the shiny horizontal grille the skin has a marvelous liquid flow to the back past the wraparound taillights and the unique LED circular configuration which is now the signature of Infiniti division.

An M45 rear-wheel drive model can be made into a very sporty car with all-wheel steering. The x model is about safety, security and luxury, no four-wheels steering, no sport tuned suspension, no high performance no 19-inch tires, no sport bolstered front seats, no sports speed steering wheel, no aluminum trim or accelerator pedal accents.

Yes, African rosewood trim, yes, to four windows with one touch up and down the operation, yes to retain power for 45 seconds after you remove the key, yes to cooling ventilated seats, yes to easy exit and entry assistance, yes to 10-way sumptuous power seats, and yes to a set of RCA input jacks that allow you to play any music source you want.

The real luxury give away is in the back seats; the rear doors open wider than usual, and a high roof makes ingress and egress easier. Soon you'll notice plenty of leg and foot room and a control for the optional electrically heated back seats. To top it off the back seats have an easy to control electric reclining feature. Fully optioned, the back seat is top drawer.

When you take the driver's seat you'll immediately notice the softness of the seats and the thickness of the steering wheel. There are thumb switches facing the driver on the left and the right of the steering wheel hub. The interior is mostly soft curves and earth tones. The center console and instrument panel make great use of the real rosewood trim.

All driver and driving controls are outstanding and the feelings with resulting actuation are consistent and symmetrical. The design is such that the driver can sense the disposition of the car and enjoy manipulating it through tight areas quickly. The steering, power train and brakes are very satisfying.

Instruments, Controls and Techie Jazz

The instrument panel consists of attractive traditional gauges in front of the driver. Center mounted is a flat panel 8-inch color screen to control the rest of the car. To give real meaning to this beautiful flat screen and all the controls beneath it you really need to buy the optional navigation system. Navi ought to be standard equipment with this design.

All the controls on the center console and above it on the instrument panel are special in that they invite the front passenger to be a great copilot. Many cars by design discourage good copilot behavior. This is a great car to go on a caper with four good friends.

Mostly we have written about the standard equipment on x trim level. The x allows you to keep it simple more like a driver's car of a decade ago or you can jazz up the whole cabin with a series of technology packages. The first technology package includes a hard drive and a CompactFlash card slot for playing MP3 files. This actually replaces a six disc CD changer. You also get an interface and plug-in for an iPod brand MP3 player, touch screen navigation with actual traffic information as its happening, voice recognition and a terrific rearview monitor that actually helps you position and park your car.

What more could you want? How about the advanced technology package? Now you're adding 14 speakers and 5.1 channel decoding for impressively rich surround sound. This system is something special. You see there is a speaker directly beneath your ears facing upward from the top of the seat. You will enjoy this sound from these open headphones, as they combine with the front speakers to create a sensual symphony of sound.

Lane Safety Intelligence

One more excellent feature is lane departure prevention. This is a new invention on the market that actually uses cameras to see the stripes on the highway above 45 miles an hour and reminds you to stay in lane if you're drifting. When you have this feature on it will actually apply the brakes to one side of the car to help pull you back in lane without surprise. Of course you're not surprised, although you were not paying attention, because you instantly remembered that you turned the Lane Departure system on.

Will Lane Departure save lives? Will it become a popular option on luxury cars? Actually, it's most lkely Lane Departure and Intelligent Cruise control may be part of the intelligent highway of the future. You've heard of the system—it's where you get in your car, put in an address of where you want to go then sit back and do anything you want, like play cards or read the newspaper or put on your makeup, while the car drives you to your pre-designated parking spot at work. Well, we’re there not yet.

Surprisingly, in a few months there will be cars for sale, where all you have to do is steer even around town in stop and go traffic, because the intelligent Cruise control will set your distance accelerate you and even brake for you at low speeds to a stop and resume.

Good Value for the Goods; M Choices

For approximately $52,000 Infiniti’s M45x is a very good deal. Particularly when comparing Audi’s A6 V8 Quattro. If you enjoy gadgets or want more advanced safety then you really should order the technology and advanced technology packages for about $6,000 more or go all the way and order the premium package for about $9,500, which gives you the technology packages and more. It enhances the rear seat with a DVD entertainment system, rear audio controls, power reclining heated rear seats, rear climate control and a power rear sunshade.

V8 powered luxury passenger cars with all-wheel drive are a rarity and this model is brand new in the United States this year. So if you like the looks and you like the feel yet you want something more aggressive and you don't need or desire all-wheel drive than buy the rear-wheel drive M45 and order the sport package. Do you like all-wheel drive, but want to save money, well then you might consider the M35x. For the most economy, looks and good performance. Maybe it's the rear-wheel drive M35, starting below $43,000 for the asking.

If you're considering a family car in this size or price range, domestic or foreign even if you plan to buy German, then you owe it to yourself to test drive at least two variations of Infiniti’s M.

Infiniti M45x AWD: Fast Facts

Length

194.1 in.

Width

71.1 in.

Wheelbase

114.2 in.

Weight

4,176 lbs

Passengers

5

Drive

AWD

Engine

4.5-liter, 32-valve V8

Hp @ rpm

325/6400

Ft-lb @ rpm

336/4000

Transmissions

5-spd auto/manual shift

City/Hwy

14/20 mpg

Built

Tochigi, Japan

Safety Score

63* (top 7%)

Real Price

$50,500

Web Site

www.infiniti.com

*www.informedforlife.org