Oskaloosa.com

Z_CNHI News Service

December 3, 2013

Infinity M56 brings athleticism to luxury sedan market

The new Infiniti M class has a lot going for it in the hotly contested midsize luxury sedan market. The M56 is quick and powerful, sporty and roomy, filled with technological marvel and comfortable seating for five.

Its biggest challenge is to overcome class leading sedans from Mercedes-Benz and BMW, and it seems to be finding its niche.

Parent company Nissan hopes their M class of premium sedans, introduced in 2011, will offer an alternative to move buyers into their showrooms. Sales figures are encouraging.

For consumers looking for raw power the M56, with V8 engine and 420 horsepower, delivers an exceptional ride through a seven-speed automatic transmission. The sprint from 0 to 60 mph is reached in just 5.3 seconds.

Infiniti M series cars are available in three trim levels - the M37 with choice of two six-cylinder engines, M35h hybrid, and the V8 powered M56 - ranging in base price from $48,000 to $63,000. Option packages tend to drive the price north. The test car I drove for a week was priced just below $70,000.

When it comes to comparing interiors with the European imports, the Infiniti holds a solid lead with a mammoth center console filled with high tech gear and surrounded with Japanese Ash wood trim and silver powder accents. It is opulent.

Leather front upholstered seats are climate controlled, contoured for comfort and controlled with directional power and lumbar support. There is a heated steering wheel for cooler days, a Forest Air system for purification, suede headliner and a power rear sunscreen.

Aside from the amenities, the real story with the M56 is about its power. Behind the wheel, there is a distinctive athleticism built in with every turn, braking and steering maneuver.

Gearing is precise, and its only fault was a brief hesitation before locating the correct downshift gear at certain speeds. Most of the time during a week of testing the M56, the demand for power was met with precision response with a smooth ride.

Actual highway fuel economy was 10 percent better than the EPA estimate of 18 miles per gallon of premium fuel.

The tester also included a performance tire-and-wheel package including 20-inch aluminum alloys, all season tires and sport brakes. While the $1,600 option does a good job of mimicking the BMW firm suspension, not everyone will care for the rougher ride on the M56.

There is plenty to like about the M56. My favorites include an impressive dashboard layout that shows ingenuity with the driver in mind, comfortable seating, road manners and the sheer power that comes with 417 pound-feet of torque.

On the flip side, there are a few nits to pick. The M56 console includes wasted space for an ash tray and cigarette lighter when valuable space could be useful in other ways.  Some of the redundant steering wheel control buttons - including radio volume - are tiny and hard to locate and operate without looking away from the road.

Other power buttons, including the sunscreen toggle switch, are located to the left and under the steering wheel and are difficult to access. I'd suggest relocating them to the center console in place of the aforementioned ash tray.

Overall, the Infiniti M56 is a credible luxury sedan worthy of a test drive at your local dealer.

Len Ingrassia is an automotive columnist. Contact him at lenscarcorner@ptd.net

1
Text Only
Z_CNHI News Service
  • Affirmative action ruling challenges colleges seeking diversity

    The U.S. Supreme Court's support of Michigan's ban on race-based affirmative action in university admissions may spur colleges to find new ways to achieve diversity without using racial preferences.

    April 23, 2014

  • A 'wearable robot' helps her walk again

    Science is about facts, numbers, laws and formulas. To be really good at it, you need to spend a lot of time in school. But science is also about something more: dreaming big and helping people.

    April 23, 2014

  • Cuba is running out of condoms

    The newest item on Cuba's list of dwindling commodities is condoms, which are now reportedly in short supply. In response, the Cuban government has approved the sale of expired condoms.

    April 23, 2014

  • The waffle taco's biggest enemy isn't McDonald's. It's consumer habits.

    Gesturing to Taco Bell, Thompson said McDonald's had "not seen an impact relative to the most recent competitor that entered the [breakfast] space," and that new competition would only make McDonald's pursue breakfast more aggressively.

    April 23, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 4.42.47 PM.png VIDEO: Leopard attacks crowd in India

    A leopard caused panic in the city of Chandrapur when it sprung from the roof of a house and charged at rescue workers.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • The top 12 government programs ever

    Which federal programs and policies succeed in being cost-effective and targeting those who need them most? These two tests are obvious: After all, why would we spend taxpayers' money on a program that isn't worth what it costs or helps those who do not need help?

    April 22, 2014

  • In cuffs... 'Warlock' in West Virginia accused of sexual assault

    Police in West Virginia say a man claiming to be a “warlock” used promises of magical spells to lure children into committing sexual acts with him.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Basketball stars may linger on campus a while longer

    The NBA seems serious about raising its minimum age, which could signal the end of the one-and-done era in college basketball.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cats outsmart the researchers

    I knew a lot had been written about dogs, and I assumed there must be at least a handful of studies on cats. But after weeks of scouring the scientific world for someone - anyone - who studied how cats think, all I was left with was this statement, laughed over the phone to me by one of the world's top animal cognition experts, a Hungarian scientist named Ádám Miklósi.

    April 22, 2014

  • McCain 1 House Republicans are more active on Twitter than Democrats

    Your representative in the House is almost certainly on Twitter. Your senator definitely is. But how are they using the social network? Are Democrats more active than Republicans, or vice versa? Who has the most followers on the Hill?

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

Obituaries
Oskaloosa Shopper
Facebook
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Photo reprints