This Japanese brand is not a familiar one to locals. Infiniti vehicles have only been available in our market for a few months now and all of its cars take aim at luxury brands that are very popular with South Africans. Can it bring a convincing fight to the German brands that we love so much? Kelly Lodewyks drove the Infiniti M saloon in 37 Sport guise to see if it has what it takes.
Inside and outside
All of Infiniti’s models are, well … not that easy on the eye. And the M is no different; it seems to have curves in all the wrong places. The 20-inch wheels, darkened headlamp housings and a sportier front bumper on this S models lift the look somewhat, but it can’t help lift the appeal of the ducktail boot and rounded front end.
Inside, however, the M37 S really comes into its own. The flattened part of the facia works well and it’s easy to get comfortable with all the (some Nissan-sourced) switches and toggles. The silver finishes add to the luxury, while blue backlighting make the dials and buttons easier to read.
The M37 comes equipped with a 3,7 litre V6 petrol engine identical to the one in Nissan’s 370Z, so outputs are high with 235kW and 360Nm of torque. Maximum power is only available at the top of the rev range, with torque peaking at 5 200 r/min, so you’ll want that automatic transmission to shift quite aggressively to keep it in the sweet spot, as its massive weight is quite a liability during impromptu overtaking manoeuvres. It doesn’t. Rather, it shifts lethargically through the cogs as though it were all drenched in treacle, so any enthusiastic driving is met with lots of hesitation. There are paddle shifters behind the steering wheel should you feel the need to override the ‘box. This particular model gains the added benefit of four-wheel active steering, which helps with traction and handling. It makes the M37 S feel a bit more dynamic, but during my time with it, this car was most at home when it was doing some leisurely cruising.
Creature comforts and safety
This model gets added comfort, entertainment and safety specification. A few notable nice-to-haves include keyless entry, climate control, an eight-inch touchscreen interface and a 2GB hard disk drive Infiniti audio system linked to a single CD/DVD front-loader and a USB/auxiliary port, an electric glass sunroof and front and rear parking sensors coupled to a rear-view camera. Thanks to the electrically adjustable front seats, finding a comfortable driving position was easy, while satellite controls on the steering wheel meant that I could operate the audio system, cruise control and telephone calls (via Bluetooth) without taking my hands off the steering wheel. For peace of mind, safety features include six airbags, Isofix child-seat mounting points, ABD with EBD and an electronic stability programme.
When you stack this vehicle up against its German rivals such as the BMW 535i (R684 386) and the Audi A6 3,0T FSI Quattro S tronic (R683 000), on paper, the Infiniti looks like it’s on a losing streak already even if it offers more in terms of specification and is slightly ahead with its power outputs. It really doesn’t feel as well put together as the other two, while they are better drivers’ cars than this one from Nissan’s luxury arm. Besides, you could use the extra R50 000 to add one-or-two nice-to-haves that come as standard on the M37 S.
Model: M37 S
Price: R730 305
Engine: V6, 3 696 cm3
Power: 235 kW @ 7 000 r/min
Torque: 360 N.m @ 5 200 r/min
0-100 km/h: 6,2 seconds
Top speed: 250 km/h
Fuel consumption: 7,4 km/h