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2010 Infiniti M45 Sport Sedan Review & Test Drive

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Filed under Automotive, Featured, Infiniti, Test Drives

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The Infiniti M45 Sport is Infiniti’s ‘flagship’ model, highlighting the best from the luxury division of Nissan-quality, high-performance engineering, luxury accoutrements, and advanced electronics.  Now is its fifth year of its second-generation design, the Infiniti M45 S sedan offers all the expected, plus innovative technology, and, most importantly, a powerful, athletic presence designed to excite the senses.

The Infiniti M is a mid-size premium sedan with an emphasis on performance, user-focused technology and a selection of engine, driveline and equipment choices all designed to meet the customers’ needs, budgets and desires.  The Infiniti M offers a spacious cabin wrapped in a sporty and luxurious exterior design along with an exhilarating driving experience.

The 2010 Infiniti M is offered in M35 and M45 models, each available in rear-wheel drive or with Infiniti’s advanced Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system.  The Infiniti M45 and M45x AWD feature a 325hp/336lb.ft. of torque, 4.5 liter DOHC VVT V8, while the M35 and M35x AWD come equipped with a 303hp/262lb.ft. of torque, 3.5 liter DOHC VVT V6.  A special Sport Package (rear-wheel drive only) adds a higher level of sporty performance and style with an advanced Rear Active Steer System, a sport-tuned suspension, 19X9in. wheels, and other unique items I’ll get into later in this review.

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The 2010 M remains a showcase of Infiniti’s advanced technology, including Intelligent Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Lane Departure Prevention (LDP) systems, an advanced Infiniti Hard Drive Navigation System with touch screen, 9.3GB Music Box hard drive for digital music storage and playback, and available XM NavTraffic.

The overall exterior design is unique and features both performance cues and elegance.

The grille features wide arched horizontal chrome slats to let lots of air into the engine bay and a prominent Infiniti logo near the top.  Down below on the lower bumper is another intake to further enhance engine cooling.  The low portion is curved down provide downforce for the front end and increasing front end stability.  The uniquely formed headlamp cluster features HID adaptive lighting.  Powerful, round fog lamps at the ends of the lower bumper have a mesh opening to direct airflow towards the front brakes keeping them cool to enhance braking force.  Large 19X9in. aluminum alloy wheels wrapped with low profile Bridgestone Potenza performance tires nicely stuff the fender wells.  From the side the M45S profile features a low, aggressive hood line that flows into the anchored shoulders and fluid roofline.  The deeper side sills and stable, wide track posture creates a dynamic visual appeal to any enthusiast and lowers the center of gravity for even better stability.

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Each door features a strip of chrome running the length of each door and a chrome strip surrounding the greenhouse glass to adding to the exterior elegance.

The M45S also comes with unique front and rear bumpers and highlighted in the rear with two dual exhaust tips and a center diffuser to help better manage the underside airflow for enhanced stability.  The M45S’s long wheelbase and short overhangs provide a roomy interior and sporty exterior dimensions.  Wide front and rear tracks not only improve handling but also enhance interior and trunk volume.  The stiff and torsional, corrosion resistant and high strength steel unibody frame features aluminum alloy hood, deck lid and door structures to decrease total weight.

Inside, the intuitive design engages all of your senses in invigorating ways, combining a driver-oriented cockpit with a graceful, Infiniti level of luxury and design detail.  You are surrounded with the finest leathers, aluminum and chrome trim pieces, chrome rings surrounding the door pulls and steering wheel spokes, aluminum plates on the dashboard and doors for the Sport model and dark African Rosewood for the regular M45 models.  Visibility all around is excellent and the ‘Fine Vision’ electroluminescent gauges feature ‘gear-like’ rings around the 160mph speedometer and 8,000rpm tachometer for a mechanical look.  Other interior highlights include the easy to use and understand unique center stack that flows into the center console with an aluminum shift gate housing a stubby, soft leather stick that feels great when operating.

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Also feeling perfect in your hands is the power tilting/telescoping, leather-wrapped sporty steering wheel.  Dual cupholders follow into the center armrest with dual-adjustable armrests, dual level storage and a 12-volt power outlet.  The 12-power adjustable front bucket seats are comfortable and supportive.  The Sport model receives extra side bolstering to keep you firmly in place during high-speed cornering that comes naturally to the M45S.  Standard interior features also include cruise control with steering wheel switches, dual zone automatic climate control with micro filter and rear air vents and for the first time a front passenger seat control to direct air for your feet, your chest or both, just like the mode switch for the driver-side. A 7in. color LCD screen gives vehicle  information/driver information readouts, grab handles above each door, Infiniti analog clock, one-touch auto-up/down windows, front seat entry/exit assist with cancellation capability, remote trunk release, rain-sensing windshield wipers, power door locks, remote keyless entry, illuminated entry/exit, locking glovebox, dual illuminated vanity mirrors, front door map pockets, dual map lamps, outside temperature readout, self-dimming reaview mirror, heated/remote control side mirrors, green-tinted windshield, chrome-grip pull-out door handles, two driver memory for the front seat, outside mirrors, steering column and radio station presets, sunglass holder, rear armrest with dual cupholders and storage, fully carpeted trunk with cargo net, thick cut-pile carpeting with front/rear floor mats, rear window defroster/timer, power sliding sunroof, rear power sunshade, retained accessory power, Infiniti Intelligent Key with push button start/stop and Infiniti Voice Recognition System which controls audio, vehicle information system, climate control, optional navigation system and Bluetooth phone.

The Sport model also receives aluminum-trimmed foot pedals, unique steering wheel and shift knob stitching, and unique front seat designs with Infiniti stitched on each seatback.

Options inside include heated/reclining rear seats, rear entertainment DVD system, an incredible sounding, advanced Bose Studio Surround sound system with digital 5.1-channel decoding and 14-speakers including two personal speakers mounted in the shoulders of each front seat.  Also offered is an Infiniti Hard Drive Navigation system with touch-screen, 9.3GB Music Box Hard Drive for digital music storage and playback, and available XM NavTraffic with real-time traffic information.  Enhancing safety is an optional RearView TV monitor and Intelligent Cruise Control.

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I found the cabin to be sporty oriented, comfortable, easy to operate and luxurious, all at the same time, not an easy trick to accomplish and when driving at high triple-digit speeds or when challenging steep curving roads.  That is what makes the M45S so special to drive.

Under the skin of the smartly designed M45S are a high-performance V8 engine, world-class suspension and powerful brakes.  The powerful V8 engine features titanium valves, modular cylinder heads, microfinished crankshaft, lightweight pistons and super-silent single stage cam drive chain to help optimize performance.  In addition, the V8 is outfitted with a variable length air induction system and continuously variable valve timing control to enhance the engine’s power delivery and operation efficiency.  Just push your foot on the throttle and you’re quickly on your way.  Infiniti says that the M45S will accelerate to 60mph from a standstill in just about 5.3sec.

This high-output V8 engine is hooked up to an advanced 5-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode, downshift rev matching and a new ‘drive sport’ mode that provides better acceleration feel and a more sporting driving experience.  That driving experience is truly dynamic with exhilarating and exciting chills running up your back with the car’s quick acceleration and precise handling thanks to the unique, fully independent suspension system.  The racecar derived double-wishbone setup up front includes sport-tuned coil springs, gas-charged shocks and a stabilizer bar.  The multi-link setup in the rear includes sport-tuned coil springs, gas-charged shocks and stabilizer bar.

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Joined up to a electronically-controlled vehicle-speed-sensing variable-assist power rack & pinion steering system with a performance gear, you quickly, precisely and effortlessly steer deep into corners aided with the Infiniti Rear Active Steer system, which uses precise, electronic motor-driven controls to turn the rear wheels.  It is the only one available on a luxury sport sedan.  The system helps improve the M45S’s handling performance by adjusting the geometry of the rear suspension according to steering input and vehicle speed.  The system’s electronic control unit calculates the desired vehicle dynamics from a series of sensors, including vehicle speed and steering angle, and directs the system actuator to change the rear geometry by moving both rear suspension lower links.  The result is a nimble steering response combined with luxury sedan stability and ride quality.  You can feel not only the front end ‘bite’ when turning in, but also the rear gives the same feeling in steep curves at high speeds.  I could shake the rear loose in even hairpin curves or corkscrew curves during my road test.  It is really like driving on rails at high speed and when dicing through the curves.  Amazing technology and its only available in the M Sport models.  Standard vehicle dynamic control with traction control automatically adjusts brake pressure and engine torque during certain situations where the car is at its handling limit, helping you keep on your intended path.  You can shut both systems off the let the rear end shake a bit when dicing through curves at high speed.

The perfectly balanced M45S features Infiniti’s enhanced next-generation FM (front-midship) platform that positions the engine behind the front axle resulting in an optimized front-to-rear weight balance which factors in weight transfer during high-speed driving maneuvers.  The M45S’s 19X9in. large diameter wheels/tires are positioned out near the corners of the car, helping to further enhance handling.

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Quickly and safely slowing the car down from speed are large, four-wheel vented disc brakes.  Up front are 12.6in. vented discs clamped with dual-piston calipers, and 12…1in. vented rear discs clamped with single-piston calipers.  Enhancing braking for and control are standard ABS, Electronic Brake Force Distribution and Brake Assist.

The M45S is available with Infiniti’s Lane Departure Warning (LDW and Lane Departure Prevention (LDP) systems.  LDP utilizes the M45’s vehicle dynamic control system to apply slight brake pressure to the wheels opposite the side of the lane departure direction to help you return the car back toward the center of the travel lane.  The LDP system uses a small camera installed behind the windshield to detect lane markers in front, calculate its position relative to those lane markers and warn you of a potential unintended lane departure with a visual display and audible buzzer.  If you don’t return the vehicle in the direction of the center of the travel lane, the LDP system assists you with a gentle application of the brakes.

Standard safety features inside include Infiniti’s advanced airbag system with dual-stage front airbags with seatbelt and occupant classification sensors, front seat-mounted side impact airbags, roof-mounted curtain side impact airbags for front and rear-seat outboard occupant head protection, 3-point seat belts up front with load limiters/pretentioners, seat belt adjustable shoulder height anchors, front active head restraints, front/rear crumple zones, and steel beams in each door.

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The M45S is one of my favorite sporty luxury sedan’s to test drive.  It has everything that I need for full enjoyment, whether commuting to work, taking care of personal errands, an elegant night on the town, and when I want to quicken my pulse and experience true high-performance driving.  It is the perfect blend and it shouldn’t break the bank with a base price for the M45 starting at $52,150.00, and the fully loaded M45 with the Sport Package, Technology Package and Advanced Technology Package costing only $60,815.00 including destination charges.

COPYRIGHT: 2009 HARVEY SCHWARTZ

SPECIFICATIONS

Price: MSRP $52,150 As-Tested $60,815
Type:
Large Sedan
Where Built: Japan
EPA Class: Large Cars

Dimensions

Exterior
Length: 194.1 in.
Width: 71.1 in.
Height: 59.4 in.
Wheel Base: 114.2 in.
Ground Clearance: 5.1 in.
Curb Weight: 3990 lbs.
Gross Weight: 5024 lbs.
Interior
Front Head Room: 39.6 in.
Front Hip Room: 55.1 in.
Front Shoulder Room: 58.2 in.
Rear Head Room: 37.8 in.
Rear Shoulder Room: 56.9 in.
Rear Hip Room: 53.9 in.
Front Leg Room: 44.2 in.
Rear Leg Room: 37.3 in.
Luggage Capacity: 14.9 cu. ft.
Maximum Cargo Capacity: 15 cu. ft.
Maximum Seating: 5

Performance Data

Base Number of Cylinders: 8
Base Engine Size: 4.5 liters
Base Engine Type: V8
Horsepower: 325 hp
Max Horsepower: 6400 rpm
Torque: 336 ft-lbs.
Max Torque: 4000 rpm
Drive Type: RWD
Turning Circle: 36.7 ft.
0-60mph: 5.3 seconds

Fuel Data

Fuel Tank Capacity: 20 gal.
EPA Mileage Estimates: (City/Highway/Combined)
Automatic: 16 mpg / 21 mpg / 18 mpg
Range in Miles:
Automatic: 320 mi. / 420 mi. / 360 mi.

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