Infiniti M30d GT
Nissan tries to take on Jaguar and BMW with its new high-end saloon
Sunday 23 January 2011
The car you see here is an Infiniti M30d GT.
The question you might well ask as you look at it is "Why?". I am not sure I can answer, but I'll try. Infiniti is a new make to the UK. It has had a presence here for about a year, although this Nissan-created equivalent of Toyota's Lexus brand first appeared in the United States 22 years ago. This M saloon, a rival for a BMW 5-series or a Jaguar XF, starts at £35,150, and is the newest Infiniti creation. It promises a lot of technology and equipment with an unusual aesthetic. Infinitis have their own look, their own character, their own type of personal customer service and their own brand-oozing, stylish and culturally challenging customer magazine, designed to delight owners and make non-owners feel inadequate. And you thought it was just a car.
Fine, up to a point. One big snag. The M, like most Infinitis, looks odd. Beauty isn't entirely in the eye of the beholder; there are certain rules and the M has ignored them. This new M, its design inspired by natural forms such as waves, looks as if it is melting. Maybe there's a retro hint to its profile, but I don't think that was the intent. The cabin is more of a success. It, too, is full of "natural" curves, and the busy, complicated consoles are the polar opposite of a Jaguar XF's clean, stark lines. As for technology, the M offers an air-conditioning of remarkable subtlety. Called ForestAir, it aims to mimic random breezes and infuse them with a hint of fresh, leafy odours. There is also a noise-cancelling system which works through the stereo's loudspeakers by picking up noises from engine, road and elsewhere, and simultaneously playing them back "out of phase" through the speakers.
The whole gamut of automatic braking, unintended lane-departure steering correction, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot warning and so on is standard, while the sporting S version, unlike the GT, has four-wheel steering in which the rear wheels subtly help point the M in the required direction. This is matched to variable-ratio steering, making this M very agile for such a hefty car.
The S that I tried was fitted with a 3.7-litre, 320bhp V6; this comes with an annoying "Eco pedal" mode which pushes back at your right foot if it thinks you are pressing the accelerator pedal further than you should be. Most buyers are likely to opt instead for the 3.0-litre turbodiesel engine, with 238bhp, a huge 406lb/ft of torque and a 199g/km CO2 figure – good for a big, powerful car that claims to reach 62mph in 6.9 seconds. Both engines come with seven-speed automatic transmissions, and a petrol/electric hybrid version arrives this year.
Lacking the S model's feeling of precision and responsiveness, the diesel-engined GT was more the quiet, smooth-riding, unobtrusive luxury car: better for the passengers, a bit dull for the driver. The engine's effortless power delivery renders manual shift-paddles largely redundant; the engine is better left to its own devices, although all those gears mean there are too many automatic gear-changes, not always smooth.
In the end, though, it's hard to covet an Infiniti M. It's full of neat details and clever technology, but in an underwhelming, curiously dated-feeling car which, unlike a Jaguar, fails to blend comfort and excitement in one package. To launch a new high-end car brand is a bold and brave project, but in this case I can't quite see the point.
Life & Style blogs
McDonald’s launches clothing line using Big Mac prints
Facebook to test 747-sized drones that will beam broadband to the entire world
The distress of some Zayn Malik fans is real, and they need support, say experts
Chair-bound workers 'should move around every hour to reduce physical and mental health risks'
American Apparel gets another ad banned by advertising watchdog for sexualising children
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Germanwings plane crash live: Andreas Guenter Lubitz intentionally crashed flight 9525 into the Alps in act of mass murder and suicide – latest
- 1 Germanwings crash: Police make 'significant discovery' at home of co-pilot Andreas Lubitz
- 2 Germanwings captain Patrick Sondenheimer tried to break into locked cockpit door 'with an axe' as plane was descending
- 3 Zayn Malik already working on solo material, just days after quitting One Direction
- 4 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 5 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Does earning a 6 figu...
£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A challenging opportunity for a...