Infiniti M37S Premium

It's a Nissan, but not as we know it...

Price: £46,634

Engine capacity: 3.7l (V6), seven-speed automatic

Power output (PS @ rpm): 320 @ 7,000

Top speed (mph): 155 (electronically limited)

0-62 mph (seconds): 6.2

Fuel economy (mpg): 27.7

CO2 emissions (g/km): 235

"What," asks my girlfriend, as she climbs into my loan M37 saloon, "is an Infiniti?" "Well," I say, "it's to Nissan what Lexus is to Toyota".

"So, it's a posh Nissan, then," she responds, as we slide out on to Suffolk's rural roads for a test drive.

Not quite, but this conversation will be a familiar one to Infiniti owners, as will the small of crowds of intrigued gasket-heads who'll gather around their unusual Japanese purchases.

Infiniti, a high-end division of Nissan, is relatively new to British luxury car buyers who've become accustomed to a rich diet of Mercedes, BMW and Audi models. And with an emerging dealership network and a fine blend of luxury and performance, it's vying for room alongside its Germanic rivals.

The M37 S – its top of the range sporty saloon – certainly doesn't disappoint. It boasts all the technological wizardry you'd expect, including blind-spot intervention, collision warning and a useful, but hard-to-love Eco Pedal, which increases weight on the throttle if it detects you are thrashing the engine unnecessarily. The Premium model also offers a feature called ForestAir – an air conditioning system designed to blow zephyrs of cool air infused with woodland odours over you as your drive. Put to the test on a friend's pungent feet – fresh from a hard day pounding tarmac as a warehouse manager – I can't say I really noticed it, but coupled with the car's noise cancelling system (it works by playing background noise "out of phase" through its speakers), it's clear Infiniti is trying to go the extra mile in the luxury stakes.

On the road its effortless power delivery (from a seven-speed automatic gear box) and gusty V6 engine give a solid combination of brutish raw power and cornering precision, while in town it retains just enough aplomb and ride quality for its executive market.

Some will ask: "What's the point of another luxury car brand?" They have a point, but I can't but help liking the Infiniti. It's brave, optimistic and with its brute power and awful fuel economy combined, reminds me of pre-recession times. Most buyers will opt for the sedate and economical M30d diesel option, but they'll be missing out. The scrappy M37S is a joy to drive. It might need more than that to beat the European big boys, but best of luck to it.

The Competition

If you'd rather opt for a established name, try BMW's 535i M Sport, pictured, which is a little cheaper, but has a rather dull exterior, in comparison. The Mercedes E 350 CGI is a solid rival and comes in almost £5,000 cheaper.

"What," asks my girlfriend, as she climbs into my loan M37 saloon, "is an Infiniti?" "Well," I say, "it's to Nissan what Lexus is to Toyota".

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