2011 Infiniti M37X has power and handling but few surprises
The 2011 Infiniti M37X all-wheel-drive sport sedan combines good looks and a luxury feel with power, handling and grip.
The M37X features a 3.7-liter V6 with 330 horsepower. The M37 packs an extremely smooth 7-speed automatic transmission.
Power is plentiful. The sedan, which weighs 4,063 pounds, is nimble and stable. The AWD creates a solid feel on slippery wet roads, allowing the M37 to corner well at speed. Handling is firm and sporty with good steering wheel feedback, and there’s a Drive Mode selector on the console to allow you to select an ECO mode that enhances your gas mileage by changing the car’s shift points. It works fine, but you’ll give up most of those 330 horses in this mode, poking away from stoplights.Ride is on the firm side as this is a sport sedan, but the ride is well controlled, never punishing. There’s independent suspension at all the wheels and four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes to bring the M37 to a quick stop.
It compares well with its main competitors, cars such as the Audi A6 and Lexus G350 AWD, both also available with all-wheel-drive. The Infiniti is an inch longer than the Audi and four longer than the Lexus. It also rides on the longest wheelbase of the group at 114.2 inches. That no doubt helps the ride quality. Infiniti wins the power war too with its 330 to the Audi’s 300 and Lexus’ 303 horses.
But you expect good handling, ride and power in sport sedans, so there are no surprises here.
Infiniti though does a stellar job of carrying the luxury feel and look to the interior with design, materials and feel. It’s not often I note the interior design because most cars are well styled these days. This one is more than stylish, with gorgeous lines that flow from the dash through the door panels.
The Infiniti leather feels incredibly soft, with a suede-like roof liner to help muffle outdoor noises. The effect is a soothingly quiet interior.
The comfort carries over to the seats, which feature a well-contoured back for more aggressive driving. These are powered seats and included a power lumbar adjustment. My only complaint is the tight quarters between the door and seat side, making it a tight squeeze to get your hand in there for adjustments. The upside, there are two memory buttons for the driver’s seat, so once you find your spot you can save it.
Back seats are equally comfortable, but there’s a large transmission hump in the middle that makes the center seat less than desirable for more than a short trip. For four, the M37 is excellently proportioned with good head and legroom.
While one could argue that for the starting price of $48,400, a couple thousand less than both the Audi and Lexus, you’d expect a lot of standard electronic gadgets. A few, such as a rear vision camera and power tilt/telescope steering wheel, are standard here, plus Vehicle Dynamic Control, a stability control system. There also are a few nice small touches too, like lights on the side mirrors that light up at night for easier access.But as with the QX56 I just drove, the test car added a load of electronic extras. A $3,000 technology package includes a blind-spot warning system with warning lights inside, near where the side-view mirrors are located; intelligent cruise control; lane departure warning and prevention; and Distance Control Assist. DCA works in conjunction with the smart cruise control and ABS to look ahead of the car and decide if the driver is slowing quickly enough to avoid a stationary or slow object in front of the car. If not, it brakes the car automatically to give the driver time to react.
The lane departure warning is easier to take in the sedan, compared with the large QX, because you have more lane to play with, as the car isn’t nearly so wide. Still, if the beeping gets to be too much, you can turn it off and save it for longer trips when it might help keep you from dozing, its main intention.
Adaptive front lighting here also is a benefit at night as the lights turn enough to help you see better around corners.
Two other packages, deluxe touring and premium, add $3,800 and $3,350, respectively. The premium package ads a navigation system and 8-inch touch-screen display along with XM NavTraffic/NavWeather and voice recognition, streaming audio via Bluetooth, a 9.3 GB Music Box hard drive, climate controlled front seats and a heated steering wheel.
All the add-ons pushed the M37X price to $59,960.
The EPA rates this at 17 mpg city and 24 highway, a bit better than the Audi and a little below the Lexus. I managed 17.5 mpg in about 60% highway driving, a bit disappointing.