During back-to-back stints on the same roads with both cars, it quickly became apparent that the M37 is the weapon of choice for carving up back roads where the M56 felt more ponderous in the twisty sections. Open up the throttle, however, and the V8 delivers a steady power surge that is constant but not explosive. You know that 420 ponies are at work because the scenery goes by quicker but you don’t quite feel the rush.
There are also noticeable differences in the driving dynamics of the M cars equipped with the Sport package, which feel even sharper on corner entry with a more immediate response to steering inputs owing in part to their 20-inch alloys and high-performance tires. Sadly, the Sport package is offered only on the rear-wheel-drive M37 and M56, and not on the volume-leading all-wheel-drive models.
Amazingly enough, fuel consumption figures for all variants of the M cars have improved substantially partly because the automatic gearbox is now a seven-speed unit.
In keeping with the recent trend adopted by the Japanese luxury carmaker, the new M is chock full of electronic driving aids offered in various option packages and identified by three-letter acronyms. The list is long and most of these have been designed to reduce the stress of driving, according to Infiniti. Among them are the BSW (Blind Spot Warning) already featured on many cars, but there is also an industry-first BSI (Blind Spot Intervention) system that will actually prevent you from driving into a vehicle that is in your blind spot by alerting you from driving into a vehicle that is in your blind spot by alerting you with lights, then beeping before finally applying the brakes on the opposite side of the car to help return your vehicle to its lane.
Fortunately, the M features a single button on the steering wheel that deactivates all of these electronic nannies, and another below the dash on the left side to disable the various warning systems for those who can actually look where they are goin when driving .
Infiniti has had a lot of success in challenging the German brands in the lower spectrum of luxury cars with its G models, but the M competes in a higher league where the brand’s image is more of a factor in the buying decision.
It’s clear that the new M can hold its ground in driving dynamics and that it enjoys a significant price point advantage vis-a-vis its direct rivals from BMW and Mercedes-Benz, but making the transition from figuring on a buyer’s list to becoming that buyer’s car of choice is a different matter and the final decision is not always a rational one.
The M cars were to arrive in Canadian dealerships, with different price ranges.