Infiniti began back in 1989 as a luxury brand for Nissan. In 1990, Infiniti introduced the Q45 sports sedan, a capable 278hp rear-wheel drive V8. The car was well-loved by the people who discovered it. But not many did, so Infiniti decided to un-tune the car and emphasize luxury. By this time, however, the sporty aspect of the Q was being discovered, but the current model was lacking. This sort of consumer/manufacturer confusion went on for years, showing even today with the most recent Q.
As a result, Infiniti lost money despite producing outstanding cars. In recent years, Infiniti found it was no competition for the likes of the DaimlerChrysler E class, and BMW 5 series. In 2002, Infiniti introduced the M45, a luxury sports sedan, with full emphasis on luxury and sports for the 2003 model year. The M45 received mixed reviews. Some dislike the basic shape of the car, while many applauded its stealthy, agile stance. The M45 is the only vehicle I consider a real contender against the aforementioned Germans, especially the BMW.
With 340 horses from a race-bred V8, there are no doubts that Infiniti means business. The engine and interior come from the current lackluster Q45, but it is nicely executed in the M45. The controls are mounted high and centered on the driver’s side. The materials used on the dash are rich in color and texture, especially the bird’s eye maple wood and perforated leather seats. There is a clear message of “use at high speeds,” as the passenger quarters are snug and comfy.
The loveliest feature on the M45, apart from the boisterous engine, is the voice-activated control. You can tell the M45 what temperature you desire and what track on which CD you want to listen to. Other extras include the heated and cooled seats, for either the front or the back, and the optional ICC (intelligent cruise control), which can “see” the cars ahead and adjust the vehicle speed to maintain a preset distance all by itself.
This vehicle screams excitement, and is quite a bargain, considering its low $40,000 price tag. The nearest competition, both domestic and foreign, is $10,000 more. It is a relief to know that Infiniti has finally succeeded in presenting the true successor to the original Q45, a personal heartthrob of mine. Now if only I could buy one … I’ll take one in Diamond Graphite with graphite leather, natural wood and the sports package with all the trimmings.
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