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Infiniti M37 S Premium

Road Test

Infiniti M 37 S Premium driven

Driven October 2010

Additional Info

This was very nearly a disastrous test. Here's how it goes - the all-new M37 S, Infiniti's answer to the BMW 5-Series, turns up at the track. People are curious, excited even. A few drives and many Gallic shrugs later, people are wondering why they bothered. Days later, I won't have answered that question.

The list of niggles, while hardly serious, isn't short. But first up, let's be polite and mention that the looks are challenging. It stands out alright (although so did Dame Edna Everage).

Seconds after turning the key, though, it's clear the ride isn't going to be comfortable. Some compare the M to the AT-ATs in The Empire Strikes Back, because it doesn't so much flow down the road as walk down it, crunching between the bumps. To be fair to it, the ‘S' in the name stands for sport (surprise, surprise), so a firmer ride should be forgivable.

And it would be - if the car were quick. Plant your foot at motorway speeds, and the engine has to work harder than you'd imagine to get past the 65mph traffic, especially given that it's got 316bhp. A diesel is arriving late this year, and hopefully that will feel more punchy.

So far so bad. Things do, literally, take a turn for the better, though, when we find ourselves on a decent stretch of empty back road. Suddenly the M has a reason to exist and comes alive. The steering is now precise and the car reacts well underneath you - it's four-wheel steer and so clinical, slicing through corners well. There's no hideous weight transfer, and the M doesn't feel like the large car it actually is - there's plenty of grip. Even the gearbox suddenly starts to feel more pleasant, and the sport mode finally makes sense.

Another plus point is that it comes loaded with standard kit - leather, satnav, posh stereo - with the addition of a couple of other techie bits, such as the noise-cancelling software and the Forest Air Climate Control. This wafts woody scents into the cabin - which sounds like a gimmick, but there isn't a hint of chemically infused pot pourri.

The Eco Pedal, which is accessed through the gearbox mode dial, is also pretty clever. It feels like there's a tennis ball wedged under the throttle, and there's quite a bit of resistance if you accelerate too hard. It feels weird, but makes you think about the economy, which can only be a good thing, given the M returned only just over 20mpg during our test.

By the end of our trial, redemption isn't quite complete. Maybe the diesel version will nudge the mainstream, but Infinitis tend to be rare-groove cars, and this model is a particularly obscure piece of vinyl. Given our traffic clogged roads, it's a rare-groove car for rare-groove situations - an empty back road.

Piers Ward

On your drive for: £1,110pcm
Performance: 0-62mph in 6.2secs, 155mph max speed, 27.7mpg
Tech: 3696cc V6, RWD, 316bhp, 266lb ft, 1765kg, 235g/km

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