"A quirky choice in this segment, but a worthy one. The Infiniti M boasts high levels of luxury and comfort as well as an award-winning dealer network."
For those looking to break the norm and move away from class leaders such as the BMW 5-Series and Mercedes E-Class, the Infiniti M executive saloon makes an intriguing alternative. The range consists of M37 and M30d diesel and petrol models, which boast comprehensive equipment lists, as well as eye-catching looks, decent build quality and performance, and spacious interiors. But although the M is an excellent all-rounder, it can't keep pace with established rivals, particularly in the increasingly important field of running costs.
MPG, running costs & CO2 emissions
Although the introduction of a 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine to the range has improved fuel economy slightly, returns of less than 40mpg and CO2 emissions of 199g/km are still poor, and lag behind class leaders. The petrol's economy figure of 28mpg is truly abysmal. Not only are fuel costs high, so is annual road tax – the oil-burning M sits six tax bands above its BMW 5-Series equivalent. Servicing and parts are also pricey. At least the forthcoming hybrid should improve things in this category.
Interior & comfort
GT models prioritise comfort, and soak up imperfections in the road well. Standard double glazing means wind noise is kept to a minimum, and while the diesel unit is audible at idle, it's not intrusive. The 20-inch wheels found on top-spec S cars make for jittery progress. Finding a comfortable driving position is easy, with plenty of seat and steering wheel adjustment. Shallow rear windscreen restricts visibility slightly.
Practicality & boot space
There's acres of room in the M's cabin, both front and rear, for four adults. Legroom is ample, and despite a swooping roofline, it doesn't impact on headroom. However, the intrusive central transmission tunnel means that the middle seat is for small children only. Petrol models boast a useful 450-litre boot, while diesels get a more generous 500-litre load area. Yet both are outclassed by the BMW 5-Series and Mercedes E-Class.
Reliability & safety
Infiniti has an impressive reliability record and offers first-class customer service, so any problems should be dealt with smoothly and efficiently. The M feels well built and the quality of materials used is superb, although it can't quite match premium German rivals.
Engines, drive & performance
Only two engines are available: a 235bhp 3.0-litre diesel and a 315bhp 3.7-litre petrol. The former is smooth, refined and delivers plenty of mid-range punch. It can sprint from 0-62mph in a rapid 6.9 seconds. The petrol is marginally quicker from 0-62mph, in 6.2 seconds, making for easy overtaking. Both models use a seven-speed automatic gearbox, which can feel ponderous if you up the pace. Those seeking agile handling would be better served by opting for an S-spec model, which gets a tauter chassis and four-wheel steering system. In bends, the M offers decent grip and body roll is well controlled.
Price, value for money & options
Even the entry-level model, which costs £38,445, comes loaded with equipment, including keyless entry, reversing camera and dual-zone climate control. Range-topping S-spec cars add sports suspension, gearshift paddles and four-wheel steering. However, the M is expensive to buy and resale values aren't expected to compete with rivals. Its exclusivity on the UK market is a plus point, though.