Review by: Wes Stinson
It should come of no surprise to the posting members here that I do not go to the Infiniti dealership very often. First, I own a first generation Q45, so that means I am not looking to buy new, and I do all my own work to the car, so that means that I really have no reason to go to the dealer. With that being said, this being my first Infiniti dealership experience.
So I pull up in my 1994 Q45, being loud due to the aftermarket exhaust, and dirty from sitting all week (and being beaten around with no way to wash it). I drive around, and I spot my eyes on this little beauty. Crimson pearl (the color of my previous Q45) M45 sport. Unfortunately they did not have any M’s with the technology package. I am not really too concerned about those gizmos and gadgets anyway.
So I got some literature, and then I told him I was doing a review for one of the largest Nissan and Infiniti clubs on the Internet. I gave him my card, and they were very eager to let me drive.
Since I am under 21, they required someone go with me. Not a big deal, he did not put up any fuss to what I was doing to the car (and I wasn’t easy on it!). Impressive none the less that they even gave me the time of day.
As a side note, I went to Infiniti of Fort Wayne, located in (yeah you guessed it) Fort Wayne, IN. I have to say I am extremely impressed with the amount of professionalism. I dealt with Ron who is one of the managers there, and he approached me and was very much a professional. He treated me like I actually had the money to buy the car. For anyone considering an Infiniti, this dealership is top notch. When I walked in, I felt like I was in the lobby of a hotel in Las Vegas, except they had Infiniti’s sitting around. How could life be better? I cannot say enough good things about this dealership, and they also have a master technician that was trained on the first generation Q45. A match mate in heaven, indeed!
Now on to the part on what you really wanted to hear about: What I thought about the car.
I sat in the car for a while and tried to absorb its aura. The materials used in the M interior of utmost quality, soft and very sturdy feeling. The only qualm I had with the interior was the center trim on the dash, as well as the plastic door pulls. I am used to the chrome metal handles in my Q45. Had I been in the car with the rosewood or brushed aluminum, which may have been different. Regardless, it seems very much on par with the 2005 BMW 745 I was in earlier this year. For what automakers are putting out today, this M interior is very well made, still doesn’t seem the same as my Q45. One thing that impressed me was the way the doors sound when they close. I know this sounds very strange, but I’ve never seen a Nissan product where the door sounds so solid when it closes.
While we’re talking about BMW, the rear seats resembled very much a 95-01 BMW 7 series. Not sure why, but that’s the first thing I noticed when I opened the rear door. Also in this picture you can especially notice the edging they put on the seats.. I am referring to the grey part that goes around the edge of the seats. Very nice touch!
One thing Infiniti really stepped up on was the center pod thing. I am not a fan of the way they have those layouts, I prefer the stacked layouts of the Q45 and like the new Cadillac STS.
Regardless, this was a welcome change to what the FX35 was like I drove earlier this year. The buttons are very well thought out and everything is almost where you expect it. I really did not mess with any of the technology related items; in retrospect I wish I had tried the cooled seats. My main concern for going there was one thing: Is the performance all it was hyped up to be?
Unlike my car, the car is completely silent at idle. I could only hear a muffled “pmpmpmpmpm” coming from the exhaust as I walked around it.
I take off out of the dealer lot, and unlike the G35 which is a little too twitchy for me, this takes off just as smooth as my Q45. I redline this thing and I have 2 words: HOLY CRAP! What is so amazing to me is how well under control this power
is. It’s so smooth, so quiet, and so refined, it would be like Michael Johnson running the 100 meter dash in an Armani suit. Compared to my Q45, it really did not feel as if it had much more thrust, it just had more average thrust. There were very little dead spots, if any. The power curve was a very boring curve, meaning the torque is very even through the RPM range, which is not something I am used to. I am used to having to wait until my Q gets to 4000 RPM before it really gets going. As an aside, I am convinced that if my Q45 had the same transmission and rear axle ratio that they would be very close in performance.
One thing I prayed for before I went to bed every night was that the manual shifter would be better than it was in the G35. Fortunately, I was correct. As I have noted before, I really was not a fan of the G35 and FX35 manual shifter. It was very unresponsive in my experience. This one is VERY much more refined, it did miss a couple of my downshifts, but perhaps I was going too fast to downshift into that gear. Everything was perfect. The only thing I would have changed with that is that the manual shifter would be engaged when you push it to the right, not the left. I meant to put it in drive the first time instead I was in the manual. I was very excited to see that it holds the gear you are in and does not want to shift until you tell it to.
Handling on this car is amazing. For those of you who have been in my Q45, you know that it is not lacking in the handling department. The car feels much more balanced than my Q45. Its handling characteristics are very similar to the G35, except it’s a little more plush. It feels as if (if this were possible) that I could hold this car in the center with my finger and the car would balance perfectly. It is front heavy, but it does not feel that. Possibly the rear active steering (which my M was equipped with) helped that. There was a slight bit of body lean noticeable, but hardly anything worth mentioning.
I drove the sport model, and honestly I was expecting it be firmer than it was, and I would not mind it being firmer. This would not go over with many of the target buyers to the M. Braking is very, and not surprisingly, similar to the G35. Seems to have a little less bite which is appropriate for a luxury car.
To me, a car is more than a mode of transportation. It is a way that you express yourself, who you are, and what you are about. How a car feels is very much a huge part of if I will like the car. Most of you know how attached I am to my first generation Q45, and how I am very reluctant to give up my Q for anything. However, this car feels to me like the first generation Q45 in 2006 model year trim. If I were to buy one of these cars, I would definitely miss my Q, but I think I could get over it. Ideally one would like to have both.
I have a thing about my Q feeling like “home”. I drive other cars, and think that they’re nice, however I feel like I am at home whenever I am in my Q45. This M45 is the only other car I have been in that has that feeling of “home”. This car is not about the transportation that it provides; it is about the experience it gives. The amazing fact is how well things work seamlessly. I am convinced that if one does not notice certain things, they are working as they should.
Wes Stinson (elwesso) is a NICOclub Infiniti Moderator