2012 Infiniti M Review
Auto reviewers say performance, luxury and user-friendly tech features make the 2012 Infiniti M a worthy contender among luxury large cars.
Test drivers praise the 2012 Infiniti M’s unusually good combination of sedan utility and sporty performance. Its combination of powerful engine choices, nimble handling, a luxuriously-appointed interior and good safety scores mean that automotive journalists have found a lot to like about the M.
Three models are available: the M37, which features a 330-horsepower V6; the M56, which is powered by a 420-horsepower V8; and the M Hybrid, which is reviewed separately. Test drivers report that while the V6 provides ample power, the V8 is blisteringly fast, and most consider the M to be one of the sportier luxury large cars. While both V6- and V8-powered cars are agile on twisty roads, a few test drivers note that the V6-powered M37 has the handling edge due to its lighter weight.
Although the M has a lot going for it from a performance standpoint, that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. Most reviewers agree that opting for an all-wheel drive model takes away from the car’s fun factor. They say the added weight from the system negatively affects the car’s handling, steering and fuel economy. Additionally, some test drivers dislike the Sport Package that’s available on the M. This package adds larger wheels and firmer suspension components, which improve the M’s handling, but also transmit more road imperfections into the cabin. If you live in an area with rough roads, a Sport Package-equipped M may not be for you.
Leather, Japanese ash wood and metal trim surround the M’s occupants inside. It’s a cabin loaded with high-quality materials, but the M doesn’t stop there. It also features electronics that many reviewers think are the most user-friendly among luxury large cars. Unlike German rivals such as the BMW 5-Series and Mercedes E-Class, the M does not use a single-knob interface to control vehicle, climate and entertainment functions. Instead, the Infiniti M maintains separate controls so that you don’t need to navigate through on-screen menus to make simple adjustments. Most reviewers think Infiniti’s system is easier to use, but a few reviewers say that it also makes the M’s dash appear button-heavy.
The 2012 M’s cabin is generally considered roomy by the automotive press, with front seats that reviewers say are comfortable and supportive. However, a handful of test drivers say that taller rear-seat passengers may want more headroom, while another reviewer thought that the back seat lacked adequate thigh support. If you frequently have passengers in the back seat, you’ll have to check the M out for yourself and make sure that it provides enough space.
Other Cars to Consider
If you aren’t drawn to the Infiniti M’s performance edge, and would prefer to trade its sporting nature for a more luxurious ride and a bigger back seat, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan might be worth considering. The E-Class starts at about $49,400, roughly $1,700 more than the M’s starting price of $47,700. Although it’s roomier, the E-Class can’t match the M’s power. The V6-powered E350 has 62 less horsepower than the comparable M37, while the V8-powered E550 has 38 less horses than the M56.
Shoppers less concerned with passenger space and interested in even more performance might do well to check out the Jaguar XF. Starting at $52,500, the base Jaguar XF costs about $4,800 more than the M37, but comes standard with navigation. To add navigation to an M37, shoppers will need to purchase Infiniti’s $3,350 Premium Package. If you compare the XF with the Premium Package-equipped M37, the difference in price shrinks to about $1,500. Additionally, the base XF comes with a 385-horsepower V8 that’s sure to please power-hungry shoppers on the prowl for a powerful luxury large car.
Infiniti M: The Details
Two trims are available on the 2012 Infiniti M, which are primarily based on the engine. Starting at less than $48,000, the M37 features a 3.7-liter V6 and comes with standard features that include a moonroof, dual-zone climate control, push-button start, heated front seats, backup camera and a six-speaker stereo with satellite radio, Bluetooth and USB connections. For a little more than $59,000, the 5.6-liter V8-powered M56 includes these features, but also adds front seats that are heated and cooled, a heated steering wheel, a 10-speaker Bose stereo system and navigation with real-time traffic and weather updates.
If you want the M56’s interior features on an M37, opting for the $3,350 Premium Package will provide all the interior comfort and tech features that come standard on the more powerful V8 model. Additionally, all-wheel drive is available on the sure-footed M37x and M56x models, which provide better traction in inclement weather. Still, a few reviewers comment that adding all-wheel drive makes the M less fun on a windy road. Expect all-wheel drive to add about $2,150 and $2,500 to the bottom line for M37 and M56 models, respectively.
Infiniti has also released the M Hybrid for 2012, which is reviewed separately.
- "M again leans toward the athletic side of the midsize premium-sedan market and goes even further when equipped with the optional Sport Package. Not surprisingly, Infiniti cites the BMW 5-Series as the M's closet competitor. While the M's ride/handling combination can't quite match that of its German rival, it gives away nothing in power. M also handily beats it in cockpit layout." -- Consumer Guide
- "For shoppers interested in a luxury sport sedan that puts ‘sport’ front and center, the M presents the most involving game in town." -- Edmunds
- "These sedans are easily the most comfortable and luxurious cars Infiniti has ever produced. In fact that finely tuned blend of sportiness and luxury in these new M sedans could steal quite a bit of business from Infiniti's German rivals." -- Popular Mechanics
- "Functionally the M series fulfills all needs; it's a sweet-driving, powerful luxury sedan. Probably its biggest drawback is in perceived status, something only a blue-and-white or three-pointed-star logo seems to cure. For those secure in their status, the M is definitely worth a look." -- MSN
- "Infiniti's created a luxurious four-door that looks gorgeous, goes fast and doesn't have much space in the back. But unlike the Jaguar XF, we think the M is going to prove fully competitive with the German master race of luxury sedans." -- Jalopnik