This is the new M saloon, Infiniti’s challenger in the German-dominated executive sector. The new 2010 Infiniti M was ‘virtually’ unveiled today at the glitzy 59th Annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in California.
The new saloon is the third-generation Infiniti M for American and Japanese buyers – but will also come to UK and European showrooms for the first time when it goes on sale in September 2010.
The new M will offer American buyers a choice of either a 316bhp 3.7-litre V6 M37, or a 420bhp 5.6-litre V8, badged M56. British and European buyers will be offered an Infiniti tuned Renault-Nissan 3.0-litre diesel in place of the V8 petrol – this sector is dominated by diesel models, don’t forget.
Infiniti M: the hybrid one
The M is Infiniti’s hybrid pioneer and uses the powertrain showcased under the bonnet of the Essence concept car. The new system employs a disc-shaped electric motor with lithium-ion batteries coupled to the company’s 3.7 V6. Product planning boss Francois Bancon promises that every Infiniti model range will be available with hybrid power by the end of 2012. Also available will be a 4WD version, although sadly (like the tasty sounding V8) it won’t be offered in the UK and European markets. Bugger.
As is the Japanese norm there will be no German style scrimping on equipment; all models will come with a Gadget Show prize draw humbling list of equipment. Standard kit on the new Infiniti M includes (deep breath now): a seven-speed automatic transmission, four-wheel steer on S models, standard 18 inch alloys (20s on S models), a high-end Bose stereo complete with 10GB hard drive, a sat-nav system with inbuilt Michelin guide, active cornering xenon headlights, LED rear lamps and, of course, electric everything.
The crashproof car?
On top of this stack of stuff is the world’s first side-collision prevention system. Through what probably amounts to HAL-sized computing power, the new Infiniti M will brake individual wheels if it believes the car will hit another car during the driver’s intended lane change manoeuvre. Makes us wonder what it would be like in the hustle that is rush hour on the M1.
What of the Infiniti M’s looks? Well, to be featured in the Pebble Beach Conours d’Elegance, a car has to show a certain quality of, ahem, elegance. Ansel Adams, photographer and former honorary judge, has a snappier description: ‘From a strictly personal point of view, my definition of an elegant car would be the kind of car I would like to be buried in.’
Shame the car wasn’t actually at Pebble Beach, then. Infiniti showed it ‘virtually’ – with a 3D projection beamed to the audience. We’ll see the car for real in December 2009, with European versions bound for a Geneva 2010 unveiling.
Of course, what we’d really like to know is what you, the CAR Online reader thinks. Hit or miss? Bold or boring? Let us know below.