When it comes to buying an upscale sedan, most folks simply get what everyone else is buying, usually one of the ubiquitous models offered by traditional European luxury brands. If you're someone who likes to look beyond the obvious choices and carefully weigh all your options, however, you'd be wise to add the Infiniti M56 to your short list.
That's because this midsize luxury sedan has matched, and in some ways bested, those traditional sport sedans from BMW and Mercedes-Benz at their own game. For starters, the Infiniti M56's brawny 5.6-liter V8 makes many of its contemporary competitors look downright underpowered by comparison. Then there's the attractive passenger cabin lined with top-quality materials and chock full of gadgets. The level of comfort slightly trailed that of other contemporary midsize luxury sedans, but in terms of value, the M56 is tough to beat.
Most Recent Infiniti M56
The Infiniti M56 and its V6-powered M37 sibling were completely redesigned for 2011. The following year, Infiniti merged these two models together into a single model that is now covered in our Infiniti M review. Please see this for a more complete view of new and used models alike.
For 2011, the Infiniti M56 midsize luxury sedan was available in a single trim level. Under the hood was a 5.6-liter V8 that put out an impressive 420 horsepower and 417 pound-feet of torque and came mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission with manual-shift capability. Rear-wheel drive was standard; an all-wheel-drive version dubbed the M56x was also available.
This Infiniti M56 came fitted with all the usual luxury car goodies including 18-inch alloy wheels, xenon headlights, foglights, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a sunroof, keyless entry/ignition, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. Also standard are a rearview camera, navigation system and a 10-speaker Bose audio system with a CD/DVD player, an auxiliary audio jack, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, an iPod interface, satellite radio and a 9.3GB hard drive for digital music. Options included 20-inch alloy wheels, four-wheel steering, a power rear window sunshade, upgraded leather upholstery and interior trim, and a premium Bose surround-sound audio system. Also on offer were a whole host of electronic gizmos including adaptive headlights, adaptive cruise control, blind spot and forward collision warning systems, and a lane-departure warning and prevention system.
While the Infiniti M56 was good-looking from the outside, it got better when you slid behind the steering wheel. Stylish design accented with supple leather and genuine wood set the mood. Seating was comfortable for those up front, and the rear seat offered more room than you'd find in its many competitors. The real treat here, though -- at least when it was new -- was the array of electronic wizardry deployed to do everything from helping you keep the car in your own lane to quieting the interior using active noise-canceling technology. As a bonus, it was also quite easy to use despite the abundance of buttons.
As for the experience of driving the Infiniti M56, let's just say that 420 hp will put a smile on the faces of even hard-core gearheads. In practice, however, this much engine is really overkill for most folks, making the V6-powered M37 model a better choice. Either way, the sport-tuned suspension produces excellent handling, though we found the ride to be too firm with the Sport suspension tuning.