1.31.2010

Infiniti M35 Review


Picture Paul Newman and Robert Redford in "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid". Fast-forward to the pursuit scene, where they're looking over their shoulders at the posse on their tail and wondering aloud:



That's the mental image I get every time Infiniti ups the ante with one of its sport sedans. Infiniti's the posse. BMW is Butch and/or Sundance.

For a car company that looked like odd man out 20 years ago as Lexus conquered luxury and Acura virtually invented near-luxury, these guys have put together one impressive mission statement:

Aim for the blue-and white propeller.

As with the G37 and its target, the 3-series, the M35 isn't quite a match for the 5-series...but the gap closes each time around. And if you're not obsessing about BMW the way Infiniti does, you may find this one wins your car-buying dollar (okay, 47,950 of them before options) on its own.

303 horsepower, 262 pounds per foot of torque. A 5-speed automatic with Drive Sport mode. 18-inch alloys. Dual exhausts with quad chrome finishers.

And while it's fairly dripping in tech (two different packages as options...the Technology Package and the Advanced Technology Package...were on this car, adding surround sound, lane departure warning, lane departure prevention, intelligent cruise control, navigation with XM NavTraffic, voice recognition, rear view camera and a 9.3 gig hard drive for your music), it's nowhere near as obtrusive and overwhelming as the same pieces were in the FX 35 crossover. Perhaps its because the M35 has such a strong presence as a car before all the tech gets laid on.

Even with the as-tested sticker reading $54,915 and the EPA estimates far from stellar at 16 city/22 highway, I'd have a hard time talking myself out of recommending this to drivers looking for a strong, capable midsize sport sedan.

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