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Reader: Infiniti's perpetual bliss?

2013-09-13 11:23

LIL' BIT OF HEAVEN? Wheels24 reader ROBERT DANIELS drives the luxurious Infiniti M37 S. Image: ROBERT DANIELS

ROBERT DANIELS

Wheels24 reader ROBERT DANIELS battles to find much fault with Infiniti's luxury M37 S, except for one big issue.

So many people asked me what Infiniti is while I was driving one that I need to explain - Infiniti is to Nissan, what Lexus is to Toyota. It's the luxury division of Nissan and they build cars to rival BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Lexus and Jaguar.

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It's a big car known in the market place as a mid-sized executive sedan. This M37 S Premium derivative sells for R732 426, and costs this much because it has so many luxury features as standard that I can’t even list them all.

The Infiniti packs a huge styling punch from certain angles. The front of the car is striking and imposing to the point where it could scare small children and adults suffering from nervous tension. It looks serious, menacing, almost angry and you will have no trouble clearing the fast lane.

OH DEAR...

The 3.7 litre V6 petrol engine produces 235kW at 7000rpm and 360Nm at 5200rpm. The zero to 100km/h sprint takes only six seconds and it tops out at 250km/h.

Most angles suit the power and performance amicably, but the rear is a complete let down. It just refuses to wow me. Lexus made the same mistake with the back of their GS so the problem appears to be Asian. The bootlid felt cheap and shut with a clang as opposed to an expensive thud.

In terms of styling I could not fault much else. I love the 20" wheels which might sound a bit over the top but they fill those dramatic wheel arches beautifully. With Infiniti it’s all about the bling, the presence and the chrome. It’s the flashy high end Asian alternative to the clinical Germans and they really throw the kitchen sink at you with gadgets.

There's radar guided cruise control which adjusts the distance between you and the car in front, and the lane guidance system which will sound a beep alarm before applying corrective action to the steering wheel in an attempt to put you back in your lane is also impressive. The electrically adjustable front seats are heated and cooled and the leather feels lavish and inviting.

GERMANY, TAKE NOTE

The dashboard is just a maze of buttons, lights and a LCD screen is smack in the middle of the facia. It's clutter makes you realise why the Germans all use simpler, cleaner designs and multi-function central infotainment systems. All the buttons and dials are just too much and operation feels old tech and felt a bit too familiar to the more affordable Nissan Murano SUV.

I loved the ride quality and the Germans need to step closer and take note. Even on those huge 20" wheels the ride was comfortable, yet sporty and dynamically it’s up there with the best of them. The M37 S uses a heavily modified version of the Nissan 370Z platform which explains the superb dynamics. This is in essence a sedan version of an accomplished sports car and that's what makes this car different and very special indeed. The Bose sound system also helped convince me of Infiniti’s credibility.

It’s not very economical and uses more than 12 litres of petrol per 100km. The M37 S is fun to drive fast, but I never said it was cheap. Look to the 3.0-litre turbo diesel model if you want economy.

This is not cutting edge luxury but it is very luxurious. The seven speed automatic gearbox is silky smooth and progress is effortless. If you have bit of money and you want to spoil yourself with a flashy statement you don’t need to look any further, but also consider Chrysler’s 300C and rap music.

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