- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 26, 2005

All week, I’ve been wondering about the M while test-driving the 2006 Infiniti M35. What does the letter M mean?

This all-new Infiniti is a five-passenger rear-wheel-drive sedan that is available in two models: M45 and M35. Both models also offer a sport model. In addition, the M35 has an all-wheel-drive option. The base prices range from $40,100, up to $49,750, and both are equipped with a five-speed automatic with a manual shift. The M35 has a 280-horsepower V-6 engine; the M45 has a 335-horsepower V-8 engine.

The test car was the M35 sport. This car seemed to possess two body styles.

One part of it had a sporty appearance; the other area contained the look of luxury. The low hoodline flows back to the A-pillar looking like a tiger about to pounce. But the jewellike headlamp assembly, plus a lot of subtle touches on the long-wheelbase body provided this new machine with a wealthy appearance; it was composed with meticulous attention to detail.

That impression became more obvious when I got in the car and began driving this five-passenger sedan. It was loaded with wireless technology, even for starting the car. For example, with the key fob in my pocket and my foot on the brake pedal, I simply pressed the starter button on the dashboard and I was ready to roll. The same procedure turns the engine off, and I couldn’t lock the car unless I was outside the car. This marvelous idea prevented me from locking the keys in the car.

Another meaningful feature is the Lane Departure Warning. At speeds of 45 mph or higher, if I unintentionally wandered into another lane (not using turn signals), there was a warning sound. A small camera mounted behind the rearview mirror scans the road to alert the driver of possible danger.

Using advanced technology, including Bluetooth technology, there is an Information System with a 7-inch LCD screen. Using voice recognition, I could get data such as the tire pressure.

The Infiniti M also has Rear Active Steer system, which determines the car’s dynamics from a series of sensors that calculate the speed and steering angle and changes the geometry of the rear suspension accordingly. This results in exceptional maneuverability and handling. This car has a marvelous braking system, featuring four-wheel disc brakes, anti-lock-braking system, and electronic brake-force distribution. Every time I applied the brakes, even in a panic stop, I felt very secure.

The LCD screen was helpful in backing up as it provided a wide view, allowing me to clearly see what surrounded the rear of the car. Another feature with merit is on the cruise control. While on a highway, I simply set the desired speed. The M35 uses a laser sensor and throttle and brake control to automatically adjust the set speed, allowing me to travel a safe distance behind the car ahead.

The interior has upscale comforts throughout, including such things as a six-disc auto-changer with MP3 compatibility. On the test car, the front seats had climate control.

As expected of a car of this caliber, it contains all the latest safety and security systems with zone body construction and front and rear crumple zones, dual-stage air bags and side-impact curtain air bags.

Now it occurs to me what the M stands for. I just used such words as meticulous, merit, and meaningful. Collectively, resulting in a marvelous car, marvelous with a capital M.

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