Expert review written by the Kelley Blue Book vehicle review editorial team.
You'll Like The 2010 INFINITI M35 If...
If you’re in the market for a sport sedan with plenty of room, spirited performance and loads of comfort and convenience touches, any member of the 2010 Infiniti M lineup is worth a test drive. Those with distinct enthusiast leanings should find the V8-powered M45 with a Sport Package particularly attractive.
You May Not Like The 2010 INFINITI M35 If...
Even in this latest incarnation, the Infiniti M’s styling cues remain somewhat understated, perhaps too much so for buyers with more flamboyant tastes. If you’re one of the vanishing breed who still believes that any proper sport sedan simply must have a manual transmission, an M35 and M45 in any guise just won’t fill your bill.
For 2010, the Mobile Entertainment System Package is combined with the M45’s Premium Package.
The spacious Infiniti M cabin has a contemporary classic flavor highlighted by supple leather upholstery with African rosewood or textured-aluminum accents. The main gauges reflect the latest Infiniti white-and-purple lighting motif for even greater legibility, and supplemental functions can be accessed by logically arrayed switchgear on the instrument panel’s center stack – or by a user-friendly controller that displays information on a 7.0-inch color LCD screen. Both front seats feature 10-way power adjustability, the fixed-back, contoured rear bench provides generous head and legroom for adults in the two outboard spots while a pull-down center armrest conceals a modest pass-though opening to the M’s 14.9 cubic-foot trunk.
The M’s crisply rendered nose touts an edgy grille, standard fog lamps and shapely lower air inlets. Around back, smooth sheetmetal flows onto wide fenders and a high-profile decklid, which is punctuated by integrated tail lamps that complement a tidy fascia. Both M35 and M45 models come with 18-inch aluminum wheels mounted with V-rated 245/45 all-season tires, but stepping up to the Sport Package upgrades that to 245/40R19 high-performance tires on unique alloy rims and includes more aggressive front and rear soft-trim contours, integrated side sills and charcoal-colored headlamp bezels.
Although the specific driving characteristics of each model vary by engine and powertrain configuration, all variations on the M theme come standard with a genuinely engaging personality and offer an impressive combination of comfort and control that should please a wide range of potential buyers. Based on the latest version of Nissan’s lauded FM (Front Mid-ship) platform, also used in the 370Z and Infiniti G37, the M matches its nicely-sorted fully-independent suspension with well-weighted and quick-responding power steering. Those commendable dynamic qualities get ratcheted up a tangible notch on rear-drive models fitted with the optional Sport Package. Although the heavier all-wheel-drive M35x and M45x models sacrifice a bit of enthusiast appeal, Nissan’s outstanding AWD system can seamlessly transfer torque from front-to-rear and side-to-side as changing traction conditions warrant, making it a feature well worth considering for those who live outside of the Sun Belt.
The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price for a 2010 Infiniti M35 starts around $46,500, with an M35x closer to $49,000. The V8-powered M45 is nearly $53,000 and the M45x is about $57,000. However, when you add the admittedly comprehensive Premium Package and polished wheels to the top-of-the-line M45x, that figure will approach the $67,500 mark. Regardless of model, the entire Infiniti M family tends to hold a tangible price advantage over comparably equipped key competitors from Audi, BMW, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz. However, when it comes to residuals, that edge disappears as the M falls behind all of its key rivals by several percentage points.
Both the 2010 Infiniti M35 and M45 have all of the luxury appointments you’d expect in a premium sedan – and more. Complementing leather and wood and aluminum trim are a bounty of power assists plus dual-zone climate control, 160-watt AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio with six-disc changer, Intelligent Key remote locking and ignition, one-touch power moonroof and a power tilt and telescoping steering column capped by a four-spoke wheel with switches to operate the audio, cruise control, phone and vehicle information functions. All versions come with Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC), anti-lock brakes (ABS), Brake Assist (BA), Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD), corner-following bi-xenon adaptive headlamps and front, front-side and side-curtain airbags.
Tiered option groups allow personalization of any M model with the best of everything available from Infiniti. The three key packages, in ascending order, are Technology, Advanced Technology and Premium. Included in those packages are voice-recognition DVD-based navigation, a RearView backup monitor, Intelligent Cruise Control, Preview Braking, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Departure Prevention, two levels of Bose premium audio systems, a 9.3-gigabyte Music Box hard drive, single or dual-screen rear-seat DVD video systems, heated and power-reclining rear seats and rear air conditioning. Enthusiasts can opt for the Sport Package, which includes a tauter suspension with Rear Active Steer, plus 19-inch wheels and tires, sport seats and unique body trim.
Bi-xenon Adaptive Front lighting System (AFS)Standard on all M models, these high-intensity headlamps are linked to the steering system and can angle their brilliant blue-white beams into a corner to provide an even better look at what lies ahead. Optional Rear Active Steer (RAS)Included in the Sport Package, Rear Active Steer varies the geometry of the rear wheels in response to both road speed and driver steering inputs to deliver even more immediate and positive reactions during spirited cornering.
Under the Hood
Smooth and sophisticated, the M35’s 3.5-liter V6 and the M45’s 4.5-liter V8 are enthusiastic, albeit somewhat thirsty, powerplants. Made of lightweight aluminum and featuring variable valve timing to maximize operating efficiency, both are backed by a responsive five-speed automatic transmission (seven-speed on the rear-drive M35) with intuitive electronic controls that adapt to a driver’s individual style, plus a neat throttle-blipping feature that matches engine rpm to vehicle speed for even smoother downshifts. With 303 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque, the V6 propels an M35 from zero to 60 miles per hour in just over six seconds – or slightly more for the heavier all-wheel-drive M35x. Rated at 325 horsepower and 336 pound-feet of torque, the larger V8 in the M45 drops that interval into the mid-to-high five-second range. 3.5-liter V6303 horsepower @ 6800 rpm262 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4800 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/25 (RWD), 16/22 (AWD)4.5-liter V8325 horsepower @ 6400 rpm336 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/21 (RWD), 14/20 (AWD)
The 2010 Infiniti M distinctively blends sport, luxury and performance characteristics with V6 or V8 power. Although an all-new model is due out in 2011, the 2010 M35 and M45 continue to cruise through the crowded luxury field, bypassing more expensive sedans from Japan, Europe and America. The M series offers a choice of rear-drive or all-wheel drive and a number of cutting-edge features such as a Lane Departure Prevention (LDP) system. Rated by the EPA as a full-size sedan, with interior space that nearly matches an Audi A8, BMW 7 Series and Mercedes S-Class, the Infiniti M is priced closer to the smaller Audi A6, BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class counterparts – along with key Japanese mid-size rivals like the Acura RL and Lexus GS and the lone American entrant, the Cadillac STS. The Infiniti M’s high-value and high-content formula is further reinforced by excellent reliability and strong customer satisfaction ratings.