2012 INFINITI M35h Expert Review

4.0 Overall Score
Performance 4.0 Comfort 3.8 Styling 4.0 Value 3.7

Editor's Overview

Infiniti's flagship sedan blends ample performance, luxury and technology in a sleek package that's a relative value. With its collision-prevention systems, the 2012 Infiniti M silently but constantly backs up its driving thrills with some of the best safety features around.

You'll Like The 2012 INFINITI M35h If...

If you are open to purchasing a luxury mid-size sedan without a prestigious German nameplate, you might find the Infiniti M's artful blend of performance, luxury and value tough to beat.

You May Not Like The 2012 INFINITI M35h If...

Despite its elegant design, the Infiniti M does not command the same attention as its BMW and Audi rivals. Furthermore, while class-leading standard horsepower is appealing to some, those seeking laudable fuel economy without the hybrid price tag might favor the BMW 528i's 34-mpg highway rating.

What's New

For 2012, Infiniti introduces a new 360-horsepower M Hybrid to the mix. Additionally, non-hybrid models offer a new premium 18-inch wheel option as well as simplified packaging for M56 models.

Interior Features

Outfitted in rich, warm leather and high-quality soft-touch materials, the 2012 Infiniti M delivers an inviting in-cabin experience. The M's spacious greenhouse comfortably accommodates its occupants with 10-way power-adjustable and heated front seats, leather-trimmed seating surfaces and generous rear-seat legroom. The available Deluxe Touring Package takes the Infiniti M's already well-executed interior to a new level with semi-aniline leather-appointed seating, a 16-speaker Bose audio system, a suede-like headliner and striking White Ash silver-powdered wood trim sprinkled with flecks of real silver. The only sour note is the all-in-one control knob's inconvenient placement – a critical ergonomic flaw considering the module's extensive responsibilities over the audio, climate, vehicle information and convenience features.

Exterior Features

Combining a muscular stance and a sleek profile, the 2012 Infiniti M is among the most stylish cars in its class. The Infiniti M's modern look is complemented by xenon headlights for both the low and high beams along with LED taillights. All Infiniti M models ride on standard 18-inch split 5-spoke wheels, while rear-wheel-drive (RWD) M37 and M56 models offer fender-filling 20-inch wheels. The Sport Package option adds a touch of aggression to the M's exterior with a smoked grille and headlight housings, unique front end, larger brakes and 20-inch performance summer tires.

Driving Impressions

The 2012 M is truly a blast on the road. With three eager powertrains, a comfortable interior and an impressive list of new and innovative technology to make your drive even better, there's blessedly little to complain about. Technologies like 4Wheel Active Steer and downshift rev-matching enhance the car's fun-to-drive quotient, while lane-keeping assist and blind-spot monitoring subtly help keep you safe. And the interior's a pretty nice place to spend some time – the seats are supportive, the dash intuitive and the M's iPod connectivity and searchability are among the best out there. The M Hybrid, which Infiniti claims is the world's fastest full-hybrid, delivers on its promise of combining the fuel efficiency of a hybrid with the engaging driving dynamics of a performance sedan.

Pricing Notes

The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the 2012 Infiniti M starts around $48,500 in base M37 trim and approaches over $70,000 for a fully-loaded M56. Adding all-wheel drive ups both prices by about $2,500. The new M Hybrid starts around $54,500 and tops out just under $69,000. The 2012 Infiniti M is competitive price-wise with the BMW 5 Series and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, although the Infiniti offers more standard features than either German competitor. While the base Audi A6 offers less standard equipment, it does undercut the M's starting price by nearly $6,000. To be sure that you're getting the best deal on your M, be sure to check kbb.com's Fair Purchase Price for what consumers are actually paying in your market area. In terms of resale value, the M is expected to see above-average residuals over time, not quite as high as those offered by BMW or Lexus, but on par with Mercedes-Benz and Audi.

Notable Equipment

The 2012 Infiniti M37 and M Hybrid come standard with Infiniti's Drive Mode Selector (Standard, Eco, Sport and Snow modes), leather seating, heated and 10-way power front seats, a 6-speaker audio system with USB connectivity for MP3/WMA players, Bluetooth, active noise control, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a 7-inch color display for audio/climate/vehicle settings, and keyless entry and start with driver memory settings. Moving up to the M56 adds a 5.6-liter V8, cooled front seats, a Bose 10-speaker sound system, a navigation system with SiriusXM NavTraffic and NavWeather, a 9.3GB hard drive for music storage and Bluetooth streaming audio. Safety equipment on every Infiniti M includes active head restraints, six airbags and automatic hazard lights that activate upon airbag deployment.

Notable Options

Regardless of powertrain, an Infiniti M can be outfitted to your liking. Available creature comforts include a Bose Studio Surround System with digital 5.1-channel decoding and 16-speakers, power rear sunshade, semi-aniline leather seating, silver-metallic wood trim, and a "Forest Air" system with breeze mode, which cleans and modulates the air flowing into the cabin. If you'd like your M37 or M56 to stand out, opt for the Sport Package, which adds 20-inch split 5-spoke wheels with summer tires, a sport-tuned suspension, 4-wheel active steering, sport brakes, magnesium paddle shifters, sport seats and unique front fascia, grille and headlight surrounds. All of the latest and greatest safety technology offered by Infiniti is encapsulated in the Technology Package, including adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning and prevention, forward-collision warning, blind-spot monitoring and adaptive front lighting systems for increased visibility around dark corners.

Favorite Features

Active Noise Control

Every Infiniti M features Active Noise Control to keep aural unpleasantries caused by the engine or the open-air concert taking place in the adjacent vehicle out of the cabin. The system uses a ceiling-mounted microphone to detect and reduce low-frequency sounds for a more tranquil driving experience.

4Wheel Active Steer

For increased agility and control at any speed, the 2012 Infiniti M employs an optional 4Wheel Active Steer feature that seamlessly adjusts the steering angle of all four wheels and the steering ratio according to the vehicle's speed.

Under the Hood

The 2012 Infiniti M comes with a choice of three engines: a 330-horsepower V6 (the same engine found in the G37), a 420-horsepower V8, or a new 360-horsepower V6 hybrid. Every engine is mated to a 7-speed automatic transmission with a manual shift mode along with a race-inspired downshift rev-matching feature for non-hybrid models. Unfortunately, with great horsepower comes great financial responsibility. And despite average EPA fuel economy ratings, our real-world driving experiences have revealed that both the M37 and M56 have an exceptional thirst for fuel. Moreover, adding all-wheel drive to the M brings with it a greater penalty in fuel economy.

3.7-liter V6

330 horsepower @ 7,000 rpm

270 lb-ft of torque @ 5,200 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/26 mpg (RWD), 17/24 mpg (AWD)

5.6-liter V8

420 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm

417 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/25 mpg (RWD), 16/23 mpg (AWD)

3.5-liter V6 + electric motor

Hybrid system net horsepower: 360

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 27/32 mpg

Editors' Notes

As Infiniti's flagship sedan, the 2012 Infiniti M delivers A-list levels of luxury, style and performance. On the value front, the Infiniti M offers a host of upscale features as standard issue along with more standard horsepower than its BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Lexus GS and Audi A6 competitors. The 2012 Infiniti M lineup features an enticing array of models and drivetrains to choose from, including the value-packed M37, the 420-horsepower M56, a fuel-efficient hybrid version, and an available performance-oriented all-wheel drive (AWD) system.

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2012 INFINITI M35h Owner Reviews

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2012 INFINITI M35h Hybrid

Very nice sedan/family vehicle. Equipped with all the features, technology. Expensive to maintain. Hybrid features are nice. Digital fuel savings indicator is about 5 MPG off. Trade-in value is not worth much for as much as I paid for the car new. Would probably not purchase a similar car again.

- Victoria M

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