Thursday, December 3, 2009

2011 Infiniti M56 with 420HP V8 and M37 with 330 V6 Rival BMW 5-Series and Mercedes E-Class

Infiniti has lifted the covers (once again...) off its new 2011 M sedans (sold as the Nissan Fuga in Japan) at a private event held in Beverly Hills on Monday. Designed to challenge the new BMW 5-Series, Lexus GS and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class -just to mention a few, the 2011 M sedan will be offered in the States initially with two gasoline-only powerplants with a hybrid version to follow shortly after.

The entry-level M37 features a 3.7-liter aluminum-alloy V6 which delivers 330 hp at 7,000 rpm and 270 lb-ft of torque at 5,200 rpm, representing an increases of 27 horsepower and 8 lb-ft of torque versus the previous 3.5-liter V6.

The range-topping M56 debuts a new 5.6-liter aluminum-alloy V8 that produces at 420 hp and 417 lb-ft of torque. That's an increases of 95 horsepower and 81 lb-ft of torque over the previous M's 4.5-liter V8.

The M37 and M56 are available in both rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive configurations. For those that are looking for sharper handling, Infiniti offers a special Sport Package on the rear-wheel drive models that includes 4-wheel Active Steer (4WAS), sport-tuned suspension, Sport Brakes and 20-inch wheels and tires.

All 2011 Ms come standard with Infiniti's 7-speed automatic transmission with Downshift Rev Matching and Adaptive Shift Control (ASC), while the RWD models with the Sport Package get solid magnesium paddle shifters as standard.

Infiniti has also announced a gasoline-electric hybrid version of the M sedan featuring a single electric motor/twin clutch arrangement with the first clutch installed between the naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V6 and the electric motor.

In terms of size, the new M's wheelbase has remained unchanged at 114.2 inches, but the width has been increased by 2.0 inches (to 72.6 inches), the length increased by 0.6-inch (to 194.7 inches) and the overall height lowered by 0.4-inch (to 59.1 inches) over its predecessor.

Notable features include the Blind Spot Intervention (BSI) that helps the driver return the vehicle back toward the center of the lane, Active Trace Control, which adjusts engine torque and the control of braking at each of the four wheels to help enhance cornering performance and Double-piston Shock Absorbers that control damping force according to frequency of input from the road surface.

The M37 and M56 (RWD and AWD) will arrive in U.S. showrooms next spring with the M35 Hybrid expected to follow in the second quarter of 2011.

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