2011 Infiniti M56X AWD First Impressions Review

Expert Reviews Infiniti

By contributing editor David Colman


  • Leather seats tailored to fit better than a Huntsman tailored suit
  • Lots of high-tech gadgetry which can be deleted from the options list saving you thousands of dollars
  • Performance specs that will make you dizzy


  • Infiniti user’s manual harder to read than an Ikea instruction manual
  • Undersized Michelin all-season tires

When Nissan brought the Infiniti division to life 20 years back, their first product, the Q45, was such a luxury-sedan category killer that it put the competition from Lexus and Acura to shame. That original Q ship was a compact four-door powered by a honking V8 and fitted with a sports tuned suspension that could keep pace with anything from BMW or Mercedes, let alone the Japanese competition. But over the intervening years, Infiniti has lost the hard-edged focus that made the original Q such an outstanding product. Their latest big bullet sedan, new for 2011, is the beautifully turned out M56X. Leather craftsmanship is first rate. Tailoring befits Savile Row. But the new M lacks soul. It’s not a driver’s car because it insists on making all your decisions for you – if your M is equipped with the $3,000 optional Technology Package, that is.

When you order that package, Infiniti supplies an alphabet soup of purported safety features that include BSW (Blind Spot Warning), LDW (Lane Departure Warning), LDP (Lane Departure Prevention), IBA (Intelligent Brake Assist), ATC (Active Trace Control), ICC (Intelligent Cruise Control) and EP (Eco Pedal). You’ll be forced to read through 50 small print pages of the Owner’s Manual just to get a vague idea of what you bought and how it’s all supposed to work.

2011 Infiniti M56x

Do you really need all this? The answer is no. Forget the Technology Package. Look in the mirror and turn your head when you change lanes and you can do without LDW and LDP. Stay alert and you’ll never need IBA. You’re definitely better off without Automatic Trace Control (ATC) an unnerving driving aid which modulates brake and throttle control without any authorization from you. And what about Eco Pedal (EP), which is designed to increase resistance of the throttle pedal so you’ll use less gas? Anybody who buys a 420hp V8 with a mileage rating of 16 MPG City and 23 MPG Highway is not concerned enough about economy to require a green gratification gas pedal that fights back when depressed.

Unlike the Technology Package, the Deluxe Touring Package (DTP) upgrades the M56X into a very special place to live on the road. You’ll pay an extra $3,800, but the tariff is worth the dividend, because not only do you get a 16 speaker Bose 5.1-channel audio system, but also a level of interior luxury you’d be hard put to find in any other sedan. Check the DTP box, and Infiniti wraps the seats in superior semi-aniline quilted leather, and finishes the dash, doors and center console in Japanese white ash with silver powder trim accents. You’ll want to slip into your smoking jacket because you’ll feel like you’re in the Bodleian Library at Oxford. The seat pleats are dazzlingly diagonal. The Japanese ash is particularly distinguished, affording a lacquered barn wood effect to the interior.

2011 Infiniti M56x interior

The M is a righteous flyer on the freeway, thanks to copious torque (417 lb-ft worth) coupled to a 7-speed automatic that matches revs on downshifts when manual mode is engaged. The illusion of speed dissipates a bit when the road gets twisty. The Michelin Primacy MXM4 tires (245/50R18), which feel undersized for the 3,895 lb. weight of the M, are better suited to straightline cruising than apex bashing. Indeed, the suspension of the M is biased more to comfort than cornering. But you should have little trouble making headway in a snow storm thanks to all-wheel-drive and a special “Snow” setting which can be dialed up from a knob on the center console.

ENGINE: 5.6 liter V8
TORQUE: 417 lb-ft


David Colman has been writing vehicle tests for 24 years. His work has been featured in AutoWeek, the San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Examiner, and Marin Independent Journal. In 1987, he helped start Excellence, The Magazine About Porsche, which he edited for many years. He has been an active participant in racing and Solo events since 1961. More car reviews written by Colman can be found at autoeditor.com

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2011 Infiniti M56x Photo Gallery

2011 Infiniti M

2011 Infiniti M56x Specs

Infiniti USAThe official website of Infiniti – www.infinitiusa.com

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  • Travis says:

    Specs are a let down… cars with similar specs are much much faster.

    Ever seen this car in base model trim? Down right UGLY. The oversized rims on this sport model help the looks a little bit. The interior does seems well appointed

  • Peter Anastopulos says:

    This car quickly disappears into the mass of cars at the big box stores.Nothing beautiful or special in any way just more of the same.If only Renault really took charge and put some French design like Delahaye it might be worth the price.Who buy’s this car some bland cubicle drone who has no imagination.Watch this car age badly in 2 years the head lights lenses will fog and the fake chrome trim will peel.M56 will reside in the distant exurb where you can buy a cheap big house and spawn more indifferent children .Nothing authentic just another yawn from Japan for the soon to be foreclosed.

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