By Cars.com EditorsMay 13, 2009
About the video
Cars.com's Kelsey Mays takes a look at the 2009 Infiniti M35. It competes with the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class.
(rock music) <v Narrator>Cars.com Auto Reviews. Hi, I'm Kelsey Mays for cars.com. The 2009 Infiniti M might seem old hat for some. It's been on the market for a few years now. And there's flashier newer competitors from both Europe and Asia.
Still, the M is a perennial cars.com favorite. Why is that? Well, let's check it out. Some call the rear end a little bit too blocky, but we still think it looks okay. There's kind of a nice short deck lid. If you think it's too conservative, think about what a real extroverted design like the BMW five series looks like a few years after it comes on the market. Maybe conservative is a good thing. Cabin quality is pretty much what you'd expect for a $50,000 car. Dashboard materials are soft to the touch, they have a nice low gloss finish to them. This is real wood and metal trim up and down the dash. Our car does have the optional 14 speaker Bose stereo system. It puts little speakers up here next to your head rest. In fact, sounds pretty good. Unfortunately, they also put a giant DVD audio player that takes up half the center console. There is an iPod connector. Frankly, that's the only thing I'd use. This just takes up a lot of space. Center controls, great example of the car's practicality. This screen here doesn't look terrific. The graphics are a few years behind the times, but the functionality is hard to argue with. You can program the same six stations here in your preset list to have AM, FM and satellite radio stations. So you don't have to dance around three different menus to get your six favorites. If you get the navigation system, you go to the map here. There's plenty of shortcut keys. It's got a touch screen, if you want to use that. There's convenient back buttons here. There's physical zoom in and zoom out buttons so that you can go in and out as you see fit, without having to access another map menu. The M35 this year gets a horsepower increase to 303 horsepower. It's up a bit over last year's M35, which had about 275 horsepower. It should be plenty of power for most people. There's plenty of acceleration. Highway passing power is excellent. The five speed automatic transmission in our test car has really good response. It never kind of leaves you coming out of a corner wondering whether you need a downshift. There's a sport mode this year, which is even more responsive. I don't really think it's necessary, but see what you like with it. There's a seven speed automatic now in the rear wheel drive M35, all the others get the five speed unit. If you want more power, you can always get the M45. I've driven it before, it's got significantly more torque, which is what you really feel when you're going from a stoplight, gas mileage in that car of course, not very good. So interior quality and driving dynamics are certainly solid. The M is also a very practical choice. Safety and reliability ratings have been exemplary. That's not something we can say for every car in this league. In fact, the M might just be the luxury car for these difficult economic times, because even when you're shopping a $50,000 sedan, you still need to be very careful about where you spend your money. The M might just be the best choice out there today. (upbeat music) <v Narrator>For more car related news, go to cars.com or our blog KickingTires.net.