out of 10
If you’re in the market for a sport sedan, chances are good you’re looking at models from BMW, Mercedes-Benz and perhaps even Audi. You may not be considering the Infiniti M sedan, since it’s nowhere near as common or prestigious as the others on the list, but we think the uniquely-styled and impressively-capable Infiniti should be on your “must drive” list.

Last updated for the 2011 model year, the current Infiniti M sedans look like nothing else on the road today. Word is that the muscular styling of the car was influenced by the likes of Jaguar and Maserati, yet the M goes its own way without borrowing designs from either. With shapely front fenders flowing back from the grille and alternating between concave and convex forms, the M is a visual treat to some (ourselves included) and just plain odd to others preferring more conventional sedan designs. Inside, the level of fit and finish and the quality (and character) of trim will likely surprise those who only associate luxury with German or rival Japanese brands.

As good as the Infiniti M looks, inside and out, it is first and foremost a driver’s car. Opt for the M37, and you’ll get a 3.7-liter, 330-horsepower V-6 that feels even stronger than its numbers would indicate. If you want more power, the M56 serves up a 5.6-liter V-8, rated at 420 horsepower, that delivers a superior exhaust note with its superior acceleration. Both versions come mated to a quick-shifting seven-speed automatic gearbox, complete with paddle shifters and a rev-matching downshift feature.

If you want the best of both worlds, consider the 360-horsepower Infiniti M35h hybrid, which delivers the same 5.2-second run from 0-60 mph as the M56, while returning up to 27 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway. Unlike other hybrid models that force buyers to accept a continuously variable transmission (CVT), the M35h comes with the same seven-speed, paddle-shifted automatic as the other cars in the Infiniti M family.

Infiniti also deserves praise for the suspension calibration on M sedan models, as it’s neither too soft nor too harsh across the product range. Serving up equal portions of handling and ride comfort can be a daunting task, but Infiniti has done an impressive job of being all things to all buyers here. Even the steering is nicely weighted, offering a surprising amount of feedback at turn-in, and the balance of rear-drive models belies the car’s long wheelbase. Though we prefer the tighter feel of rear-drive models, Infiniti also builds all-wheel-drive versions of the M37 (the M37x) and the M56 (the M56x) for buyers in colder climates (or those just wanting the traction advantage of all-wheel drive). An available Sport Package, which includes things like 20-inch wheels, four-wheel active steering and sport seats, is now available on M37x and M56x models, too.

While Infiniti’s G models may be more sporting, the M models are the ones to shop when you need rear passenger space. Front seat passengers will appreciate the extra room, too, but not nearly as much as those in the second row. There’s ample head room inside, and all occupants will likely appreciate Infiniti’s updated take on traditional luxury. Have no fear, though: rich leather and carefully matched wood trim are still present and accounted for inside of M models.

If safety is your thing, the M won’t disappoint here, either, earning a five-star rating from the NHTSA and a Top Safety Pick from the IIHS. Available safety features include such things as adaptive cruise control, adaptive headlights, lane departure warning and correction and blind spot detection.

For more details on the 2013 Infiniti M models, see our comprehensive review on The Car Connection.

UPDATEInfiniti M Sedan Scores IIHS Top Safety Pick--Just In Time To Change Its Name

It'll be called the Infiniti Q70 next year, but for now, the 2013 Infiniti M is a Top Safety Pick. Read Update

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