It might seem obvious in hindsight, but the climate control systems in most cars haven't seen many updates since their introduction. Sure, they're more sophisticated, with dual-zone thermostats and automatic operation. But underneath, they're still the same basic systems.
Not so in the 2011 Infiniti M. While it still offers cooling and heating, it adds to the package with air flow, odor and humidity controls.
Filtering cabin air isn't anything new--a lot of standard passenger cars do it. But Infiniti's Forest Air sytstem also includes a built-in "Plasmacluster" electronic air purifier to not just filter odors, but to actively seek them out and destroy them.
Another unique feature of the Forest Air system is the addition of humidity control. Rather than just filling the cabin with warmer or cooler ambient-moisture air, the Forest Air system adjusts humidity to what Infiniti calls optimum levels based on the systems other settings. What exactly constitutes optimum humidity remains to be seen.
Finally, the Forest Air system also takes a new approach to moving air around the cabin. Unlike a conventional system's vents, which just pipe air out at a range of velocities, the Forest Air system attempts to create a "gentle breeze." The goal is to provide air circulation that feels natural, rather than feeling like part of an industrial jerky machine.
A range of sensors and feedback loops make this complex level of climate control possible, and Infiniti seems very proud of the results. We'll have to withhold judgment until we've experienced it for ourselves, behind the wheel of the 2011 Infiniti M--and we'll bring you the latest as soon as we do.