Up for review is my 2012 Infiniti M37. I bought this second hand with minimal kilometres. There doesn’t seem to be many user reviews of Infinitis on the net, so I hope my review will be useful to prospective buyers. You’ll note I compare it sometimes to my previous VE SSV (manual), and do so because it’s a common car that most people know and can relate to (and one that I am intimately familiar with, and love). Feel free to ask any genuine questions about the M37 in the comments section.
The engine is surprisingly brilliant. Acceleration feels nearly as good as my previous SSV Commodore, and I’m surprised at its power. It’s a little ‘rattly’ at start up though. Fuel economy is nearly as bad as my old SSV too (ie woeful), which is a big disappointment (I do accelerate quickly from standstill however). There is a discernible difference between Sport/Normal and other modes, which is a useful feature (regrettably it does not tighten the suspension and is just engine related). There is a nice burbly engine note at idle, and under acceleration a harsher (though nice) note as well. Braking is good and predictable.
The transmission is a seven speed auto. Gear changes are near seamless. I have a long and steep driveway, and have noticed at the bottom of the slope and going upwards it struggles to find the right gear, taking a long time to downshift if you go slowly.
In respect of the drive, it is a little wallowy (compared to the SSV) going around roundabouts/corners at speed, though not disappointingly so. It handles very well in the wet. However, if it detects you’ll break traction (in the dry), the engine seems to ‘cut’, and it is a little jerky when doing so – I find that very annoying. There doesn’t seem to be any hint that it’ll bereak traction in the wet, unlike the SSV. Highway driving is superb, and it sits on about 2250RPM at 100km/h. It is more a highway cruiser with punchy acceleration than a performance car. In that regard, bumps and ruts that would see my previous SSV bounce over/semi absorb are totally absorbed by the M37. Whereas my wife refused to drive the SSV, and seemed embarrassed to sit in it (calling it the bevan machine), she loves driving the M37.
All up, it’s a pleasure to drive. It doesn’t ‘fang’ around corners and roundabouts as well as the SSV, but it certainly doesn’t feel out of control or unsafe – in fact, coming out of a corner or roundabout under acceleration it feels more planted in the back wheels.
There are quite a few scratches and scuffs (most just the clear coat and there before my ownership) and I cannot see what effect (if any) the scratch resistant paint is meant to have. Panel fit is decent all up, but the fit between the headlights and front bumper leaves a little to be desired. The sideskirts seem thin and flimsy. Chrome strip trim is a little loosely fitted.
There is an electric closing boot, lights under the door handles when you unlock (nice touch), and the headlights are bright and self-adjusting (annoyingly, fog/driving lights cannot be set to turn on when the autolights turn on). The headlights also turn when you do, which is useful.
Whilst in size it is about the same as the SSV, it just doesn’t seem as big when it comes to manoeuvring or driving it and it doesn’t feel as though you’re driving a large car. I’d suggest drivers who are perturbed at the prospect of driving a large car would be surprised with the M37. However, one of the major flaws the M37 has is visibility through the angle of the driver A-pillar, which is made doubly poor by virtue of the protruding upward arc of the front right fender, particularly when turning say right at the lights and looking for the kerb to avoid it, and going round roundabouts especially. I found rear vision poor as well through the rear pillars and find myself craning my neck to check several times to be safe before changing lane. These aspects are very annoying, and potentially unsafe.
As to its appearance, I find it striking and very good looking, particularly from the rear. It looks better ‘in the flesh’ than in pictures. I don’t like the look of the mag wheels however.
The interior is (subjectively) beautiful aesthetically. The wood trim is very well done, and panel fit is good. Metal highlights appear solid and seem to be made from solid matte aluminium. There are hard plastics where I didn’t expect however (ie centre console, steering wheel stalk/airbag cover/horn button etc) and some of the switchgear seems a little ‘cheap’ and ‘plasticky’, such as the indicator stalk and some of the buttons on the steering wheel. The console armrest, instrument binnacle, some of the door panels, front seat backs and other miscellaneous trim are of thin (but 100% genuine) vinyl. The floor carpet is short, but it is real carpet and quite thick.
Interior vehicle noise is very good, and the windows appear to be double glazed. Under acceleration, the engine has a nice rorty note which you can still hear (I like exhaust note), albeit faintly with the windows up. I haven’t encountered any squeaks or rattles inside.
The seats are the most comfortable in a car that I’ve sat in, and the rear seats are even better than the front comfort-wise. The seats are akin to a gel top mattress. The front seats are fully adjustable electrically and have heating/cooling, with the steering wheel having heating only. The cooling is via a faint breeze which comes through the seat perforations – it’s a good feature if you get hot easily. The middle rear seat does suffer from transmission tunnel intrusion. There are perforations in the seats, which if you have kids, will know is a nightmare due to the gunk that seems to get trapped in them.
Worryingly, the leather on top of the rear seats has minute cracking already, and the driver seat is already losing form on the bottom and original burnish too – this doesn’t effect comfort but is visually an issue. I found my left knee has problems finding a ‘good spot’ to rest against the centre console, which is annoying (I’m 6’2″ with long legs). That is because where the centre console joins the middle of the dashboard it seems too high and bulbous. The centre console area is wider and has more arm comfort than the SSV.
Interior space is excellent and the car can carry 4 large adults with a small/medium size adult in the rear middle. The rear seats seem higher than the front, which gives the rear passengers a bit of a view, and mitigates children feeling carsick in the back. By way of contrast, the front seats seem larger than my previous SSV, whereas the rear seat section seems smaller (legroom except for middle seat is good however). There are no rear door pockets and only a very small opening in the rear armrest between cabin and boot. The glovebox is ample and the centre console storage is vast. There is no light or cooling in the console storage, which is annoying. The rear armrest storage is good and can hold an Ipad, box of tissues, sundry small toys and 2 drinks. There are four drink holders all up.
Cockpit layout is excellent. I have found no issue with some of the control buttons angled (very slightly) away from me on the console under the Sat/Nav. The steering wheel is fully adjustable (electric toggle) and there is driver preference memory, which is easy to set up. For taller people, there is a function where the driver seat slides back and the wheel lifts when you get out of the car. The leather wheel wrap I suspect will not last long and it seems to have minute cracks already. I am very annoyed that there is no digital speedometer and that the fuel economy readout is not numeric but a horizontal bar graph. The dot matrix info window in between the instruments is ugly and pretty useless.
Instruments are clear and easy to read and are backlit in soft white (I dislike garish instrument lighting). The Sat/Nav screen is huge and doubles for the rear view/park sensor/DVD screen, as well as for certain information parameters for the mechanics (ie tyre pressure, service interval etc). The interior rear view mirror is ungainly and has a horrible shroud with plastic tubes coming off it – it does have auto dimming (works well), which seems to tinge the headlights of cars behind you green.
The airconditioning is brilliant, easy to use, quick to function, and not too noisy. The “Forest Air” function is not a gimmick, and the air is kept odour free and purified. Sometimes it smells like air freshener, which I think is a function of it.
The Satnav is perfect, with a large, crisp touchscreen and countless functions. The navigation voice is a neutral female voice (GB accent) and is pleasant. Bluetooth took about 1 minute to set up and I think you can pair several phones. Using Bluetooth is very easy and sound quality is good. The stereo’s sound quality however is average to ok, and you can load your CD’s to a hardrive, which is fantastic. Switching between songs is easy.
You can choose to use some functions either through the Satnav touchscreen or buttons/dials on the console and/or steering wheel. This is handy when driving. Shorter drivers may find it a little hard to reach the touch screen and some of the buttons on the console.
There is a DVD player, but it is next to useless because it cannot function when driving (who sits in a parked car to watch DVD’s?).
I’m not very tech savvy, so my observations here may be a little naïve.
Time will tell as to the leather durability and driver seat bolstering on the bottom, as well as the leather bound steering wheel – I think it won’t hold up though. Whilst it appears to be of superior quality than what I had in the SSV, it seems a little more ‘fragile’. As far as I can tell, the back seats are full leather (except for headrests) whereas the front seats are full leather on the front but vinyl on the back (the vinyl seems thick).
As to paint issues, I’m dubious as to the scratch resistance. The mag wheels had some sort of fault in the paint too where black specks appeared under the silver paint – this is being fixed under warranty. There were several other very disappointing issues that arose at delivery, however these are commercial matters.
I had a rattle under the car (I suspect loose exhaust pipe/bracket) which was fixed and sometimes the brake pedal clicks when depressed. There was an intermittent knock (sounded like a perished bush) from the front suspension on turning slowly and going over speedbumps, but this seems to have been fixed.
The instrument binnacle is covered with vinyl and would seem to need constant applications of Armorall to keep from cracking (it feels thin and cheap).
I am a fussy person however when it comes to the cosmetics, and this may not trouble people who aren’t as fussy as I.
Servicing costs seem reasonable (fixed price from between about $350 to $550) and you are offered a free loan car whilst under service/repair (another Infiniti – I got a Q50). I also have free road side assist and the balance of 4year/100,000km (I think?) warranty.
I hope mechanically it will prove reliable. The engine oil is now about 6000 kilometres since last change, and is still gold/amber with no sign of burn or use.
In summary, a very good car but overpriced when new, and in my view (after having owned it for several months) should be at around say $60K new. It does, in many aspects, have a ‘premium/luxury’ feel and actual premium quality, but some aspects let it down slightly. If you’re thinking of getting one (but only do so at the right price), then I’d recommend it. Make sure you thoroughly check to see if those driving vision issues I identified will impact upon you.
Thanks for reading my review.