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November 2004

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2004 Infiniti M45 Sedan 

The Good: Distinctive styling. 340 Horsepower. Precise steering. Loads of technology built in.

The Bad:  Confined feeling inside, not airy and roomy. Window switches, arm rest, sunroof have a dated feeling.  Wide turning circle. High wind noise and air leaks from B pillar at high speeds.


Recently Infiniti has made a reputation of building high quality cars with forward thinking style and features. This 2004 model M45 is a model that blends technology, styling, and sports car drivability into a single package.  The M45 holds an important place in Infiniti's lineup of powerful rear-wheel drive sedans, positioned between the flagship Q45 - with which it shares many major drivetrain components - and the smaller G35 Sport Sedan.  The M45 carves out a unique position in the segment where others offer V6 engines and little technology for the price.

"The design of the M45 is highly distinctive, both inside and out.  The exterior offers a strong, integrated appearance," said Mark Igo, vice president and general manager, Infiniti Division.  "The interior places a priority on progressive technology.  It combines comfort for passengers and control for the driver and comes standard with the Q45's popular Vehicle Information System with large, multi-function LCD screen."         

The M45's exterior design offers distinction and differentiation from other products available in the market. The front end is enhanced by an aggressive front grille, with wide black chrome horizontal bars, which flow into the sporty, high-intensity discharge xenon headlight design.  The rakish front and rear end create a silhouette that is dynamic.  The overall body length contributes to a luxurious attitude. The rear styling offers a simple yet sporty form, with swept back C-pillar, tapered rear appearance and highly visible combination lamps. Other exterior features include body-colored side molding and chrome door handles along with large chrome wheels.  The M45 is 'hot' by any standard. 

Standard on all models is an aluminum-alloy, double overhead-cam, 4.5-liter V8 engine that produces 340 horsepower and 333 lb-ft of torque.  Controlling this powerplant is a standard 5-speed automatic transmission with improved manual shift mode operation for 2004.  The engine is very quick with immediate response to all requests and seamless up shifts.  Zero to sixty times of 5.8 seconds were achieved with plenty of power left to allow you to keep on going.   All we can complain about is the slight lag when punching the pedal and the abruptness of the power when it does come on.  Other performance features include Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC), which helps improve vehicle stability during understeer, oversteer or adverse road conditions, an integral Traction Control System (TCS), Brake Assist (BA) with Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD) and vehicle speed-sensitive power rack-and-pinion steering. 

The M45's aggressive handling, outstanding stability and responsive steering are provided by an independent strut suspension with coil springs in the front and an independent multi-link suspension in the rear.  Standard 18-inch wheels and 235/45WR18 high performance tires contribute to the crisp performance and responsive chassis capability.  Body lean was very low but noticeable and the wide platform allows for great handling with a small amount of bounce in the suspension.  Overall it is a very solid feeling but one that does not surpass the feeling in a Audi or BMW.  Braking power is another feature that we feel was good but somehow the G35x we tested earlier was much better and quicker. 

The interior of the M45 shows significant resemblance to other Infiniti and Nissan models, especially the Q45.  The main focus centers on the large control screen which shows information for climate, stereo, and navigation systems.  Front seats are more contoured than the Q45 with significant side bolstering but with soft bottoms.  Special Sojourner leather was designed exclusively for Infiniti by expert craftsmen in Florence, Italy.  We did not say 'ahh' or 'ooo' when we touched this special leather like we did when we felt the leather in the recently tested G35x.  The leather is perforated however, and nice touches on the door panels make for a upscale feeling.

A 10-way power adjustable front seat and 4-way power adjustable passenger seat are standard.  We would have liked the passenger seat to be fully adjustable as well, especially in height.  Drivers seat memory for 2 persons is very convenient as it remembers seat, mirrors, steering wheel tilt and telescope adjustments, the drivers seat also moves back when you are exiting the vehicle.  The front seats also feature heating and cooling with fans blowing air to keep you from getting moist. 

We did not like the seat adjustment buttons on the seat bottoms and wished they were on the doors in a more visible location.  The rear seats are large and comfortable with a slight angle as in BMW vehicles.  The large front seats however did tend to provide little knee room for the people in back and overall it is a tight fit back there.  On long journeys we did get tired and learned that the M45's seats were not the most comfortable of all the cars we have driven.  Another quirk was the odd location of the trunk and gas cap releases down under the driver's door armrest.  The trunk also did not have any way of opening on the lid itself, but it does offer automatic latching, so just lightly tap it down and watch it self-seal. 

The interior wood trim is called Bird's Eye Maple in a grey color.  It did add a nice elegant touch of sportiness.  The instrument cluster glows amber at night along with all controls in the central stack.  The Bose 225 watt digital audio system with 7 speakers and a nicely styled 6-disc CD changer was great and is standard equipment.  The M45 also offers an integrated satellite radio system in its main control screen.  Dual zone automatic temperature control worked very well especially in the auto setting.  There are also many things that you can take for granted, and which most other car manufacturer's charge extra for.  These include dimming rear and outside mirrors, heated outside mirrors with tilt down function when you put the transmission in reverse, Homelink garage door openers, a full size spare tire and a tire pressure monitoring system. 

The DVD navigation system is very quick and easy to control.  Great features include being able to put in the name and state of a business and it will find the address for you quickly.  The system also allows you to put in a phone number from which it can find an address.  It is quite amazing.  The only problem we had was that the background color had to be manually set and was not automatically changing in day or evening lighting conditions.  Voice input of all climate, navigation and stereo controls did not work so well for us as well.  The voice control system is not as good as those found in BMW or Mercedes models. 

The other great feature of this car is the Intelligent cruise control.  The system uses lasers to maintain a set distance from a car ahead of you.  It works quite well even keeping a larger distance at its maximum speed of 90 mph and a shorter distance at slower speeds.  You can also adjust the distance from 3 settings on the steering wheel.  This system really does keep you in a safe position on the road.  However, we did find drivers squeezing into that spot ahead of our car, and this large spot made us an easy target for speed traps as our car was out in the open while others were driving in a long chain close to one another. 

Behind the wheel we also noticed the poor turning radius of the M45.  In this respect the car feels like a large SUV.  We also found that during fast driving there were numerous air leaks from the outer edges of the windows.  The HID headlights performed well and were quite bright.  The M45 has standard halogen high beams pointing dead center, casting a beam very tall.  The HID low beams allow for adjustment at the touch of a button so that you can lower them if oncoming traffic is bothered in your neighborhood.  The glass sunroof with one touch function was great, but when open, it was very loud, which rendered it useless.  We also did not like the dated controls for the sunroof.  Rear windows are not one-touch open and close, something we liked a lot on the G35x.

The M45 also features dual-stage front supplemental air bags with seat belt sensors, front-seat side-impact supplemental air bags, front and rear curtain side-impact supplemental air bags and active head restraints for the front seats. Also standard are 3-point ALR/ELR seat belts (driver's side ELR only) and front seat belts with pretensioners and load limiters and adjustable upper anchors.  Additional safety features include an energy-absorbing steering column; front and rear crumple zones with hood buckling creases and safety stops, body side reinforcements and LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) system in outboard rear seating positions.

Gas mileage with city and highway mixed driving comes in at about 17 miles per gallon during our mixed test.  Highway mileage is reported at 23 mpg.  The basic warranty is for 4 years or 60,000 miles, so if you like to drive a lot this warranty if for you.

The M45's price starts off at $43,250, which is a great price for such a loaded car.  Add to this XM satellite radio for $400.  The premium package with chrome features climate controlled front seats with fans and heating or cooling, a power sliding glass sunroof, voice recognition, and chrome finished 18-inch wheels, all for $3,200.  The technology package features DVD based navigation system and laser intelligent cruise control for $2,700.  Trunk mats and destination brings the total to $50,155. 

For 2005 a totally new M45 model will be appearing in showrooms.  Therefore now is not the time to buy this vehicle unless you love its exterior styling.  The new model is significantly more futuristic and is highly advanced.  You can find information and pictures of this here.

Overall the M45 signifies a great leap forward in Infiniti's ability to match the road feeling offered by BMW and Audi vehicles.  The amount of technology offered in this car is far beyond what you will receive from German makes as well.  Please watch our videos and look at the comparison chart below for the details, the new 2005 model is on top of our list for an amazing ride next year.  Infiniti also comes on top in all customer satisfaction-rating studies from dealer service to build quality. 


Base Pricing 39,130 43,250
Destination 590 590
Navigation/Voice Recognition Pkg 2,155 2,500
Premium Pkg A
(Std w/Premium Pkg B-P02) Includes Power Glass Moon Roof, Heat/Cool Climate Control Front Seats & Voice Recognition System.
1,896 2,200
Premium Pkg B
Includes Premium Pkg A Plus Chrome Wheels.
2,757 3,200
Technology Pkg
(Req's Premium Pkg A-P01 or B-P02) Includes Navigation System, Intelligent Speed Control & 7" LCD Screen..
2,327 2,700
Moon Roof, Power Glass 862 1,000


  2004 Infiniti M45
4dr Sedan (4.5L 8cyl 5A)
2004 BMW 5 Series
545i 4dr Sedan (4.4L 8cyl 6A)
2005 Audi A6
4.2 quattro AWD 4dr Sedan (4.2L 8cyl 6A)
2005 Chrysler 300
C Rwd 4dr Sedan (5.7L 8cyl 5A)
2005 Acura RL
3.5 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 5A)
MSRP $43,250 $55,000 $50,500 $32,870 $48,900
Invoice $39,747 $50,210 $46,583 $30,423 $43,536
Basic 4 yr. / 60000 mi. 4 yr. / 50000 mi. 4 yr. / 50000 mi. 3 yr. / 36000 mi. 4 yr. / 50000 mi.
Base Engine Type & Cylinders V8 V8 V8 V8 V6
Base Engine Displacement 4.5 liters 4.4 liters 4.2 liters 5.7 liters 3.5 liters
Valvetrain 32 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
32 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
40 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
16 Valves
overhead valves (OHV)
24 Valves
single overhead cam (SOHC)
Horsepower 340 hp @ 6400 rpm 325 hp @ 6100 rpm 335 hp @ 6600 rpm 340 hp @ 5000 rpm 300 hp @ 6200 rpm
Torque 333 ft-lbs. @ 4000 rpm 330 ft-lbs. @ 3600 rpm 310 ft-lbs. @ 3500 rpm 390 ft-lbs. @ 4000 rpm 260 ft-lbs. @ 5000 rpm
Driven Wheels rear wheel drive rear wheel drive all wheel drive rear wheel drive all wheel drive
Tires P235/45WR18
all season
all season
Navigation System DVD navigation system - Optional DVD navigation system - Optional DVD navigation system - Optional CD navigation system - Optional DVD navigation system
Turning Circle 40 ft. 37.5 ft. 39 ft. 38.9 ft. 39.7 ft.
Max. Cargo Capacity 13 cu. ft. 14 cu. ft. 16 cu. ft. 16 cu. ft. 13 cu. ft.
City 17 mpg. 18 mpg. 17 mpg. 17 mpg. 18 mpg.
Highway 23 mpg. 26 mpg. 23 mpg. 25 mpg. 26 mpg.
Length 197.2 in. 190.6 in. 193.5 in. 196.8 in. 193.6 in.
Width 69.7 in. 72.7 in. 73 in. 74.1 in. 72.7 in.
Height 57.6 in. 58 in. 57.4 in. 58.4 in. 57.1 in.
Weight 3851 lbs. 3814 lbs. 4145 lbs. 4066 lbs. 3984 lbs.
Wheel Base 110.2 in. 113.7 in. 111.9 in. 120 in. 110.2 in.
Front Headroom 39.8 in. 37.7 in. 37.5 in. 38.7 in. 38.5 in.
Rear Headroom 37.3 in. 37.9 in. 37.8 in. 38 in. 37.2 in.
Front Shoulder Room 54.7 in. 57.3 in. 57.1 in. 59.4 in. 58.5 in.
Rear Shoulder Room 54.1 in. 57.2 in. 55.9 in. 57.7 in. 56.1 in.
Front Hip Room 54.6 in.     55.9 in. 55.1 in.
Rear Hip Room 52.7 in.     55.9 in. 54 in.
Front Leg Room 42.1 in. 41.5 in. 41.3 in. 41.8 in. 42.4 in.
Rear Leg Room 32.5 in. 36 in. 36.9 in. 40.2 in. 36.3 in.
Maximum Luggage Capacity 12.6 cu.ft. 14 cu.ft. 15.9 cu.ft. 15.6 cu.ft. 13.1 cu.ft.


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