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THE SOPHISTICATED MUSCLE CAR

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Mon, Jun 23, 2003

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

 

THE SOPHISTICATED MUSCLE CAR

By HARVEY SCHWARTZ All Photos & © by Harvey Schwartz

In their advertisements Infiniti likes to call the all-new M45 sport sedan “the muscle car with brains”, I see it as a new type of sedan with lots of muscle and sophistication.

Right now Infiniti is on a tear introducing several all-new vehicles and winning awards along the way. The M45 is nicely positioned between the larger, more expensive Q45 sedan and the smaller, all-new G35 sedan, which won Motor Trend Magazine’s ‘New Car of the Year’ award. For me the M45 is the right size with great power and a long list of high performance features and interior amenities with a price competitive with premium 6-cylinder vehicles. The design of the M45 is unique and distinctive, both inside and out. The front end is enhanced by an aggressive front grille with wide black chrome slats that flow into the sporty, high intensity discharge xenon headlight design. From the side, the silhouette forms a dynamic wedge shape running along the 110.2in. wheelbase. The slightly flared fenders are nicely stuffed with big P235/45R18in. high-performance radial tires wrapped around with gorgeous 18X7.5in. 8-spoke, aluminum wheels with a titanium finish. Infiniti says that the coefficient of drag is a very low 0.31.

The rear styling offers a simple yet sport form, with swept back C-pillar, tapered rear and highly visible combination lamps with 2-wide, polished stainless steel exhaust tips under the bumper. The looks are very clean, as if the M45 were cast from a solid piece of metal. The stiff and rigid, high-strength steel unitized frame features body panels formed from 2-sided galvanized steel sheet metal. The muscle can be found under the hood with the standard aluminum alloy, dohc, 4.5liter V8 engine that produces a prodigious 340hp at 6,400rpm and 333lb.ft. of torque at 4,000rpm. This powerplant is hooked up to a 5-speed electronically controlled automatic OD transmission with a gated shifter and an easy, fun to use manual shift mode. The front engine/rear-wheel drive setup gets the M45 going very quickly with 0-60mph acceleration in just 6.1sec. and covering the 1/4mi. in 14.4sec. at 98mph. Top speed is electronically governed to 155mph but the M45 could go a lot faster.

Managing the handling of this powerful sport sedan is a sophisticated fully independent suspension system featuring, up front, struts, coil springs, gas-charged shocks and stabilizer bar. The rear features a multi-link setup with coil springs, gas-charged shocks and stabilizer bar. The electrically controlled, vehicle speed sensitive, power-assisted rack & pinion steering system is a prefect match and responds quickly to your every input at speed. When going into curving roads the crisp response is evident as you go deep and let the rear swing out slightly, easing up on the throttle and quickly getting the rear back for straight-line acceleration. The big18X7.5in. high-performance tires also respond with excellent traction. The M45 gets through the 600ft. slalom at 61mph. The power brakes are state-of-the-art steel discs, 11.4in. up front with dual-piston calipers, while the rear discs measure 11.5in. clamped with a single piston caliper. You benefit with ABS, electronic brake force distribution and brake assist to quickly bring you to a safe and short stop. The M45 brakes from 60mph to 0 in just 120ft. It could be even better with 13in. front rotors and 12in. rear rotors.

While the M45 is a ‘driver’s car’, Infiniti also designed the interior for comfort and safety. The luxurious sport contoured front bucket seats are finished with soft, Infiniti-exclusive leather seating surfaces. A 10-way power adjustable driver’s and 4-way power passenger seat is standard on every M45. You can also choose optional Climate Controlled Seats (CCS’) with heating and cooling to enhance comfort in all climate conditions. The interior features a leather/wood, power tilting/telescoping steering wheel that feels great in your hands, genuine Bird’s Eye Maple wood trim with smoke graphite colored performance oriented four-dial instrument cluster. The M45’s high tech luxury amenities include an optional DVD-based navigation system, Intelligent Cruise Control that maintains driver selected following distance and the state-of-the-art Voice Recognition System from the Q45. Other standard features include a 225watt Bose premium digital audio system with 7-speakers, AM-FM stereo cassette player/6-CD changer, dual-zone electronic temperature control, dual power-remote-controlled side mirrors that tilt down, are heated and self-dimming on the driver’s side, electro-chromic rearview mirror with LED compass heading, rear console mounted air vents, Infiniti analog clock, power-windows/door locks, a good amount of interior storage space, including a very large trunk with center pass-thru, variable speed wipers/washers, theater lighting, grab handles mounted above each door, full perimeter thick pile carpeting/floor mats and rear fold-down center console with dual cup holders.

For safety, the M45 comes standard with dual stage front supplemental air bags, front side-impact airbags, front and rear curtain side impact supplemental airbags and active head restraints up front along with 3-point safety belts for all seats with the front seats featuring pretensioners and load limiters. Passive safety features include an energy absorbing steering column, front and rear crush zones, hood buckling creases, and safety stops, body-side reinforcements, and LATCH child seat tethers in the outboard rear seating positions. With a base sticker price of just $42,300.00, the M45 is set apart from other vehicles in the mid-luxury segment because the M45 is infused with lots of power and performance with luxury features normally seen only in high-end flagship models. The all-new 2003 Infiniti M45 is a new type of performance sedan for the 21st. century, a car with lots of brains and lots of brawn for under $45,000.00.

 

More information can be found at www.infiniti.com

COPYRIGHT:2003:HARVEY SCHWARTZ

SPECIFICIATIONS Engine type: 4.5-liter DOHC 32-valve V8 with aluminum-alloy block and heads and molybdenum coated pistons Valvetrain: DOHC 4-valves-per-cylinder, titanium valves with continuous variable valve timing control Horsepower: 340 hp @ 6,400 rpm Torque: 333 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm Drive configuration: Front engine/rear-wheel drive Transmission type: 5-speed electronically controlled automatic overdrive transmission with gated console shifter and manual shift mode Front suspension: Independent strut with stabilizer bar and coil springs Rear suspension: Independent multi-link with stabilizer bar and coil springs Wheels and tires: 18-inch 8-spoke aluminum-alloy wheels, “Titanium Alloy” finish (7.5 JJ x 18) 235/45R18 W-rated high-performance radial tires Brakes: Front: 11.4-inch x 1.1-inch power-assisted vented disc Rear: 11.5” x 0.6” power-assisted vented disc Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist 4-channel/4-sensor Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) Overall length: 197.2 Overall width: 69.7 Overall height: 57.6 Curb weight (lbs.): 3,851 EPA mileage estimates City/ Highway: 17/23 mpg 0-60 mph: N/A 0-100 mph: N/A 60-0 mph: N/A

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