2013 Infiniti M56 Review

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2013 Infiniti M56 Overview

Moving into 2013, Infiniti's highest tier of its flagship midsize M sedan benefits from the same updates as its small-block brothers while gaining some new inclusions to option packs that were already available for 2012 and just became available to all-wheel-drive (AWD) versions for 2013. Apparently the glaring lack of complaints has allowed Infiniti some room to sweeten the deal on an already drool-worthy lineup featuring stylish looks, awe-inspiring cabins, cutting-edge technology, rip-roaring performance and even fuel efficiency with the addition of a remarkable hybrid for 2012.

Believe it or not, side by side that M35h hybrid performs no differently from the V8-powered M56. Well, unless you count fuel economy as part of performance—in that case, the hybrid wins hands down with an impressive 27 mpg city/32 highway. However, if you count the engine's song as part of its performance, the beefy 420 hp and 417 lb-ft of torque roaring out of the tailpipe of the M56's V8 beats the M35h and its whiny Vehicle Sound for Pedestrians (VSP) module any day, though it means sucking up and dealing with an expectedly unimpressive 16/25 mpg at best.

Nevertheless, both accelerate to 60 mph from a standstill in just over 5 seconds, and both offer the same sporting small-car feel, but the M35h comes with a firm sporty ride by default and only rear-wheel drive (RWD), whereas the M56 can be had in a more touring form, and its sporty side is now available to AWD M56x buyers for 2013.

The Sport Package newly available to M56x buyers is also expanded from the 2012 RWD-only option pack to include a 16-speaker Bose Surround-Sound system, Forest Air purification and a power rear sunshade above the Sport Package's usual 20-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, sport-tuned suspension, sport breaks, solid magnesium paddle shifters, enhanced sport seats and unique front end. 2013 buyers of the Sport Package also benefit from a new Stone Sport interior color option, and a renewed Performance Tire and Wheel Package offers sport brakes and 20-inch wheels and tires instead of the previous 18-inchers.

Like every other 2013 M the M56 and M56x also gain auto-dimming side-view mirrors and an automatic trunk cincher to make closing the lid on those 15 cubic feet of cargo space a bit easier. For those especially taken by this beauty's derrière, the Premium Package now includes a rear sonar system to keep it beautiful and Infiniti Connection for immediate assistance—among other things, of course, as is typical of today's infotainment systems.

With an engine second to none in its premium-fuel class for rip-roaring power balanced with fuel efficiency, more technology than you could fit in a phone book and impeccable style inside and out, the M56 would be a rare breed even before you consider its responsive yet supple dynamics and cavernous room for 5. Infiniti isn't exaggerating in its advertising—the M56 truly does challenge the status quo of luxury. Taken as a whole, Infiniti's M series really should be considered a class of one, but I think that might break some law somewhere. This trio is a remarkable set worthy of at least a spot on your short list.

Updated

Your prototypical "Tom Girl" Patricia got her start digging into Ford engines before she aged into double digits. Gifted with a mechanical mind, her favorite pass-time in the summer is picking up a fixer-up'r at the local public auction and massaging its every ailment until it's primed for a new lover. From dirt bikes to land yachts, every partner offers something truly special in her love affair with the road - just don't tell her husband.

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