The M56 is the range-topping, V8-packing model in Infiniti's M midsize luxury sedan lineup, which also includes the M Hybrid and the V6-powered M37. It boasts sporty rear-wheel-drive handling dynamics, a well-designed interior and loads of optional high-tech features wrapped together in a high-value package.
Flowing, organic lines coupled with an athletic stance define the M56s exterior. The theme carries over in the spacious interior, which is constructed from high-quality materials and features a somewhat button-filled center console thanks to the lack of an iDrive-style control knob.
The M56 packs plenty of muscle thanks to a 5.6-liter V8 that pumps out 420 horsepower and 417 lb-ft of torque. The engine is mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission that offers rev-matched downshifts. This powertrain combo is capable of sub-five-second zero-to-60 mph sprints and is rated at 16 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway. Those living in northern climates can opt for the M56x, which utilizes an all-wheel-drive system that enhances traction in inclement weather but takes a one mpg highway toll on gas mileage.
Standard and Optional Features
The M56 represents a strong value due to its high level of standard features, with highlights including leather upholstery, genuine ash wood trim, heated and power-adjustable front seats, a sunroof dual-zone automatic climate control, an intelligent key with push-button start, a rearview parking camera, Bluetooth smartphone connectivity, 18-inch aluminum wheels and a Bose AM/FM/CD audio system with a USB input and XM satellite radio. Also standard is a navigation system with an eight-inch WVGA color touch-screen display, XM NavTraffic with real-time traffic information, XM NavWeather with real-time weather and three-day forecast, Zagat restaurant guide, Streaming Audio via Bluetooth and a 9.3 GB Music Box hard drive.
Need more luxury and technology? The M56 offers several packages catered to your inner hedonist.
The Deluxe Touring Package brings an upgraded Bose Studio Surround sound system with digital 5.1-channel decoding and 16 speakers (including two personal speakers mounted in the shoulders of each front seat), a power rear sunshade, unique quilted seat pattern with contrasting piping and additional seat bolstering, suede-like headliner and a premium stitched meter hood.
The Technology Package includes a blind spot warning system (which can actually help steer the vehicle away from a collision with a vehicle in an adjacent lane), radar-based intelligent cruise control, a lane departure warning system, front seat pre-crash safety belts that tighten if an impending collision is detected and an intelligent brake assist system that audibly warns the driver of a potential collision and applies the brakes the reduce the severity when a collision is unavoidable.
Enthusiasts will want to opt for the Sport Package, which adds a sport suspension, upsized brakes, four-wheel active steering, sport seats, more aggressive front and rear fascias, paddle-shifters, a unique steering wheel and aluminum pedal accents. Previously available only on the rear-drive M56, for the latest model year the Sport Package can be spec'd on the all-wheel-drive M56x as well, and for both models it now includes a Bose Studio Surround sound system with 16 speakers, Infiniti's Forest Air climate control system and a power rear sunshade.
All M sedans come standard with dual front and side airbags, front and rear side curtain airbags, traction and stability control systems, electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist.
The M56 competes against mid-size sedans that blend style, luxury and performance. These include the BMW 5-Series, the Jaguar XF and the Audi A6.