Infiniti’s introduction to South Africa brought with it a full range of vehicles, from a two door drop-top through to a luxury SUV. In between lies the M30d, a mid-size luxury saloon aimed to strike a blow across the bow of Germany’s premium range such as the BMW 5 and Mercedes E-Class.
Unlike Lexus, Nissan’s luxury arm decided to offer a diesel motor right off the bat – realising that soaring fuel prices and increasing environmental awareness are real-life considerations for their customers. And it does make the M more appealing, considering the alternate is a 3.7 litre V6 from the 370Z. The M30d’s 3.0 litre turbo diesel boasts figures that are run-of-the-mill rather than astounding, as you might expect from a motor nicked out of the Navara.
On the road the motor and gearbox combo lacks ambition under about 2500rpm and is a little rough low down. Once you’ve woken everything up and have the turbo spooled you get a real sense for the amount of torque that’s on tap. The M will drag its 1.8 ton mass to 100km/h in 6.9 seconds and go on to hit the limiter at 250km/h. You can’t be overly aggressive though, as the mere thought of loutish behaviour invokes the full wrath of Infiniti’s safety electronic systems.
Handling is non-specific, nicely weighted but gives no real feel or feedback. The M boasts Infiniti’s rear wheel steering system, however acts more as a method of decreasing the turning circle than adding any sporting credentials. The flip side is that comfort comes aplenty thanks to the M’s subtle damping.
While the German’s currently abide by a “less is more” design philosophy, the Japanese see it best to overwhelm occupants with a splurge of buttons and dials and toggle’s to control the minefield of standard features offered with the M. The list is truly endless and contains everything that opens and shuts along with CTM’s full range of kitchen sinks. But the arrangement lacks finesse. On the up side the array of buttons doesn’t detract from the amount of space inside the cabin, which is cavernous to say the least.
My review wouldn’t be complete without mention of Infiniti’s Dynamic Safety Shield. Things like blind-spot intervention, Distance Control Assist (which incorporates a system that pushes back on the accelerator) and Lane Departure Prevention form part of a ‘safety bubble’ that Infiniti believe fits with modern transportation. All these do in fact make it quite difficult to crash the M – good thing when you consider the price tag, which is steep even if well spec’d.
You see that’s exactly where the M30d’s problem lies. The BMW 530d, Mercedes E350CDi and Audi A6 TDi. All of the above are cars you could easily justify buying. The Infiniti then is left for the outsider, the deliberately wilful, rather than the rational consumer.
Price: R 672 539
Engine: 2993cc V6 turbo charged diesel
Power (kW): 175
Torque (Nm): 550
Acceleration (0-100km/h): 6.9
Top Speed (km/h): 250
Fuel Consumption (l/100km): 7.5 (claimed)
First published in Autodealer KZN