One of our favorite things about the Infiniti M35 is its phenomenal voice-recognition capabilities. Having pushed the Talk button on the M35's steering wheel, we were presented with a menu of possible voice inputs on the in-dash LCD screen. We like that the system is ready to accept destinations for any state, unlike many others we have seen that require users to preselect a region of the country.
The standard M35 Sport comes with Nissan's tried-and-trusted 3.5-liter V-6, which drives the rear wheels via a five-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode and downshift rev matching. The M35 Sport's 275-horspeower V-6 endows it with brisk pick-up from standing, and more than adequate power for hauling tail on the open road.
From the M35's rear seats, the upgraded Bose audio system sounds is terrific, and for those who splash out an extra $1,500 on the rear-seat entertainment system with the 8-inch ceiling-mounted display, the theater experience is impressive.
Rosewood trim is a stylish $600 option that replaces the M35's standard brushed-aluminum accents with a veritable forest of wood that covers the central column, the dash, and the front and rear door sills.
Nissan incorporates a number of unique elements into its maps, including specifically rendered points of interest. For example, when driving around San Francisco, we saw icons for City Hall, the Transamerica Pyramid, and the Bay Bridge. Maps are clear and well rendered, and the navigation system offers an impressive selection of views including a very useful bird's eye perspective, which we found particularly helpful when driving in urban situations.
ndependent front- and multilink rear sport-tuned suspension provides a firm ride with plenty of road-surface feedback, while the M35's 19-inch alloy wheels wrapped in W-rated rubber keep the car hanging on in sharp cornering. Speed-sensitive power assist comes as standard on the M35 Sport, as does Infiniti's vehicle dynamic control and traction control systems.
After being so impressed with the voice recognition system when entering destinations, we have to admit to being disappointed with the M35's ability to understand our attempts to dial by voice. For those with less patience, the system can also be programmed via the dash-mounted buttons and the dial.
The M35's intelligent cruise control (ICC) system, which is activated by pushing a button the steering wheel-mounted cruise control button followed by the Set function on the toggle switch located above. Another button enables drivers to select one of three proximity settings, depending on how closely they wish to follow the car ahead of them on the freeway. In practice, the ICC felt spasmodic at times--sometimes braking for no apparent reason.