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2011 Infiniti M56X (photos)

Infiniti's flagship sedan, the M, has never been quite stately enough to compete with Lexus' LS, BMW's 7-series or Mercedes-Benz's S-class; however, its latest version comes closer. Its big engine and newly luxurious interior puts it in the running.

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Wayne Cunningham
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Infiniti restyled its M sedan for the 2011 model year, and added a much bigger engine choice. Although the interior is much improved, the size of the M56X keeps it from truly competing with flagship sedans from luxury competitors.
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Infiniti established its design language earlier this decade, using raised fender lines embracing the hood's graceful curve. Rear styling on the M56X also creates a unique look with more curving architecture.
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Although you can still get the M with a 3.5-liter V-6 engine, the new top engine is this 5.6-liter V-8. It makes 420 horsepower and 417 pound-feet of torque, giving the M56X substantial acceleration.
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Although the front seats are quite comfortable, the rear area is just a little cramped, which keeps the M56X from competing with cars like the Mercedes-Benz S-class and Lexus LS.
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The X in the name means this car comes with all-wheel-drive. The suspension is not adjustable, but maintains a sporty firmness.
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Trunk space is not excessive, as the rear of the car is a little short.
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Infiniti did an excellent job improving the interior, using fine materials and a beautiful silver flecked gloss on the wood trim.
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The seven-speed-automatic transmission is the only gearbox choice. It lacks paddle shifters to give the car a sport character.
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This dial changes the power train response, and the Eco mode additionally actually creates resistance on the gas pedal to discourage fast acceleration.
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Along with its many driver aid features, the M56X has blind spot detection.
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Infiniti refined its cabin tech controller, making it more befitting a luxury car.
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The navigation system maps show some 3D buildings.
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Traffic data is used to dynamically reroute around problems.
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The M56X shows extensive weather information in its navigation system, including this countrywide map.
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Zagat ratings for restaurants are a helpful navigation feature, but the interface is poorly arranged.
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With iPod integration the M56X even shows album art.
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These shoulder speakers complement the other 12 speakers in the audio system, for a total of 16.
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The Bluetooth phone system includes dial by name voice command.
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With multiple numbers for an address contact, the car asks which one you want to dial.
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The M56X's rear view camera shows overlays for distance and trajectory, particularly useful for parallel parking.

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