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Specs on the 2011 Infiniti M37

Sunday, May 30, 2010; F01

Bottom line: Top-line safety in premium luxury cars such as the Infiniti M37 should go the way of exclusive health insurance policies -- migrating downward to the masses. Honda, Hyundai, Ford, GM and Nissan, thankfully, are beginning to do that. Life and death on the road should not be determined by the size of one's pocketbook.

Ride, acceleration and handling: Excellent marks in all three.

Head-turning quotient: Simply beautiful. Reminiscent of a glass sculpture inside and out -- everything smooth, flowing, uninterrupted. Loving this one is easy.

Body style/layout: The M37 is a front-engine, midsize premium luxury sedan available with rear-wheel or all-wheel-drive (as driven for this column). It has four doors and a traditional notch-back trunk.

Engine/transmission: The standard M37 engine is a 3.7-liter V-6 with 330 horsepower, 270 foot-pounds of torque, and 24 valves with electronically controlled valve lift and timing for better power output and fuel efficiency. It is linked to a seven-speed transmission equipped with hill-holder control. The transmission can be operated automatically or manually.

Capacities: There are seats for five people. Maximum luggage capacity is 15 cubic feet. The fuel tank holds 20 gallons of gasoline -- premium is recommended "for best performance."

Mileage: Look folks, know what you're getting. The Infiniti M37 is a high-performance car, a breed not known for top fuel economy. As such, it gets a somewhat decent 17 miles per gallon in the city and 24 mpg on the highway. And, again, that's premium gas recommended.

Safety: Top marks from the federal National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Institute for Highway Safety. The lane-departure-warning and blind-side-protection systems are part of an optional, $3,000 technology package. Get them. Standard equipment includes front and rear ventilated disc brakes, four-wheel anti-lock brake protection, emergency braking assistance, electronic stability and traction control, side airbags, rear head air bags.

Price: Base price on the M37 with all-wheel drive is $48,400. Dealer's invoice is $44,682. Price as tested is $56,415, including $7,150 in options and a $865 destination charge. Dealer's price as tested is $51,729. Compare with Audi A6, BMW 5-series, Buick LaCrosse CSX with HiPerstrut, BMW 5-Series, Cadillac CTS-V, Lexus GS350, 2011 Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Lincoln MkZ.

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