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6 SPEED TEST DRIVE: 2012 Infiniti M Hybrid

Six things you need to know about the 2012 Infiniti M Hybrid!

1.  If looks could kill.  The optional Japanese White Ash wood trim with silver powder accents is a must-see feature that gives the whole dash a rich, wooden glow.  Consider it a must.  Also, as you approach the vehicle from outside with the key fob, elegant door handle lights illuminate, increasing the car’s curb appeal and impressing your friends at the same time.

2. Silence is a virtue.  “Is it even on?” we asked when cranking this baby up for the first time.  The hybrid electric engine makes no more noise than a golf cart at low speeds.  Thankfully, it also has a proximity alert, since pedestrians won’t hear you coming.  Also, the standard Active Noise Control feature works to counteract engine noise to keep the cabin library-quiet.

3. You can’t see what I can see.  Optional blind spot warning and intervention is another must-have.  A subtle yellow light will illuminate whenever something is in your blind spot and, even better, if you signal to move into the lane with the obstruction, the car will offer up a warning beep.  Invaluable.

4. Talk is cheap.  Voice recognition use of the nav system takes a bit of getting used to but it’s handy if you don’t want to take your eyes off the road to enter your destination manually.  There’s even a voice test system that helps the car learn your particular voice.  Speaking of the nav system, the Infiniti M has some hard buttons on the dash that you’d usually find embedded inside a nav menu, like a button for “destination.”  Once you get used to the placement, it can save you a crucial step when you’re in a hurry.

5.  Safety first.  The Infiniti safety features are top notch.  Lane Departure Warning and Assist will help you stay in your lane, Distance Control Assist will help you maintain a constant distance from the car in front of you while using cruise control, and Pre-crash Seatbelts will start to tighten as soon as they detect aggressive braking.

6. Studio 54.  There can be up to 16 Bose speakers in the car.  That’s impressive enough but wait until we tell you about the placement.  On the front seats, there are small speakers on either side of the headrest—just the right place to really make you feel like you’re in the middle of the music.  There is also an optional Music Box hard drive that downloads the songs from your CDs onto a 9.3GB hard drive right in the car.  Music for weeks!

Advertised average MPG: 29
Actual MPG during test-drive: 27.2
Base price: $53.7K
As tested: $67.5K
More at infinitiusa.com


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