The Infiniti M45 was a curious thing, looking so much like an American four door hardtop, which of course hadn’t existed since the 1978 Chrysler New Yorker we looked at the other day. One might think that Americans would be eager to snap something like this, a big, beefy V8 sedan, but that was not the case. At all.
The problem was (at least in part) that it looked a decade or more old when it arrived, especially compared to the Chrysler 300. Now that was very reflective of the times.
The M45 was heavily based on the Nissan Gloria, but had the Q45’s big 340 hp V8 under the hood, and its rear suspension was also upgraded. I wondered if Nissan had made it more deliberately retro, whether it might have done a wee bit better.
My heart still goes pit a pat when I see one of these. I recall the as being very expensive at the time, and they did not look like most other cars in that price class. But maybe that was why I liked them so. That and the classic formula of mid-size car with a big V8.
I don’t recall ever encountering one, how many did they sell in those years? Were they half-door construction?
Yes, these were half-door/frameless window construction, one of the last holdovers of Japanese executive cars from the ’80s and ’90s being 4-door “pillared hardtops”.
If carsalesbase.com is to believed, Infiniti sold 7,855 M45s from 2002-04. I’ve never seen one in the metal.
By 2003, Nissan/Infiniti was already an “also ran” to Toyota/Lexus and Honda/Acura.
I’m sure this is a fine car, but I imagine that in ’03, this was only an aspirational car for people who were already Nissan fans.
2003 is when Infiniti released the G35 (later the G37), which has to be greatest hit.
I will grant that everything else in their lineup, including the M45, was virtually unknown by comparison.
I personally also love the lines on this car. I think it’s a sweet machine. I had a business relationship with an Infiniti dealership principal back in the day. He said it was a great car, too expensive and just didn’t translate over here…a car for a market that didn’t exist. And yes, languished on his lot with cash on the hood.
I think there was also cannibalization from the G35 sedans and coupes, which were much more contemporary in design, had excellent driving dynamics and performance despite the power deficit from the V8, were more efficient and really gave up nothing in terms of practicality to them. The G was really Infiniti’s only true hit and one of the few cars that was recognizable as an Infinity, and in the luxury field the M45 was basically invisible.
It’s a shame, I loved the styling, my Dad almost bought a used bright red one instead of his Lexus GS despite my pleas. Despite looking out of step for the early 2000s the design is as close to timeless as a sedan as I can think of,
I agree these made little sense next to a G sedan. The M45 looks deceptively larger than it is, and was no more roomy than it’s cheaper cousin. The current Honda Civic sedan is over an inch wider than one of these.
Interesting. This doesn’t look like an American car to me, it looks like a blandly generic high-endy Japanese one of its day. Seeing this pic reminds me I haven’t noticed one of these cars in a long time—did I ever notice any of these I’ve ever seen? I doubt it. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I suspect the first time I saw one of these was on a Michigan freeway, up ahead far enough that I couldn’t quite tell what it was, but it kept on registering as “generic high-endy Japanese car”. Eventually I caught up to it and was able to read the badges, but I’m not sure it mattered.
“generic high-endy Japanese car”
Ah, well you did recognize it as an Infiniti at least lol
I didn’t think about that, the car looking dated when it debuted, I figured it looked about the same as a Chrysler 300. A throwback to an earlier era, but not too odd or tacky looking.
I can’t think of the last time I saw one of these in Oregon in person.
Never had these in Australia; well, we hardly had Infiniti at all.
I thought I was going to like reading about this, but the more I read, the less I like.
I don’t care for sedans much.. I don’t relate to Infiniti, it’s so far from a car I’d typically appreciate yet I’ve always thought the lines on this car were sublime, serene and sexy. The lack of clutter and gee-gaws was SO refreshing. Definitely a high mark for Infiniti.
The only places I have seen cars at all like this have been in Singapore, where the range of cars on sale belies the size of the market, and NZ, where they were JDM cars, imported when used.
Hardly any of the RHD Y34 Cedric/Gloria versions left here now Roger; they’ve been and gone.
As a 70s-00s RWD JDM Nissan fan, I so wanted to love these, but despite looking ok in pictures, they’re completely forgettable in the metal.
Fun fact: the Cedric/Gloria version was available with fender rear-view mirrors (as opposed to door-mounted).
Funner fact: The RHD models had a completely different (and far better in my opinion) dashboard than the LHD version.
The angularity reminds me of the contemporary first-gen CTS.
When these came out, I remember a magazine article stating that although they were supposed to be a sort of “banker’s hot rod”, they were too generically anonymous looking. Even though the V-8 had power, it was an odd, quirky combination that simply didn’t resonate with buyers. (IMO)The spoiler on the one in the picture doesn’t help (although it’s the only time I’ve ever seen one on a the car)! A co-worker had one, and I found it hard to find anything really likeable about it.