Real time in a M37x - Part 2
Technology (Continued from page 1)
Forward Collision Warning System
FCW utilizes the same sensor as ICC, requires a minimum of 10mph, and when activated will warn you of getting too close to vehicles which are ahead. While testing this system I would intentionally sneak up on a vehicle in my lane, the Vehicle Ahead indicator would light and eventually it would chime. This is just a warning system and is not connected to any of the braking systems in the car so do not count on this system to perform any braking.
Upon entry of the vehicle it was setup time, which in the M is relatively easy as it's all electronic. Adjust seating height, seat location, steering wheel angle, and mirrors. Very easy and quite adjustable. The M is currently Infiniti's largest sedan so in comparison to the G37 it is a bit wider and more roomy. In general, seating position was comfortable with the seat and steering wheel heaters making things quite toasty.
The drive started by maneuvering some suburban 2-lane blacktop roads to get a feel for the vehicle as I had not driven the M with the VQ37. At first it felt only somewhat responsive, not what I was expecting from a 330hp v6 and much different than even the G37x's I've driven in the past. The answer seemed to be to my right within the console....
Infiniti Drive Mode Selector
The Drive Mode selector, located on the console between the seat heater knobs, is an integrated controller which allows up to 4 settings dependent on the mood of the driver or road conditions. The four modes are: Standard, Eco, Sport or Snow. Each mode adjusts throttle sensitivity and transmission mapping to help optimize required performance. When starting the test the vehicle was in the Standard mode and while there was plenty of power the vehicle was much more tame
Eco mode takes all performance out of the equation as a means to increase MPG, I assume as a way to meet EPA requirements. When Eco mode is engaged the vehicle is a snail with 0-30 mph taking what seemed to be a 1/2 mile to achieve. You can get the vehicle to accelerate faster in Eco mode by putting your foot to the floor but the system is designed to fight you via pedal pressure. When going through the Infiniti setup menu there is a Eco mode setting for pedal feel. Pedal options are soft, standard and off. Soft seems to be the pedal feel of choice as there is less feedback. Regardless, using this option for daily city driving will result in people road raging behind you. I did not test it on the highway but feel it would be fine if you live in a flat state but a pain if you have to deal with hills. For a mid-$50k vehicle, who will really use it?
Normal Driving Conditions
By normal I mean "standard mode" and following traffic laws. In reverse the rearview camera works quite well and having the side view mirrors automatically adjust to a lower angle is quite helpful. The 7-speed transmission is smooth for the most part although at times it can seem like it's hunting gears. The ATESSA AWD platform is smooth although at times you can feel a slight heaviness in the steering when turning. Steering was nominally tight and the car tracked quite well. I did not notice any tramlining, or the tires trying to follow ruts in the road, during my driving experience.
One thing that needs to be made abundantly clear. Infiniti cars, even though they are the luxury side of Nissan, tend to be more on the sport side of the equation. If you are wanting a Bently or Cadillac DTS-style ride then Infiniti is not going to please you. Road feel is transmitted through the steering wheel and you can feel medium to large bumps. These vehicles do not "float" on the roadway. The driver is always "in tune" with conditions. As I hate feeling disconnected while driving I appreciate the feel of these vehicles.