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2007 Infiniti M45 Sport- A plush and powerful getaway

02/11/2007

Infiniti M45
Warren Brown, LA Times-Washington Post

The deliberately masculine 2007 Infiniti M45 Sport is one of the hottest dark horses in the luxury-car race - wonderfully quick off the mark, steady at highway speeds and nimble in curves and accident-avoidance manoeuvres. - Photo by Nissan North America

WASHINGTON:

It was a what-the-heck day - crisp, cold and slightly overcast, perfect for driving simply because there was a great car to drive.

I called Bella, one of my road buddies. She has been having a hard time of late, having buried her partner barely a year ago, and now caring for a sister battling cancer. It is my long-held belief that road trips spontaneously taken are the best escapes from worldly worries. Bella, a friend of seven years, has similar faith. We hit the road in the 2007 Infiniti M45 Sport sedan, driving west into Virginia's Shenandoah Valley. We didn't stop until we turned on to Sperryville Pike in Sperryville, Virginia, and spotted a quaint little restaurant, the Thornton River Grille.

We arrived 10 minutes before the restaurant's closing at 3 p.m. But the place was pleasant. The staff was friendly and willing. We were hungry. We settled in for a late lunch. Have you ever been in an out-of-the-way restaurant at an odd afternoon hour with a friend you haven't seen or spoken with in four months?

I broke the silence. "What do you think about the car?'' I asked. Bella smiled knowingly. I could read her thoughts: Same old Warren. The world's a mess. Wars are raging. My heart is still breaking for my lost love. I have a sister ill in California. And here we are alone in a little Virginia town, an easy chance for me to talk and him to listen, and all he wants to talk about is the car.

"It's a lot better than my Ford Focus," Bella said. "Anything is better than your Ford Focus," I said, referring to her six-year-old car, which has spent a part of every year in repair service. We both laughed.

"I love that M45," Bella continued. "God, it can move! It's so fast, so smooth. Being in it is like being on vacation." "What, from your Focus?" I asked. "Yeah, from my Focus." Bella laughed, and then sank into silence. I couldn't think of anything else to say. I wanted to delay conversation about the man she loved until his heart failed, about what that death meant and did to her, about her sister's struggle with cancer.

Fast and Luxurious

My mind again turned to the rear-wheel-drive M45 Sport, the fastest and most luxurious of the M-Series cars from Nissan's Infiniti Division. I enjoyed driving it the 70 or so miles from Washington. It was powerful and plush in a manly sort of way - with brushed aluminium in place of the more traditional burled wood accents; with purposeful, bottom - and thigh-hugging, perforated leather front seats instead of supple sofa leather; with a high-tech instrument panel that is a gadget freak's dream; and with big, robust 19-inch diameter tyres.

There were some annoying things about the car - primarily its optional lane-departure warning (LDW) system, which I first tested on a 2006 Infiniti M35 X (all-wheel-drive) sedan in April 2005. I don't like the LDW system, which uses tiny cameras mounted below rear-view mirrors to read lane markings on the road. The cameras send information to sensors that calculate lateral distances between the vehicle and lane markings, the vehicle's speed and proximity to the markings. If the vehicle crosses or touches a lane marking, the LDW system chirps, chirps, chirps. I was grateful that it could be turned off.

We finished a lunch of ham-and-Swiss sandwiches and a delicious coconut bread pudding that neither one of us should have eaten. "Can I drive going back?" Bella asked. "Of course," I said.

She got behind the wheel. I sat in the front passenger's seat. "I miss him, Warren," Bella said.

I listened - listened all the way back to Washington. She felt better after that. I did, too.

Jamaica Gleaner









2007 Infiniti M45 Sport- A plush and powerful getaway
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