By on December 2, 2009

Mmmm.... no thanks.

When Infiniti’s new M sports sedan hits the market next year, it will be available with an optional tech package that includes a mighty strange feature for a sports sedan. A so-called Eco-pedal will actually resist you overactive right foot, providing feedback that Nissan says is intended to discourage inefficient (read: enjoyable) driving styles. The payoff is supposedly a five to ten percent improvement in efficiency, although convincingly proving causality for those results can’t be easy. After all, if you’re driving for efficiency, you don’t need the gas pedal to be telling you to go easy. Luckily, even if you do pay more for the package that includes this feature, it will be switch-offable. Or ignorable. “The driver can easily disregard the resistance,” Infiniti product planning director John Weiner tells Automotive News [sub], “or turn it off altogether. But if you heed the signal and do as prompted, it can improve fuel economy.” Whatever happened to those “upshift now” lights that were so popular on the dashboards of cars in the 80s?

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38 Comments on “2011 Infiniti M: The Sports Sedan That Doesn’t Want To Be Driven Fast...”


  • avatar
    educatordan

    LOL, I thought I was the only one who remembered “Upshift Lights.”  When my girlfriend taught me to drive stick in her 2005 base model Pontiac Vibe I actually said, “Where’s the upshift light?”  I’m 32, she’s 26 and she had no idea what I was talking about, sigh.  Don’t get me wrong, a tach is much more useful but there are times when I’d like to have BOTH. 

    • 0 avatar
      TEXN3

      It’s ironic, but Subaru has an upshift light for the auto transmission models (with manumatic mode), but not he manual transmission models.

    • 0 avatar
      educatordan

      Can you hold a gear with the Subaru auto manual shift mode?  If you can hold the gear I think the upshift light isn’t too bad of an idea as long as it’s not programed to do it too early.  While my girls car was in the shop we were given a 2009 Vibe with a shiftable manual but it wouldn’t hold a gear beyond a preprogramed RPM, very anoying and it shifted SO early it made the idea of shifting yourself completely stupidly annoying.

      BTW I think Infiniti is barking up the wrong tree here except for using their Infiniti brand as a “technology testbed” for items that will later filter down into Nissans like the Altima.  (You know like GM used to do with Cadillac, remember that?  I mean does anybody remember that other than jpcavanaugh?  I love you jp but of course you remember, look at all the kick ass cars you’ve owned!)

    • 0 avatar
      Areitu

      My 350Z has an upshift light…I have it set to 7200 rpm.

    • 0 avatar
      TEXN3

      I don’t know if you can or not…I didn’t try on my test drive this past weekend (both 07 Outbacks), as I just purchased the manual model.

      I do know that Mazda is one of the few brands, that with a manumatic, it won’t upshift…at all.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Don’t be greedy, I’d settle for a 26-year-old girlfriend!

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      My frineds 03 Focus had an “up-shift” light.  His STI that he has now also has one, although it is programmable, at any RPM in the range.

    • 0 avatar
      starbird80

      My ’02 Saturn has the upshift light, and I find it highly annoying.  Especially as it has a tendency to come on just as I push in the clutch to shift up.
       
      Sheesh, I’ve got two ears and a tach, I don’t need a yellow arrow to tell me to do something I’m already doing.  I’m waiting for that lamp to burn out – not quite annoyed enough to open up the IP and pull the bulb.

  • avatar

    Done right, this could work well. I look forward to checking it out. That and the 420 horsepower V8.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Should have been filed under WTF.
     
     

  • avatar
    jpcavanaugh

    This reminds me of something even older than the universally hated upshift lights.  In the late 70s, I owned a 63 Cadllac Fleetwood.  The car had an early cruise control system.  In addition to the full cruise mode, you could set it to put backpressure on the gas pedal at a pre-chosen maximum speed.   I guess that cruise control must have been new enough that it made some people nervous, but they were ok with a system that let you work the gas pedal.  A good stiff push on the pedal would overcome the resistance so that you could spurt a pint of fuel into the carburetor and stain the street with the overly rich exhaust.  At least that’s what happened with mine, which averaged 7.5 mpg (on premium).  It was kinda cool how I could leave 3 streaks on the pavement on full throttle starts – 2 rubber and one from the exhaust.

  • avatar
    carguy

    Let me get this right: You can pay for a 5.6 liter V8 and then you have the option to pay extra for a nagging nanny that criticizes you every time you want to step on it? If you really  care about 2MPGs that much then buy something else.

  • avatar
    mcs

    I don’t know about this one. Given Toyota’s problems with gas pedals and electronic throttles, I’d be concerned about adding more complexity to a throttle. More functionality usually means an increased number of lines of code and a greater chance of errors. How is the mechanical resistance generated – can that mechanism go in reverse and push the throttle to the floor? It can be done safely, but is the benefit worth the risk? I say go for the upshift lights. Much simpler and less likely to cause a “floor mat” recall.

  • avatar
    Areitu

    Given how touchy the gas is, in some drive-by-wire Nissans, this would actually be a helpful feature.

  • avatar
    joeaverage

    WOW that car looks SO much better than the Cadillacs to me!!! Caddy ALMOST has it right – right enough I’d own one but this car looks so much better.

  • avatar
    NickR

    That’s damn ugly.

  • avatar
    carlisimo

    Actually, it’s probably more fun to drive a car with stiffer pedals. You can really mash down without going faster than you intend to… the worst thing in the world is when you can only use the top 5% of an accelerator pedal. Hurts the ankle, too.

  • avatar
    bill h.

    Also reminds me of the 1-4 upshift feature put in Corvettes and Camaros.  At least for those cars with manual shifters….I’m assuming that this Infiniti only comes with a slushbox. 

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      …except that the skip shift can’t be defeated by hitting a switch. This one can. As I understand it, the only way to defeat the skip shifter on the Vette involves cutting wires. Yikes.

    • 0 avatar
      bill h.

      I’m assuming you mean a permanent defeat….otherwise, you just accelerate faster, and the GM system lets you shift into 2nd/3rd as normal.  It works that way on my brother-in-law’s ’03 Corvette.

  • avatar
    Boff

    My RX-8 has a buzzer that goes off to remind me to shift…just under 9000 rpm. Adhering to it hasn’t improved my fuel economy one bit.

    More seriously…could we be seeing the end of driving-related gizmos? Aside from auto-pilot, how much more is there left?

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    You know, this ain’t a bad idea, especially since it can be turned off. The concept here is a LOT more sensible than some of the other MPG-enhancing crap I’ve seen, like the skip-shift on Corvettes.
    As an aside, this car looks a LOT better than the one I tested for the luxury sedan comparo in October, and it comes with the upgraded DI V-6.

  • avatar
    cRacK hEaD aLLeY

    Bypass the eco-pedal thing: buy a Sentra, add a Toyota floor mat (it’s on sale),  save 30K upfront while going about just as fast and with better MPG on your commute.

  • avatar
    TonUpBoi

    Oh, I still deal with one of those in my ’87 Porsche 924S.  Actually, I find it funny.  There’s no clutch interlock on the starter, no constant nagging about putting on my seat belt (one ding when I turn the ignition on and that’s it), but a stupid (and happily easily ignorable) light trying to get me into fifth gear before 40mph.
     
    Yeah, right.

  • avatar
    vvk

    Is it just me, or does that thing look like Porsche Panamera?
     

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    Looks like I’m in the minority, but this car is gorgeous.

  • avatar
    John Holt

    Um, like the recently deceased Subaru “SI-drive”?  Gotta love artificial neutering.

  • avatar
    Mrb00st

    I’m not sure how useful an upshift light is going to be with an automatic.  Heck, my 900 is a 5-speed and the upshift light is pretty useless.

  • avatar
    thalter

    Looks like a melted Maxima.

  • avatar
    mjz

    Hope it’s just the angle of the photo, but that thing looks like a curly, lumpy mess.

  • avatar
    mistrernee

    This sounds like it might make driving fast  more fun..  Like pushing the throttle into the extra barrels on an old 4 barrel carb.
     
    I would personally leave the system on and push past the extra resistance with a big grin on my face.  Whenever the car said “you should probably ease off to save fuel” I would automatically do the opposite in an attempt to burn as much fuel as possible just because I am not supposed to.
     
    If I actually did want to drive efficiently I could probably resist the urge and behave, but probably not.  I got out of my way to avoid the skip-shift in my current car just out of spite.

  • avatar
    salhany

    The recent Nissans I’ve driven have all had very soft gas pedals, too soft for my taste as my foot would naturally sink to the floor with any exertion and it was tiring to hold my foot up so I wasn’t flooring the pedal all the time. I think I’d welcome anything that firmed up the gas pedal on this car.

  • avatar
    vent-L-8

    This is a nice looking car.  The fluid lines almost appear organic and dare I say it, natural.

    • 0 avatar
      theflyersfan

      You and me both.  I’ve been a huge fan of what Infiniti has done inside and out especially given the Q45 mess, I/Maxima clones, and the WTF of the Armada clone.  I just had a 2009 FX35 as a recent rental was was bowled over by the quality inside and out.  Of course this M better have more cargo space than the FX!  The M seems to flow better than the somewhat tortured Mercedes/BMW designs.

      BTW – like the avatar.  You from the Cincinnati area also?


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