By on May 31, 2009

YSE (Your Shitty Economy) Car of the Week features the feature-packed Infiniti M35. When it sits new on the dealer lots trying to badge snob you away from the multitudes of BMWs and Audis roaming the crowded commuting lanes of our major cities, this M-car screams bargain at $50K. Option-out a 535i or an A6 with this much equipment and you’ll spend $10-15K more for a car with arguably less reliability, yet more soft-touchy plastics. Wait a few years (or not, for this one) and for not much more than a new Honda Civic Si, you can own one of the cleverest interiors (if strikingly weird) in the mid-size luxury class, as long as you can forgive the stray hard plastic panel.

Unlike last week’s Jaguar, reliability and repairs shouldn’t be a huge issue for the M35. With YSE this car can be had for under 23 grand; or, spend a couple grand more to get a potent V8-equipped M45. This example has 28,836 miles and is listed for $22,977. With the balance of Infiniti’s factory warranty (5 years/60,000 miles), you’d be covered for at least two years or 30,000 miles.

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35 Comments on “YSE Car of the Week: 2006 Infiniti M35...”


  • avatar
    Jeff Puthuff

    An aunt of mine has an 06 M45 and that thing is a beast. It’s fun the few times I’m allowed to drive it but for everyday use I’d opt for the V-6 M35—the VQ35DE is plenty powerful for this car.

  • avatar
    skysharad

    I rented this car for a week and test drove a 5 series and and E class….I just could not drive anything else……Still have no idea where people get the common sense to buy German….may be because….no cant think of a reason

  • avatar
    kansei

    Amazing looking car with the sport appearance package they offer. They look menacing in dark colors too. Big, big character flaw that puts them totally under my radar: no manual transmission. Blah, just another luxo-barge until a manual is offered.

    So as much as I detest the styling of the 5-series (current and next-gen), if I was in the market for a car in that segment, the 5er would get my money.

    Luckily I see no use for this segment, so I’d get an IS250 (manual offered on the 250) if I wanted a luxury car.

  • avatar
    Lee

    Even better, get a CPO one and the warranty goes to 100k.

    Go pre ’08 for a much more user friendly navigation system that allows you to change radio stations, other audio functions, and set climate control temps all via voice.

    They tried to “simplify” it for ’08, and screwed it up IMO.

    Get the non sport, for a more compliant ride too.

    The Advance tech package gives you intelligent cruise, and land departure warning.

    Yes, i used to sell them. Hopefully i’ll own one soon….

  • avatar
    Kristjan Ambroz

    Too bad they’re still not officially available in Europe. Soon, hopefully. I drove the FX45 a couple of years back and it stood head and shoulders above an equivalent X5 or ML. Same engine in a car chassis has got to be even better.

  • avatar

    Maybe the RWD version is better, but my old bosses M35X was a major snooze-fest. I’d rather a 15 year old W124 than a 2006 M35X.

  • avatar
    sean362880

    Yeah, but…..white? It looks like Moby Dick.

  • avatar
    carguy

    Something that depreciates like the Infiniti M series is never a bargain at $50K. Think of depreciation a a market “reality adjustment”. However, at $23K it becomes a compelling alternative to new midsized snooze mobiles like the Accord and Taurus – as does the Acura RL.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    I definitely agree with the bargain component if a 5 replacement is what you’re looking for.

    But the lines on this vehicle are absolutely terrible. To be honest, I don’t think the 5 or the M are good deals given what else is out there.

    Here’s a surprise for you. My top pick in this market would be an Audi A6. Even that is not really reflective of an outstanding Audi. All the sedans in this segment are seemingly either bland (RL, S80), bulbous (E-Class, 5-Series), or weird (IS, M).

    I will say that an Avant version of the Audi would be quite a daily driver. Far better than the M.

  • avatar
    George B

    Drove a used M35 and a used G35 back to back a couple of weeks ago. Both are good cars, but I prefer the G35. The M35 brakes are too sensitive and overall the M35 isn’t that fun to drive. In contrast, to me the G35 just feels right.

  • avatar
    Nicholas Weaver

    Its amazing how different cars depreciate…

    I just got MY “YSO” sportscar, a 06 Honda S2000 with 35K miles (as a CPO for blue-book + tax).

    I’m delightfully happy with it. But it depreciated no where near as fast as this Infinity example.

    Steven: I’d nix the audi except as a CPO with a 100K warantee, and sell it when the warantee expires. Too many electrical gremlins.

  • avatar
    AuricTech

    The Advance tech package gives you intelligent cruise, and land departure warning.

    If you’re catching air, I don’t think you need some electronic gadget to let you know…. ;-)

  • avatar
    slateslate

    ***Here’s a surprise for you. My top pick in this market would be an Audi A6. Even that is not really reflective of an outstanding Audi. All the sedans in this segment are seemingly either bland (RL, S80), bulbous (E-Class, 5-Series), or weird (IS, M). ***

    And for you sporty-types interested in the A6, make sure to try the S-Line as the base 3.2’s handling may be too Buicky for your tastes.

    The nice thing about BMW/Audi/Mercedes is that the leather in their interiors is durable and looks great after years and 100k+ miles even without regular maintenance (far better than other manufacturers, unless German leather has been another victim of recent, sight-unseen cost cutting).

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Agreed, the M35 is a great car, and it has near-BMW driving dynamics, but performance-wise, it’s more comparable to a 528 than a 535. The 535’s twin-turbo setup gives it right-now acceleration and will blow the M35 away. The M45 doesn’t have a whole lot more horsepower for the extra ten grand.

    If Infiniti would drop the same direct-injection V-6 that it introduced in the G-series into the M35, it would be a better car.

    The main reason the M35 doesn’t get the respect it should is that it’s bland-looking.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    slateslate :
    May 31st, 2009 at 11:57 am

    ***Here’s a surprise for you. My top pick in this market would be an Audi A6. Even that is not really reflective of an outstanding Audi. All the sedans in this segment are seemingly either bland (RL, S80), bulbous (E-Class, 5-Series), or weird (IS, M). ***

    And for you sporty-types interested in the A6, make sure to try the S-Line as the base 3.2’s handling may be too Buicky for your tastes.

    The nice thing about BMW/Audi/Mercedes is that the leather in their interiors is durable and looks great after years and 100k+ miles even without regular maintenance (far better than other manufacturers, unless German leather has been another victim of recent, sight-unseen cost cutting).

    I drove an A6 with the new direct-injected, supercharged 3.0, and I found it to be a brilliant drivetrain in search of a better car.

    No matter how you slice it, the A6 is a front-drive platform competing price-wise with BMW, so it’s not going to have class-leading dynamics. The AWD system masks this somewhat, but dynamically, the A6 isn’t a match for the best platforms in this class. It loves fast sweepers and will eat up superhighways, but it’s ponderous in tight corners.

    The Volvo S80 and the Lincoln MKS have the same problem – they’re FWD platforms adapted for AWD, so no matter how many horsepower and suspension tweaks are baked in, they’re not going to handle like a proper RWD sports sedan.

    I also wasn’t impressed with the interior of the A6 – it was great to look at, but it feels more like a top-line VW than a $55,000 premium sedan.

  • avatar
    jpcavanaugh

    Ever the contrarian, I have never liked the looks of this series as well as that of the 1st series M45.

  • avatar
    pb35

    jpcavanaugh

    Funny, I was just searching for used first-gen M45s yesterday; there aren’t many. I bought a new G35x in 2004. Still a great car (for the wife) and I don’t think I would want to upgrade to an M45. I definitely wouldn’t want an M35.

  • avatar

    Looks like a bloated first-gen G35. Seats are comfortable, though.

    With the introduction of the revised G35–now G37–new sales of these have cratered.

    These have required few repairs:

    http://www.truedelta.com/car-reliability.php?stage=pt&bd=Infiniti&mc=130&email=Guest

  • avatar
    Lee

    I like the 1st gen M45’s too. Kinda Gangster looking, more powerful V8 325 vs 340hp, and all the tech gizmos too. Awesome to drive.

  • avatar
    Kristjan Ambroz

    Sadly Audi’s leather is far from durable (if it was in the past I do not know) Most 5 or 6 year old Audis with leather interiors I have seen were in a sorry state. As elsewhere, if you go for the more expensive leather option, the situation improves. Volvo’s soft leather (Connolly), which they used to offer is super durable as well but not sure it’s still offered.

  • avatar
    don1967

    Good call, Justin. Nissans – especially most RWD models – are solid drivers, and a better used car purchase than anything from Germany. And a used M is probably a better buy than the more popular G.

    The Hyundai Genesis reminds me a lot of this car, and will probably develop a similar reputation as it ages. The Koreans are building some pretty good stuff these days.

  • avatar
    ruckover

    The two listed in my area (Oshkosh, WI) are both in the mid-twenties, and both have fewer than 50,000 miles. Sounds like amazing bargains are to be had if one is looking for such a car.

  • avatar
    Jeff Puthuff

    Look for the M37 (with the VQ37HR (high-revving)) and M50 (maybe 2010 Fall or 2011 Spring). Depends if the hybrid powerplant from the Essence is dropped in the M or new new Q. Infiniti dropped the ball on this model year’s M35 when the G has more horsepower, but Nissan has a history of this (e.g., more powerful Altima vs Maxima).

    I’m glad to know that I’m not the only one that likes the first gen M45 “Gloria”. A perfect sleeper in black on black with max tint; and shaved badges. Plus, its rarity will leave most wondering what it is. NICOclub.com and FreshAlloy.com have some occasionally show up in their classifieds if you’re looking for one.

  • avatar
    Areitu

    I got into an impromptu street race with an M45 in a Porsche Cayenne V8 while I was ferrying some people around in it. It was certainly not slow. The german cars are certain to have much better-finished interiors, but require much more maintenance (like all of the suspension bushings in an A6 and 535i) after some period of time.

  • avatar
    Durask

    I can’t help but to roll my eyes at some of the comments?

    Audi leather not durable?

    Audi interior – “an upscale VW”.

    I’ve been putting up with Audi reliability and repair costs for the last 10 years simply because their interiors are the best. Mercedes – too cold, too hard. BMW – too simple and they cut corners. Volvo – generally on par with BMW. Lexus – very good but no style (well, actually, I would call Lexus the “grandma style”) but quality-wise I have no beef with them. Acura, Infiniti – forget it, looks good, if you look closer it’s cheap crap.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    I liked the old, Gloria-based M35/45. It looked like a proper Japanese luxury car: conservative in proportions, just slightly bizarre in the details. With JDM front-assist mirrors, this car is awesome.

    I see a while M45 in my local Starbucks periodically, and I can’t help but admire Nissan’s chutzpah in bringing it over.

    This model is a better car, but it’s kind of lost that kitsch. Still, it wipes the floor with the GS and RL, and were it me making the payments, would be my choice over the E/5/A6.

  • avatar
    csf

    I looked at a fully loaded 2006 certified M35x with 34,000 miles last week at an Infiniti dealer. Lots of technology in that car but they wanted $29k for it – told me the M35’s are now selling very well due to the economy. But they also had a beautiful 06 FX45 with 16,000 miles they were selling for $31k – said they can’t sell their FX’s, also due to the economy.

    (Justin – for your next “YSE Car of the Week” consider my car – a 2005 Pontiac GTO – 400hp Corvette engine, 6 speed Tremec manual transmission, 0-60 in under 5 seconds, top speed of 160 mph, pretty nice interior and a fine Blaupunkt stereo, selling used for around $17,000 since the announced demise of Pontiac!)

  • avatar
    Jeff Puthuff

    Durask, to each his own.

  • avatar
    V6

    i love the Gloria based M’s too, i love the proportions on them.

    Nissan is possibly one of the few makers that has a better line up of cars in America than it has in the rest of the world.

    Here it goes from Tiida (Versa) to Maxima (the awful looking japanese Teana) with no cars to fill the huge void in between (unless you want a Qashqai/X-Trail). truly sad

  • avatar
    Davekaybsc

    The A6 4.2 S-line was pretty good. The 3.2 handled a bit better, but it was just too slow, much slower than the ’06 M35. The ’09 M35 now has the “high rev” version of the VQ35 for some 300hp, but it’s not nearly as good as the 3.0T. That engine absolutely rocks, and it’s what the A6 should’ve had from the beginning.

    The M doesn’t handle as well as the G, but that’s the same with all of these cars. The 5 doesn’t handle as well as the 3. Extra size and weight has never led to better handling. It is a great used car though. Lot’s of toys, more luxurious and MUCH better to drive than the RL and GS, reliable, and cheap. What’s not to like?

  • avatar
    Kristjan Ambroz

    Maybe all the US Audis come with Nappa leather – this is most certainly not the case in Europe. And the ones without have their upholstery prone to cracking rather quickly.

    I generally have no beef with Audi interiors. The seats are mostly good, the recaro ones in S products are excellent. The materials are pleasant to the touch and last well in personal use (although if you look at taxis, they are abysmal after 2 or 3 years of use, a characteristic shared by most modern cars, which are not designed for such use).

  • avatar
    salhany

    Great pick for this column. The M35x (or if fate is kind, the M45x) is my next new (to me) purchase whenever I need to replace my Volvo S60. AWD utility for those awful Maine winters, but plenty of luxury and performance. Sounds good to me.

    White is a terrible color for this car, IMHO. There are several others I’ve seen it in that are exponentially more flattering on it.

  • avatar
    JMII

    Stop telling people how great the used Infiniti (especially the G35s) are… I’m trying to find a nice blue one for my wife but most are automatics and even my wife knows a car like MUST have a manual.

  • avatar

    For just a bit more money, I’d take a brand new Hyundai Genesis sedan.

  • avatar
    Cole Trickle

    This is my next car for sure. With a baby on the way, the 2002 A4 is going to be a little too small. There are X’s at my local Infiniti dealer right now under 30k miles, for under $30k, mostly 2007’s. Waiting until our Christmas bonuses and will probably stroke a check for one in January. Should look nice next to my wife’s 09 G35. I bet my wife takes it from me after a month and I’m “stuck” with the G35.

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