New or Used? : Sadly, Infiniti Will Never Sell An M80

Steven Lang
by Steven Lang

Dear Mr. Lang,

Your most recent article put the final nail in the C4 coffin for me and for that, I’m everlastingly grateful.

The VW GTI is but a distant infatuation, another foolish pleasure set aside.

Onward to the Infiniti M35.

My wife, county librarian, needs a reliable safe car to visit her 34 branches.

The M35 sounds like just the ticket. It would also be a good road car for our forays to Las Vegas. Any recommendation on good/bad model years would be appreciated. We’ll find a good home for her ’03 Grand Marquis with 99k. It’s time to move on.

Thanks again for your help.

Steve Says:

Wow! 34 branches! Remind me to move to where you live after I get my kids through high school. One of my non-negotiables for what I hope will be the post-Dad phase is a library I can walk to.

Forget about the beach or the mountains. I want a quiet nice place where I can read.

As for your situation, the best way to approach this is to look at everything from the inside out. Let’s start with the M35.

The interiors on these vehicles are pretty much a love/hate affair. My advice is to find one. Let her spend some time inside (without you), and see whether she likes her surroundings.

I have always thought that the dashboard, seats and interior trim are far more important to most owner’s long-term happiness than the exterior design. Sexiness sells, but you will spend 98+% of your time looking at the car from the inside out. Those interior materials make an epic difference for a road warrior, and it sounds like your wife may need to become one.

Second, you are far better off visiting an enthusiast forum than to rely on the opinion of one guy. Let them tell you about the best years, worthwhile modifications, and unique challenges to your vehicle. Every vehicle has a weakness of some sort, and taking advice from actual long-term owners will give you a far better frame of reference than any other source in this business.

Here is the M35 enthusiast forum. Related to that, the M35 happens to also be the most reliable Infiniti car in my long-term reliability study. I recommended it not too long ago, and I think you are making a wise decision by considering it.

Do you a question? A rambling epiphany? Or even a hunch that is carried by nothing but thin air? Feel free to contact me at .

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4 of 25 comments
  • Compaq Deskpro Compaq Deskpro on Jun 20, 2014

    I'm not sure how a strange luxury sedan that doesn't even have a Nissan sibling is going to be more reliable than a Grand Marquis.

    • GiddyHitch GiddyHitch on Jun 21, 2014

      It's a Nissan Fuga in Japan - does that qualify? I first became smitten with the M35/45 after seeing them in taxi livery in Tokyo in a sea of old, boring Toyota Crowns. Japanese taxi operators don't seem to screw around with unreliable vehicles, so that speaks well of the M's long term reliability to me. I just saw a second-gen Fuga taxi last week, actually, and have seen numerous third-gen Fugas as well. Priuses seem to be taking over the Japanese taxi trade though, even at the small city level - second gen Priuses in the case of the small city that I was in last week for the majority of my stay in Japan.

  • Mopar4wd Mopar4wd on Jun 20, 2014

    My brother had an M35X 2006 I think He ran it to over a 100K miles. It was a nice car and I thought it was fun to drive. He had a couple of expensive suspension repairs and decided even Japanese luxury cars were to expensive out of warranty and went with a fully loaded Legacy for his next car (he didn't want to give up on AWD he told me the other day he won't buy another car without it.

    • GiddyHitch GiddyHitch on Jun 21, 2014

      I'm at 115k miles on my M45S and considering doing a suspension refresh but I'm guessing it wouldn't do much to smooth out the inherent harshness of the ride, especially since KYB seems to be the only non-OEM shock option out there and I have found them to be overly stiff in their own right (used them twice on my Pathfinder).

  • Azfelix From certain angles the bonnet appears oversized with respect to the rest of the car - like a skinny teenager wearing a bulky sweater nicked from her older sister's wardrobe.
  • Tassos This is way too god damned OLD, 21 years old to have all the necessary options you need TODAY. You need a 10 year old or less car. AND if you give us THIS POS, a 21 year old model, that is not even a LUXURY car, whoever pays $10k for a Golf, And I Do NOT care what anniversary it is (they are all UTTERLY INSIGNIFICANT) deserves to get this MOST UNRELIABLE AND COSTLY TO REPAIR OF ALL LOUSY ECONOBOXES< EVEN THE DOMESTICS AND THE KOREANS.
  • Tassos As you say, Toyota confirmed this on TUESDAY. Today is WEDNESDAY. Why is everything on TTAC held back one or more days before you tell us the NEWS when it is NO MORE THE NEWS?
  • MRF 95 T-Bird You can find a decent and far more stylish Audi TT or an S4 of a similar vintage for under $10k.
  • RHD "In all situations, the grip of the tires (225/40R18 front, 225/35R18 rear) brings with it road noise."Are the rear tires actually smaller than the fronts??!! Adding just a bit of sidewall would take care of the bumps and rough ride. I'm not a fan of BMWs, personally, but this is a very enjoyable car. There are times when driving a convertible is pure bliss, and with a bit of power it's fun as well. (And certainly a better drive than a gussied-up, overpriced German taxicab!)