Rare Rides: North America's Gloria Moment - the 2003 Infiniti M45 (Part I)

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
rare rides north america s gloria moment the 2003 infiniti m45 part i

This is one of those times when I was actively keeping an eye out for a particular Rare Ride. It’s one which is hard to come by in any decent condition, and harder still to find listed with pictures worth using in an article.

The day has finally arrived. It’s time for M45.

By my count, this will be the third time I’ve talked about Infiniti’s angular M45 on these pages. The first time was a while back when Rare Rides covered this vehicle’s older sibling, the Nissan Gloria Brougham VIP. The second time was this past week, when I selected the M45 to receive one of five sedan spaces in my Crapwagon Garage QOTD.

Perhaps the internet willed this car into existence out in Massachusetts just so I could write about it.

Back in the early 2000s, Infiniti was undergoing a model restructuring effort. Winding down were the Primera-based G20, Maxima-based I35, and veiled Pathfinder QX4 models. In a bid to appeal to more enthusiast luxury buyers, Infiniti was busy infusing more driving fun into its lineup. The company swapped front-drive sedans and a single SUV for rear-drive sedans (G35/M45), a rear-drive coupe (G35), and two new rear-drive based SUVs (FX/QX). The only remaining model from Infiniti of old was the flagship Q45 large sedan, which also entered a new (final) generation in 2002.

The M45 sat in the middle of Infiniti’s lineup. It slotted above the new G35 and the final couple years of I35, and beneath the flagship V8 Q45. Availability started in 2003, and Infiniti planned to take on the 5 Series with its serious new sedan.

Coming up with the M45 required considerable work on the part of Infiniti. The company looked across the water to the Japanese domestic market, where the Y34 Nissan Gloria had been for sale since the 2000 model year. The hardtop sedan was born when Nissan asked Porsche for assistance in designing a new version of its long-running Gloria nameplate.

Though all Glorias in Japan saw motivation from six-cylinder engines, Infiniti felt this would not do for the luxury customer in North America. Something needed to be done about that interior, as well.

Tune in next time, when we see how things went down for the M.

[Images: seller]

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4 of 37 comments
  • Dal20402 Dal20402 on May 30, 2018

    So after looking at a bunch more pictures I've determined that this M45 is the WRONG COLOR. These need to be black or pewter, with dark tinted windows. There is no other valid color choice.

    • FreedMike FreedMike on May 30, 2018

      Negative. Look how the grill is set off by the metallic red paint.

  • Noble713 Noble713 on May 30, 2018

    I'm surprised how many people praise the looks of this car; the Nissan Gloria, to my eye, has one of the ugliest fascia's of the era. Also didn't know these made it Stateside.

    • Cognoscenti Cognoscenti on May 30, 2018

      I agree. However, beauty is clearly in the eye of the beholder. I for one love the look of the new Honda Accord, for example - a sentiment that is exactly the opposite of most of the contributors to this site and in the automotive press!

  • Sayahh Is it 1974 or 1794? The article is inconsistent.
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  • JamesGarfield What charging network does the Polestar use?
  • JamesGarfield Re: Getting away from union plantsAbout a dozen years or so ago, Caterpillar built a huge new engine plant, just down the road here in Seguin TX. Story has it, Caterpillar came to Seguin City council in advance, and told them their plans. Then they asked for no advanced publicity from Seguin, until announcement day. This new plant was gonna be a non-union replacement for a couple of union plants in IL and SC, and Cat didn't want to stir up union problems until the plan was set. They told Seguin, If you about blab this in advance, we'll walk. Well, Seguin kept quiet as instructed, and the plan went through, with all the usual expected tax abatements given.Plant construction began, but the Caterpillar name was conspicuously absent from anywhere on the site. Instead, the plant was described as being a collective of various contractors and suppliers for Caterpillar. Which in fact, it was. Then comes the day, with the big new plant fully operationa!, that Caterpillar comes in and announces, Hey, Yeah it's our plant, and the Caterpillar name boldly goes up on the front. All you contractor folks, welcome aboard, you're now Caterpillar employees. Then, Cat turns and announces they are closing those two union plants immediately, and will be transporting all the heavy manufacturing equipment to Seguin. None of the union workers, just the equipment. And today, the Caterpillar plant sits out there, humming away happily, making engines for the industry and good paying jobs for us. I'd call that a winner.
  • Stuki Moi What Subaru taketh away in costs, dealers will no doubt add right back in adjustments.... Fat chance Subaru will offer a sufficient supply of them.