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

rare rides north americas 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!

  • Tane94 are both eligible for federal tax credits? That's the big $7,500 question.
  • Jkross22 Toenail says what?
  • MaintenanceCosts This sounds like old-school GM drama!
  • SCE to AUX It's not really a total re-badge since some of the body parts are unique, and the interiors are quite different.As I mentioned the other day, the Tonale has a terrible name and a dim future.As for the Alfa team - guess what, this is how corporate ownership works. You are part of Stellantis partly because you're not viable as a standalone business, and then your overlords decide what's shared among the products.By the way: That Uconnect infotainment system found in Alfas was originally a Chrysler product... you're welcome.
  • Kurkosdr Someone should tell the Alfa Romeo people that they are a badge owned by a French company now.The main reason PSA bought FiatChrysler is that PSA has the technology to enter the luxury market but customers don't want a French luxury car for psychological/mindshare reasons. FiatChrysler has the opposite problem: they have lots of still-respected brands but not always the technology to make good cars. Not to say that if FCA has a good platform, it won't be used in a PSA car.In other words, if those Alfa Romeo buds think that they will remain a silo with their own bespoke platforms and exclusive sheet metal, they are in for a shock. This is just the start.