Rare Rides: North America Raises a Brow - the 2003 Infiniti M45 (Part II)

rare rides north america raises a brow the 2003 infiniti m45 part ii
In the last edition of Rare Rides, we discussed Infiniti’s early-00s product makeup and introduced ourselves to the Japanese-market Nissan Gloria. It was that middle-market sedan which formed the basis of Infiniti’s sporty new midsize.Today we cover the changes Infiniti made to the Gloria to prep it for its big North American debut, where the automaker hoped to take on BMW’s 5 Series.
The people at Infiniti borrowed the 4.5-liter V8 from the flagship Q45 and sandwiched it into the Gloria’s smaller engine bay. Serving two simultaneous goals, the larger engine added prestige and credibility to the new model, while helping spread out some of the development costs for the 4.5-liter V8. A brand new engine for 2002, its main purpose was use in the low-volume Q45.The power available in the Q and M was nothing to sneeze at in the early ’00s: 340 horsepower and 333 lb-ft of torque move through the rear wheels via the five-speed auto.
Other Gloria alterations included swapping the part-amber rear lenses for solid red ones, and replacing the front clip with an Infiniti-designed version. The interior was also reworked and upgraded, evidenced by this image of a standard Japanese Gloria’s interior. Infiniti’s designers implemented what was basically a scaled-down Q45 interior to make the M45 suitably luxurious. The suspension was also reworked — the new rear multi-link setup was similar in design to the contemporary 350Z.Despite all this, the somewhat narrow body (for American tastes), frameless windows, and angular styling did not appeal to consumers in the way Infiniti planned. Sales were low, and the model was dropped at the end of 2004, after just two years in Infiniti’s lineup.
The M name would go dormant again for another year, until it was revived starting in 2006. That year saw a combination of sorts. The Q45 was in its last year, and the M badge was applied to Nissan’s new Fuga model. This larger sedan was a size up from the Gloria and a size down from the Nissan President-based Q45. From then on (continuing until today) the M maintained flagship sedan status in Infiniti’s showrooms (it’s now called Q70).
Today’s example is in excellent condition, with just under 84,000 miles on the odometer. The owner maintained it well, keeping everything original and staying away from winter weather. Shiny red paint covers the tan interior, which is an uncommon combo. Almost as if by design, the M45 asks a Crapwagon Garage-approved $7,400 before negotiation. The seller indicates he’s leaving the country, so there’s assuredly some time limit on this sale as well.Someone go grab it.[Images: seller]
Comments
Join the conversation
5 of 47 comments
  • Art Vandelay Art Vandelay on Jun 03, 2018

    I look at it and think "not bad". Then I look at an SC300/400 and realize the infinity just doesn't look good.

  • Lightspeed Lightspeed on Jun 04, 2018

    These always turn my head, and i've been intrigued by this generation for a long time. So rare around here that I never see one for sale. I do, however, see a fair number of the following generation M45s, which go for absurdly lower prices than comparable 'Mercs and BMWs, or Lexus. From what I can tell, they have an expensive and unrepairable issue with driver's seat frames. I still think Nissan should have brought the 8th-gen Cedric to North America.

    • See 2 previous
    • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on Jun 05, 2018

      @Lightspeed That sounds like a safety issue, and something that would be a forced recall. Can't be safe in an accident, if that tube breaks under normal usage. I think the depreciation is from a couple of reasons: -Badge not as good as Lexus. -Mostly forgotten. -Blocky styling isn't everyone's cup of tea. -Build quality is not as good as GS. -Refinement not as good as GS. Edit: From a quick search, it looks like the people having this seat issue have 2006 and 2007 examples. Wonder if they changed something quietly for the 2008 refresh.

  • 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.
  • Arthur Dailey For the Hornet less expensive interior materials/finishings, decontent just a little, build it in North America and sell it for less and everyone should be happy with both the Dodge and the Alfa.
  • Bunkie I so wanted to love this car back in the day. At the time I owned a GT6+ and I was looking for something more modern. But, as they say, this car had *issues*. The first of which was the very high price premium for the V8. It was a several thousand dollar premium over the TR-7. The second was the absolutely awful fuel economy. That put me off the car and I bought a new RX-7 which, despite the thirsty rotary, still got better mileage and didn’t require premium fuel. I guess I wasn’t the only one who had this reaction because, two years later, I test-drove a leftover that had a $2,000 price cut. I don’t remember being impressed, the RX-7 had spoiled me with how easy it was to own. The TR-8 didn’t feel quick to me and it felt heavy. The first-gen RX was more in line with the idea of a light car that punched above its weight. I parted ways with both the GT6+ and the RX7 and, to this day, I miss them both.
  • Fred Where you going to build it? Even in Texas near Cat Springs they wanted to put up a country club for sport cars. People complained, mostly rich people who had weekend hobby farms. They said the noise would scare their cows. So they ended up in Dickinson, where they were more eager for development of any kind.
  • MaintenanceCosts I like the styling of this car inside and out, but not any of the powertrains. Give it the 4xe powertrain - or, better yet, a version of that powertrain with the 6-cylinder Hurricane - and I'd be very interested.
Next