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]
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  • 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.

  • EBFlex "I've only filled the gas tank three times in 2500 miles"Assuming you went from 0 gallons to full (17.2), you have averaged almost 50MPG over those 2500 miles. 50 MPG in a Jeep Wrangler. To all of you EV nut jobs, tell me again how PHEVs are not the absolute best thing to happen to automobiles since the wheel. And tell me how they don't make EVs look like the awful play toys that they are.
  • MRF 95 T-Bird The Buick 215/3.5-liter aluminum V8 was one of GMs great engines. Unfortunately GM being GM in one of their greatest mistakes was selling off the tooling to BL. If they kept it around and improved upon it it would have been a fine motor for their compacts and midsize models through the OPEC oil crisis.
  • Chris P Bacon Not sure why a '21 is getting reviewed, because there have been improvements to the 4xe. I've got a '22 4xe Sahara. May 2022 build in High-Velocity yellow with a soft top. As soon as it was announced I knew I wanted to try it, not for the fuel mileage, but for the technology. I don't have a Level 2 charger, it charges fully overnight on the included Level 1. I see an indicated range of 27 miles regularly. Today it indicated 29 when I unplugged. I've only filled the gas tank three times in 2500 miles, a full charge costs me about $3 based on my current electricity supplier. I don't experience the rough transitions between electric and gas, so maybe Jeep figured it out? It's stupid fast when using all the power off the line. So much so that it will break the rear wheels loose when you stomp on it. I agree that plugin hybrids are the future. I see no need for a pure electric. This is the way to go.
  • RHD The word B R O N C O written in contrasting paint on the dashboard is quite unnecessary. The passenger certainly knows what kind of vehicle he or she is in. That detail is a big fail. The red and white Bronco looks great, especially with tires that have honest-to-goodness sidewalls on them.
  • Luke42 Aren't those trim levels just different colors of paint?That's what they sound like, at least. 🤷‍♂️
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