What a difference a day makes! One day I was feeling sorry to say goodbye to my venerable old Jaguar S series, the next day I was offered the opportunity to spend the day test-driving the Infiniti M, one of a new range of high-end vehicles from the Nissan range. It wasn’t the best time to find out my driving licence had expired – who checks every ten years anyway, was my excuse.
Soon resolved, I was on my way. For once in Glasgow the weather was fine and it was great to take possession of a car in showroom condition. My first impression was that the car looked very safe and solid with clear lines and, if anything, a bit understated. The door closed with a very satisfying clunk and I immediately noticed that all external sounds had disappeared.
It was very quietbut the first was the keyless ignition and the second the memory feature which allows you to set the front seats and the steering wheel to the height and tilt that suits best – a handy feature if you are sharing the driving with your passenger. The satnav screen was clear and precise and doubles as a DVD player – but only when stationary.
However, it was a bit of a shock to see my efforts at reversing coming up crystal clear on the screen, particularly as reversing is not my strong point. I usually delegate difficult parking manoeuvres to my wife. The fun bit, of course, is driving the car and there was no disappointment when we hit the motorway and started heading west.
The Infiniti picked up speed easily and all-round vision was excellent as I joined the rest of the traffic. There is a handy little feature on the wing mirrors which brings on a yellow light to show if you are in a blind spot which proved to be very useful. Also the satnav bleeps if you dare to change lanes without signalling beforehand, a great aid to anyone on a long journey who suffers from fatigue or lack of concentration.
Acceleration was swift and powerful through the six-gear automatic box which can be controlled by selecting drive, using the manual selection option, or by manipulating two paddles on either side of the steering column.
The Infiniti was both fun and very safe to drive and I wish it had been around when I was required to commute back and forth to England – sometimes driving through the middle of the night.
At the same time it would be the perfect choice for the grand tour of the north of Scotland or exploring the delights of France or Germany.
The car is ideal for longer journeys and would seat a family and all its gear effortlessly and it would be particularly suited to long motorway and autobahn driving. I’m sure you would arrive safe, rested and ready for the next stage of your journey. Although the Infiniti was new to me I felt comfortable and in control after only a few minutes’ driving. The car would be ideal for the busy executive with a family at home looking to being chauffeured around at the weekends and for longer breaks.
The acid test for me was my reluctance to return the keys at the end of the day in the hope the kind folks from Infiniti would not notice that one of their prized vehicles was missing!
Frank Cullen is director of FMC Solutions Ltd, a consultancy specialising in working with young entrepreneurs, helping start-up businesses and established companies to grow.
He is the former managing director of ntl Scotland, now Virgin Media.
Car supplied by Infiniti Centre Glasgow, Braehead, Renfrew, PA4 0DJ, 0141 886 8190, www.infiniti-glasgow.co.uk