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

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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]