Rare Rides: North America’s 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]