Key to the Highway

Observations about cars and the auto industry

2009 L.A. Auto Show: 2011 Infiniti M

Nissan’s luxury brand will unveil its flagship sedan ahead of the L.A. Auto Show at a media-only event tomorrow evening and to friends of its Facebook page via Webcast. Neither Nissan nor Infiniti have space on the show floor this year, which someone will say means social media is to credit/blame.

But we digress.

2011 Infiniti M

Infiniti's second-generation M sedan will continue to come in two flavors depending on engine choice.

For now, the automaker isn’t saying all that much about the car. It will carry on the two-model tradition with engine choice as the main difference: V-6 or V-8 as the M37 and M56 respectively.

That said, the current M45 is a capable luxury sedan with driving dynamics in keeping with Nissan’s sports car heritage, along with features that are competitive with Lexus and Mercedes-Benz.

For now, Infiniti is talking up the new M’s climate control system, dubbed Forest Air because it’s designed to have you thinking you’re walking in the woods on a nice day instead of sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic on your way to a meeting.

Infiniti's second-generation M sedan goes on sale next year as a 2011 model.

Infiniti's second-generation M sedan goes on sale next year as a 2011 model.

In the place of normal climate control are gentle breezes with optimal humidity at the temperature of choice with the smells, smog and pollen filtered out. Of course, if you were driving through the woods you could just roll the windows down.

Air flowing from the instrument panel vents is modulated to give it a more natural feel than the usual full-on blast. The system keeps the air from getting dried out without fogging the inside windows, the automaker says.

We’re betting the fancy A/C won’t be the biggest news at tomorrow evening’s launch.

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