Infiniti M25 is a worthy competitor to the BMW 520i and Lexus GS250
Infinitely deserving of attention On the outside, the M25 has a lot in common with the M37 -- PHOTO: DAVID TING

Executives may want a spectacular 4.4-litre V8 BMW M5, but what they need is a far simpler 2-litre four-cylinder 520i for half the price of the mightiest 5 Series.

In the case of the Infiniti M range, Nissan's edgy alternative to the popular Beemer, executives are driven to distraction by the 360bhp M35h, described as the world's fastest hybrid, but what they are more likely to drive at the end of the day is the M25.

Even so, the 2.5-litre M25 is not much of a downgrade from the 3.7-litre M37, especially in Premium specification as tested here.

In fact, other than its engine and performance, the M25 offers essentially the same generous executive package as its $17,000 more expensive sibling.

They look alike too - muscular sheet metal, a dramatic double-arch grille and angry-looking bi-xenon headlights. Even the 18-inch alloy wheels and twin exhaust tailpipes have been carried over from the M37 to the M25.

Inside the cabin, there is again nothing to make the M25 driver feel deprived.

The repeat goodies include nice leather upholstery, the nicest wood decor of any Japanese car today, a sizeable sunroof, noise-cutting double-glazed windows (more commonly found on a bona fide limo), fancy Forest Air climate control, air-conditioned front seats with 10-way electric adjustment and a stupendous Bose hi-fi with 16 speakers (four of which are actually nestled right behind the shoulders of the front occupants).

The stereo system provides aural entertainment that eludes the 2.5-litre V6, which does not vary its straightforward soundtrack as the tachometer needle climbs towards the 7,500rpm redline - it just becomes progressively louder, but in a smooth manner.

The engine revs willingly, which is welcomed because you need to rev the thing to get a move on and the responsive seven-speed automatic transmission has the same sense of urgency when tasked to hurry up.

With 101bhp less motive force than the M37, the M25 is significantly slower from nought to 100kmh - three long seconds, to be exact. In normal point-to-point driving at speeds below 60kmh, however, the time you manage to save in the M37 will probably be negligible.

If need be, the M25 can make up for lost time around corners, thanks to its well-weighted steering and surefooted suspension.

The driver must work a little to manoeuvre the large, heavy (almost 1.8 tonnes) saloon fast through a curvy stretch of tarmac, but the reward is a decent lap experience that would impress a BMW 5 Series or Lexus GS buyer.

Speaking of which, the GS250 is the M25's greatest rival in Singapore.

Both cars are evenly matched in their pricing, made-in-Japan quality and overall ergonomics.

But the Lexus has a smoother ride and stronger yet more economical performance, while the Infiniti has a sexier interior, slightly more back-seat space and a certain niche appeal.

SPECS

INFINITI M25 PREMIUM 2.5

Price with COE: $248,000

Engine: 2,496cc 24-valve V6

Transmission: Seven-speed automatic with manual select

Power: 219bhp at 6,400rpm

Torque: 253Nm at 4,800rpm

0-100kmh: 9.2 seconds

Top speed: 231kmh

Fuel consumption: 9.9 litres/100km (city-highway)

Agent: Wearnes Automotive