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M35x vs M45 (AWD vs RWD)

03-16-2009, 03:23 PM
I currently drive a 1999 Buick Park Avenue Ultra, but I'm wanting something a bit nicer and a bit more reliable. I am thinking about getting a used M35x or M45. I have always driven F(ront)WD vehicles, and I have had accidents where said FWD could have prevented them, I have never taken advantage of it anyway. However, I am not sure which way to go because I figure there is a good chance that I would have had more accidents if I drove a RWD vehicle instead of a FWD one. Obviosly, I really can't be sure of that, but I don't want to find out the hard way. The situations where I think it is most likely that FWD might work to my advantage are as follows:
1) Cruise Control in the rain. Yes, I know this is not recommended, but the cruise control turns off automatically in my current car if there is any hydroplaning. I might assume the same would be true in any newer vehicle, but what I wouldn't assume is that this couldn't be problematic even in the short time it might take to turn off in a powerful RWD such as the M45. So while I rarely come close to hydroplaning, as I will slow down if there's enough water to merit doing so, I can imagine that FWD might be better suited should I misjudge.
2) Passing in the snow (2 lane roads with a nice layer of slush over the dashed yellow). Once again, some people might frown upon this, but as far as I am concerned, it shouldn't take twice as long (or longer) to get to work just because there is (or has been) some light snowfall (one could argue there is a chance of ice, but that chance is seldom more of a chance than it has been for days, weeks, or even months when everyone was driving full speed ahead), and when there is enough snow to merit slowing down and taking twice as long to get to work, people drive so slow around here that I don't have to get above 30 to pass them anyway. I'm sure that all of the 2006+ Infiniti Ms have traction/stability control, but once again, I don't know if that would cut it. I haven't lost control and had to take advantage of having FWD to regain it while (or due to) crossing the slushy threshold to the oncoming lane for (or aft) a pass, but that doesn't mean the FWD isn't playing a part in preventing it from happening.

This would make it seem like the M35x would be the way to go, but I am concerned that the M35x might be a little bit under powered (while the M45 would certainly be overkill for my needs, and a Lexus LS430 might make more sense, I am in an Infiniti forum). However, I say this having only looked at the numbers, and knowing the following things:
1) The M35x has about 7% less torque per pound than my current vehicle
2) The M35x peak torque & peak horsepower are close enough together that the power band in it could be relatively narrow
3) The M35x's peak torque is around 1k RPM higher than the peak torque in my current vehicle, while the peak horsepower is not, which could potentially mean that taking out would require quite a bit more accelerator and/or that taking advantage of short passing opportunities might not be nearly as smooth as that to which I am accustomed.

I'm looking for input, any thoughts and/or recommendations are welcome, as are any common issues I may not be aware of regarding, for instance, Infiniti's AWD system.

03-21-2009, 01:02 PM
Dustin , your driving habits in the snow or rain are an accident waiting to happen , particularly passing cars on two lane roads with the ground covered with snow and slush . I'm not sure exactly what questions you are asking in your post ? If you're asking would the Infiniti AWD be better suited to inclement weather than the FWD Buick , then I'd have to say ..maybe, but not if you're going to use the AWD to excuse reckless driving . The AWD would be more capable in the snow but not safer if you intend to push the limits beyond a safe threshold . You also have to consider the cost between the two vehicles . The Infiniti is more expensive to begin with and the AWD system will add an additional expense to needed upkeep and maintenance . It also will cause less MPG because of the added weight and friction of these additional parts . As for deciding between the M35 , M45 , or Lexus LS430 , The differences are minute in my opinion .In the end , the decision will come down to personal tastes and costs . Good luck and let us know what you decide .

03-21-2009, 08:11 PM
Thanks for the input, blu, I don't conisder my driving to be reckless, though I can certainly understand that it sounds that way in print. I am actually quite cautios and don't attempt to pass when it doesn't look safe given the conditions, and if I can't easily and safely cross the slushy threshold, I don't. The reason I brought that up was because I don't really know if the fact that I am driving a FWD has anything to do with how easy it is to cross said slush. I am not certain that either end would handle the same in such a manuever if there was no drive on the front wheels, and I'd rather not find out the hard way. Moreover, I wouldn't drive any different with AWD, so I would assume it might be a safer alternative should my judgement be off, but really, I guess the question I was trying to ask is do RWDs with traction/stability control handle well enough in snow to make the lack of AWD worth the additional reserve power (assuming there is no FWD option)? I also should imagine that the RWD transmission might be more reliable in the long term, and based on some reviews I have seen, the M35x might not be any more fuel efficient by the time it is pushed hard enough to perform decently (this is based on someone else's review, though, not any experience or opinion of my own).

I prefer using cruise even in the rain because it allows me to focus on the road ahead instead of constantly watching my speed (because without it I always end up going way too slow or way too fast, leaving me either making people mad or getting in trouble), but as I lean toward the RWD, I figure I could actually leave the cruise off when it's really raining, I mean, my first car didn't even have cruise (it was RWD too, for that matter, but I didn't have to drive it in the snow with any real distance or schedule). It's not like anyone could definitively say "sure, it's safe to use cruise control in heavy rain on a rear wheel drive (insert random caveat here)" anyway, so I can't say there was a specific question there so much as I wanted to leave the door open for any relevant experience and/or knowledge.

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