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2013 Infiniti M37xS

Bottom line: Infiniti’s M-class is an excellent line of midsize luxury automobiles (mostly with rear-wheel drive, the all-wheel-drive M37x and M56x being exceptions) for buyers who want to try something other than a German luxury sports car. But keep in mind that alternatives are often less satisfying than originals, especially if your definition of “prestige” includes “heritage” and “authenticity.”

Head-turning quotient: It is as attractive as a well-muscled model, barely clad, strutting his or her stuff down the street.

Ride, acceleration and handling: The ride is a bit hard for many tastes in both “normal” and “sport” adjustable-suspension modes. Infiniti clearly is going after top-line German rivals with this one. Acceleration and handling are excellent.

Body style/layout: The M37xS is a front-engine, all-wheel-drive member of Infiniti’s M-class. The series also includes the M37, M37x, M35h (hybrid) and M56x. The “S” suffix in the M37xS moniker refers to the car’s “sports” package option.

Engine/transmission: The car comes standard with a 3.7-liter, 24-valve gasoline-fueled V-6 with variable valve timing and lift (330 horsepower, 270 pound-feet of torque). The engine is mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission that also can be shifted manually via paddle shifters mounted on the steering wheel left and right.

Capacities: Seats five people. Cargo space is 14.9 cubic feet. The fuel tank holds 20 gallons of gasoline (premium grade is required).

Mileage: It’s less than prestigious — barely 17 miles per gallon in the city, 24 on the highway.

Safety: Standard equipment includes front and rear ventilated disc brakes; four-wheel anti-lock brake protection; emergency braking assistance; electronic brake-force distribution; electronic stability and traction control; xenon high-intensity-discharge headlamps; and side and head air bags.

Pricing: The 2013 Infiniti M37x starts at $50,850, with a dealer’s invoice price of $47,073. Price as tested is $63,995, including $12,200 in options (20-inch-diameter wheels and tires, blind-side warning system, onboard navigation with high-resolution backup camera, premium Bose sound system, power glass roof and other items) and a $905 destination charge. Dealer’s price as tested is $58,872.

Apples/oranges note: If you have no interest in or need for prestige, the well-equipped Kia Forte EX can be had for $25,895 including options such as premium sound system, onboard navigation with high-resolution backup camera and power-operated glass roof.

— Warren Brown