Premium sporty/performance car; Built in Japan
  • 2-door convertible
  • 2-door coupe
  • longitudinal front-engine/rear-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $1,000 – $2,400*


1990 Infiniti M30 2-door coupe


1990 Infiniti M30 2-door coupe


1991 Infiniti M30 2-door convertible


1991 Infiniti M30 2-door coupe


1992 Infiniti M30 2-door convertible

Pros:
  • Acceleration
  • Antilock brakes
  • Airbag
Cons:
  • Cargo room
  • Rear-seat room
  • Ride
  • Visibility (convertible)

A new M30 came with most everything expected in a luxury coupe, yet beat most rivals on price. Though comparable to an Acura Legend, the M30 isn’t as much fun to drive.

Overview

Complementing the new Q45 “flagship” sedan from Nissan’s luxury division was the entry-level M30 coupe, also introduced for 1990. Essentially an Americanized version of the Nissan Leopard, sold in the Japanese market, the M30 was intended as a temporary stopgap, until a brand-new model could be developed.

Dimensions were close to the front-drive Nissan Maxima sedan, but the M30 had rear-wheel drive and weighed about 300 pounds more. Maxima provided the 3.0 liter overhead-cam V6 engine, rated at 162 horsepower; but it was mounted longitudinally in the M30, rather than transversely. A 4-speed automatic was the sole transmission. Antilock brakes and a driver’s airbag were standard.

“Sonar Suspension II,” also borrowed from the Maxima, used an ultrasonic sensor mounted beneath the radiator to “read” the road surfaces and adjust shock absorber damping accordingly. A cockpit switch let the driver choose soft, medium, or firm damping mode.

Like the bigger Q45, the M30 was marketed as a “one-price” model, fully equipped with only two dealer-installed options available: a cellular phone and a CD player/changer. Standard equipment included a power moonroof, automatic climate control, leather upholstery, power windows and door locks, a 2-way power driver’s seat, limited-slip differential, 4-speaker Nissan/Bose audio system, and antitheft alarm.

Yearly Updates

1991 M30
An M30 convertible joined the original coupe this year. Convertibles were transformed from coupes by American Sunroof Corporation in California. A standard power top automatically latched/unlatched at the windshield header and also raised/lowered windows at the same time. Otherwise, improvements were modest in the M30’s second season on the market. The central locking system could now be operated from either door, and “summer” performance tires replaced the prior all-season rubber. Tachometer and speedometer positions on the instrument panel were transposed, and gauge graphics were bigger this year.
1992 M30
Except for a new power door-lock system with 2-stage “select logic” operation, this year’s M30 coupe and convertible were complete carryovers. All Infinitis got the new door-locking system, in which a “first turn” from either front passenger door locked or unlocked that door. Turning the key a bit farther locked/unlocked the remaining doors.

Engines

longitudinal front-engine/rear-wheel drive

All M30 models used an overhead-cam 3.0-liter V6 engine, producing 162 horsepower and driving a 4-speed automatic transmission.

ohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.0/181
Engine HP 162
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 180
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic

19/25

Road Test

Though pleasant, the M30 coupe is not particularly exceptional. Angular styling and a tight cockpit suggest Nissans of the 1980s, not cars of the early ’90s.

Automatic-transmission performance has been a pleasant surprise. It responds immediately to throttle inputs and moves up and down the gear with smoothness that rivals the best of the breed. A test coupe accelerated to 60 mph in a brisk 8.7 seconds.

Braking distances are short and directional control is excellent. Balance and grip through long sweeping turns is fine, but the car can feel a bit ponderous around town.

Ride quality is variable. In the Comfort mode, the standard Sonar Suspension II allows too much nose-bobbing. Switch to the firmer Sport mode and the ride gets jittery. Shock absorber damping fixed somewhere between the two settings might have solved the problem; but that was not available.

Drivers over 6-feet tall might have trouble fitting in the coupe because the power moonroof steals head room. The convertible has adequate head room, but its top has wide rear “pillars” which, matched by slim, fixed rear side windows, complicate over-the shoulder vision. Rear-seat leg room is inadequate in both body styles, unless front seats are moved well-forward.

Cargo-carrying capacity is not a strong point. The trunk is shallow, its floor not fully flat, and the opening is high and narrow.

Despite suffering from “cowl shake,” a typical bane of convertibles that have been transformed from coupes, the open-air version of the M30 has its own charms. The automatic convertible top is quick and easy to use, but fitting the rubber molding of the tonneau cover is laborious and time consuming. In addition, a cramped driving position, tight rear seat, and the dinky trunk–coupled with a “busy” ride–are among the negative points that have kept the M30 convertible away from the top of our shopping list in this class.

Ratings

Model Tested: 1991 Infiniti M30 convertible

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 6
60%
Fuel Economy - 3
30%
Ride Quality - 4
40%
Steering/Handling - 6
60%
Quietness - 3
30%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 5
50%
Room/Comfort Front - 5
50%
Room/Comfort Rear - 2
20%
Cargo Room - 2
20%

Other

Value - 4
40%

Total: 40

Specifications

2-door convertible
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
103 188.8 66.5 54.3
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
12.3 17.2 4
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
35 35.2 42.2 30.2
2-door coupe
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
103 188.8 66.5 54.3
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
11.6 17.2 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
36.8 35.7 42.2 30.2
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1992 M30 2-door coupe

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
80%
Front Passenger Injury - 4
80%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision 204
Injury 109
Theft 217

Trouble Spots

Fuel odors
Description: Leaking fuel injectors that caused starting, drivability problems, and fuel odors were being voluntarily replaced. (1990-92)
Audio system
Description: Aftermarket CD changers installed without using proper antenna plug-in adapters has resulted in volume fading in and out, static, radio bleed-through when using the CD player and poor reception. (1990-92)
Convertible top
Description: Convertible tops had several problems including: tack strips that allow the bow to slip out of place, water and wind leaks, poor-fitting boots, and boots that would not stay attached. (1990-92)
Hood/trunk
Description: Early build models had defective trunk-light switches that would allow the light to stay on and drain the battery. (1990)

Recall History

1990-91 M30
Description: Front seatbelt-buckle release buttons can break and pieces can fall into buckle assembly, causing improper operation.
1990-92 M30
Description: Though not a safety recall, Infiniti issued a safety-improvement campaign to replace the fuel injectors and related hoses of affected vehicles, which could leak.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.