Specifications prices Modifications and Image 2012 Infiniti M35h
As the first in-house hybrid from Nissan/Infiniti, the M35h is pretty unassuming. Indeed, although the test cars we drove in Japan were covered with decals advertising their gasoline-electricness, small “hybrid” badges on the production models’ front fenders will be the biggest powertrain giveaway once the cars arrive stateside next spring.
The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) fuel economy figures for Infiniti's all-new M35h are finally out. According to the government agency, the Japanese brand's first-ever hybrid model returns an estimated fuel economy of 27 mpg in the city, 32 mpg on the highway, and 29 mpg on the combined cycle.
For comparison, the conventional M37 with a 330HP 3.7-liter V6 is rated at 18 mpg City and 26 mpg Highway, while the M56 that is powered by a 420HP 5.6-liter V8, at 16 mpg City and 25 mpg Highway.
The M35h's drivetrain pairs a 3.5-liter 24-valve V6 engine with 306HP to a 50 kW [68HP] electric motor for a system net output of 360 horsepower. Both the gasoline V6 and electric motor deliver their power to the rear wheels via a 7-speed automatic transmission. Infiniti says the 1.830 kg (4.035 lbs) luxury sedan can reach 62mph (100km/) from standstill in 5.5 seconds en route to a top speed of 155 mph (250 km/h).
It’s a Hybrid, So It’s Heavy
There’s always a catch with hybrids, of course, and that catch is weight. In the M35h, the penalty is 265 pounds compared with a conventional M37, which Infiniti claims is 66 fewer pounds than the toll exacted by the Lexus GS450h’s hybrid system. That means the M35h should weigh in around 4300 pounds. The extra low-end torque provided by the hybrid system should offset the extra heft; we predict a 0-to-60-mph time of 5.5 seconds, the same as that turned in by the M37 in a recent comparison test. Of course, as in most hybrid sedans, the M35h’s battery pack sits behind the rear seats, compromising trunk space.
Our brief drive of a right-hand-drive, Infiniti-badged Nissan Fuga (as the M is known in Japan) suggests that the M37’s solid handling has been preserved, especially in the braking and steering departments. The only herky-jerky event we encountered was from mashing the accelerator pedal at low speeds. A jolting downshift from the seven-speed automatic transmission was followed by a second surge as the electric boost was routed to the rear wheels. We experienced the aggressive engine shut-off, too, as we observed the revs drop to zero while humming along at 70 mph. It’s easy to stay in electric mode, although we’ll have to wait until a stateside drive of the production car to see if the M35h keeps up in traffic without using the gasoline engine.
Infiniti claims the M35h has fuel economy close to that of a 1.8-liter economy car. If the M hybrid can match the numbers of an automatic-transmissioned Nissan Versa (which, conveniently, is available with a 1.8-liter engine), it would achieve EPA figures of 24 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway. That would be an improvement of 6 mpg over the M37 in both categories, which seems reasonable considering the Infiniti’s bias toward performance and the lofty mileage numbers achieved by the Ford Fusion and Hyundai Sonata hybrids.
Oh, and there’s another catch with hybrids, and that is price. Again, Infiniti is short on details, but we expect the M35h to sit between the M37 and M56 in the product lineup. We’re also guessing the base price will be closer to that of the M56 than its V-6 counterpart, or about $53,000. Lexus has had a hard time moving many copies of the slightly more expensive (and performance focused) GS450h, and we aren’t going to predict significant sales for the M hybrid just yet. But we can already tell this Infiniti will be more fun to drive than the Lexus.
The 4,129-pound 2012 Infiniti M35h Hybrid features an elegant yet sporty look. The bulging fenders and deep-body doors give the M35h sedan a powerful look on the road. While other exterior features include a signature Infiniti double-arch upright low grille and crystal-look headlight clusters, 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, and a wave-like trunk with a spoiler to increase downforce, all which to help with an aggressive yet elegant stance.
The 2012 Infiniti M Hybrid is available in seven exterior colors: Malbec Black, Liquid Platinum, Platinum Graphite, Storm Front Grey, Black Obsidian, Moonlight White and Harbour Blue.