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Infiniti M35h Hybrid revealed

Thu, 23 Sep 2010 00:00:00 -0700

The Infiniti M35h Hybrid

We’ve had the regular Infiniti M saloon launched recently and this month has seen the release of prices and specs for the Infiniti M30d, the much needed diesel version of the Infiniti M. Much needed because without it Infiniti are probably dead in the water in Europe.

But this is 2010 and car makers are obsessed with all things green. So we need to have a hybrid version to polish the green halo and prove that Infiniti are a┬áresponsible┬ácar maker who care about fluffy bunnies and acid rain the ozone layer the next ice age global warming climate change (sorry, couldn’t remember which is the current trendy ‘issue’ for a moment).

But actually, this Infiniti M35h Hybrid - which will launch in Paris and go on sale in 2011 – is our kind of hybrid. Because not only has Infiniti utilised the hybrid bits to make the M a bit ‘greener’, but the addition of a 67bhp electric motor gives the M35h a bit more shove and almost makes up for Infiniti not bringing the V8 version of the M to Europe.

Infiniti has shoved the electric power to the back wheels through the same 7-speed auto ‘box as the ICE. But the ‘box has an electronically controlled clutch instead of a torque converter which eliminates mush and improves economy (there’s also another (dry) clutch between the ICE and the electric motor so the ICE can be decoupled when not needed. Simple but effective).

Infiniti also seems to have made use of the electric motor for more of the time than we have seen before. Infiniti say that in tests in the US over motorways and country roads as well as congested city streets the M35h was able to run on electric-only power for up to 50% of the time and, on a trailing throttle, at speeds up to 87mph.

Which is brilliant. We’re accused of being anti-innovation; modern Luddites decrying new technology. But we’re not. We’re all for the implementation of clever hybrid tech where it works. And here, in the Infiniti M35h, it certainly seems to perform.

When the traffic is crap the M35h uses its hybrid bits to coast around on electric only mode. But when the road is clear you not only get the very good 3.5 litre V6 (why not the latest 3.7 litre V6?) with its 302bhp but also the 67bhp and 200lb/ft of extra torque to go play with. That all adds up to 0-60mph in 5.9 seconds, 38.6 mpg and emissions of 170g/km.

But most importantly, you get a hybrid which offers the ‘Drive’, not just ‘Transport’.

By Cars UK