The words high-performance and hybrid don’t apply to many cars out there except maybe the new Porsche 918 Spyder that recently ran a 7:14 Nurburgring lap time. But that car is in a different category altogether. The 2013 Infiniti M Hybrid is a rear-wheel-drive sports sedan that was introduced last year by the Japanese luxury brand. The Infiniti M line of luxury sports sedans enters its third year of production and that is typically a “sweet spot” for automakers.
The Infinity M Hybrid may not offer “high-performance” like the Porsche 918 Spyder, but it offers the sportiness and performance of a sports sedan with the fuel-efficiency of many four-cylinder sedans. The high-performance that Infiniti likes to connect with the new M hybrid would definitely be the power and performance of the hybrid system.
The fastest-accelerating hybrid in the world
The 2013 Infiniti M35h ($54,200) is a full hybrid and can motivate under full-electric power alone. Infinity says it can achieve electric power up to 62 mph, but that would have to be obtained under the most perfect driving conditions. Electrical power is stored in a lithium-ion battery pack instead of the older nickel-metal hydride battery technology. This helps the M35h achieve both quick acceleration and fuel economy of 32 mpg highway. The Infiniti M Hybrid gets an EPA estimated 27/32 mpg city/highway, and 29 mpg combined.
The 2012 Infiniti M35h features a 1 motor, 2 clutch parallel hybrid powertrain that couples an electric motor with a 3.5-liter gasoline V6 engine. The combination produces a powerful 360 net horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Infiniti says the M hybrid is able to sprint from 0-60 in less than six seconds, and it did feel quick for a full-size sedan. The 2012 M Hybrid holds the Guinness World Record for the world’s fastest-accelerating hybrid.
Responsive and sporty
In the week of driving the M Hybrid in the city and on the highway, the hybrid system is typical of this fuel-saving technology. Infiniti says it’s seamless, but with the hybrid gas-electric powertrain, you can feel the transition from gas to electric, when the regenerative brakes are recapturing energy. and when the fuel-saving stop/start system engages. But this is normal for any hybrid system and isn’t any more obtrusive with the M35h.
The M Hybrid was responsive under full acceleration and the seven-speed automatic is smooth. The Infiniti M comes with an independent front and rear suspension with stabilizer bars that kept the M flat and stable in tight mountain corners west of Denver.
The four-door luxury M35h features an electric-hydraulic steering system that saves fuel but also felt more natural than some of the other less detached hybrid steering systems. The regenerative brakes recapture energy that is normally lost in a conventional vehicle and recharges the Lithium-ion battery for future use. The rear-drive configuration on the M Hybrid gives the luxury sedan a sportier feel and definitely contributes to the M’s appeal.
As you would expect from the luxury brand, the cabin of the M35h is quiet and comfortable on the road. Infinity uses Active Noise Control to keep the cabin quiet. It uses a dual microphone system that listens to the ambient noise created by the powertrain, mirrors, body, and tires and produces sound waves that cancel the noises.
The Infiniti M Technology Package ($3,050) is loaded with active and passive safety features that include a lane-departure warning system, blind spot warning and Active Trace Control which adjusts engine torque and controls the braking to help the car better navigate a corner if the car slides. It also comes with an Eco Pedal that gives the driver feedback to encourage eco-driving behavior. It also features a Forest Air system to keep unpleasant odors in the cabin to a minimum.
Luxury features abound
The 2013 M35h comes with all the features you would expect in a luxury sedan. It comes with a full leather appointed interior, Japanese Ash wood trim, dual climate control and climate controlled front seats. The Premium Package ($4,200) includes navigation, an 8-inch color touch-screen, voice recognition, Nav traffic and weather, a rear sonar system and heated steering wheel.
The 2013 Infiniti M35 Hybrid is a sportier alternative to some of the more boring hybrids on the market. The hybrid technology is very fuel-efficient and offers the economy of a four-cylinder. But the hybrid technology comes with a price and once you start adding options, the price will climb to the mid $60,000 range. But for those who want luxury, sporty performance and fuel economy, the Infiniti M35h is hard to beat.