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The word "hybrid" can send performance-oriented drivers sprinting in the opposite direction. Yet with today's improved environmental awareness and high gas-prices, some compromises must be made. Or do they? With the M35h, Infiniti is trying to prove that "high performance" and "hybrid technology" are not mutually exclusive.
The M35h gets up to 27 mpg city and 32 mpg highway, excellent for its class. It also sprints to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds -- a number that rivals some V8-powered competitors, including the M56. Infiniti achieves this economy and performance with 3.5-liter V6 and a 50 kW electric motor connected to a seven-speed automatic transmission. The combination sends 360 horsepower to the rear wheels.
Furthermore, the M35h is capable of speeds up to 62 mph while in driver-selectable pure electric mode. As in most hybrid cars today, a regenerative braking feature is standard equipment. Like the powertrain, the M35h's power steering is hybrid as well, utilizing an electric motor to create hydraulic pressure for much livelier driving feel compared to purely electric steering systems.
Only one M35h trim is offered, though it is nicely equipped with many features unique to the M lineup's only hybrid model.
The M35h features 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels wrapped in all-season performance tires. Other exterior standards include HID xenon headlights, front fog lights and a moonroof with one-touch open/close function. Sensors on the trunk and the two front-doors communicate with Infiniti's Intelligent Key so they can lock and unlock without having to remove the key from a pocket or purse. Also integrated with the Intelligent Key is a quick and convenient push-start ignition button. Seats are leather-wrapped and complemented by Japanese Ash wood trim. Both the driver and front-passenger sit on heated and 10-way power seats. An optional split-screen viewing display has an instrument meter that shows energy flow and real-time fuel-efficiency. Also available is a navigation system with on-board hard-drive and eight-inch color touch-screen.
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Better fuel-efficiency but does not handle as well as the M35h
More fun-to-drive though fuel-mileage is lower at 23 mpg city and 30 mpg highway
Diesel engine with good torque but not very quick
Base engine gets up to 25 city mpg and 33 mpg highway, yet produces only 211 hp