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.