San Antonio.- Infiniti calls their M35h the “cleanest and most economical car in Infiniti’s history” incorporating the Infiniti Direct Response Hybrid system.
Infiniti took their very popular M class and gave it V8 power with the fuel economy of a 4 cylinder.
The M35h boasts EPA fuel economy of 27 mpg city and 32 mpg highway, which is an impressive achievement for a luxury sedan that still produces an impressive 360 horsepower out of anengine that accelerates quickly, using both the 258 pound-feet of torque from the gas engine and the 199 pound-feet from the electric motor to give the quick acceleration not generally associated with a hybrid.
Once you reach your cruising speed, the sedan shifts into its EV mode providing you the fuel economy you bought it for.
So how does the hybrid system work? The Infiniti M35h, uses lithium ion battery that provide a 50-kilowatt pack mounted just behind the rear seats that powers a 67-horsepower electric motor that can drive the car by itself. Add to that a regenerative braking system that charges up the battery as you drive.
With a light touch to the pedal at the stop light, the M35h will accelerate under electric power, keeping the engine turned off. Of course, when you put your foot down on the accelerator the gas engine turns up and gives you the acceleration you are used to. Once you back off the pedal and the vehicle reaches a cruising speed, it goes back into EV mode and shuts down the engine and continues to travel on electrical power.
As you come to a red light and stop, the engine once again shuts off, saving additional fuel while the car sits at the light. I understand the concept, and I know it is a solid one, but the continuous off and on of the gas engine, I personally find distracting.
It also creates a slight lag if I need the M35h to accelerate rapidly from a complete stop. I should point out that, the acceleration lag is something that 90% of all current hybrids have to deal with and part of what you are going to get accustomed to as part of your effort to save money at the gas pump and be a “green driver."
The Infiniti M35h comes with a cool technology package that includes blind-spot detection, adaptive cruise control, and the ever impressive Distance Control Assist. The DCA is virtually a radar unit in the nose of the Infiniti that you can set the distance you want to stay behind the car in front of you once you set the M35H into cruise control. If the car in front of you slows down, or another vehicle cuts into the space between you and that car, your M35 automatically engaging the brakes making sure you keep the distance you set. So you could virtually take a long trip to visit grandma and never have to hit the brakes while you are on the highway, allowing the driver assistance system to keep you at a safe distance from the traffic around you…giving you more time to visit with your passengers, or set the stereo on your favorite tunes.
The blind spot detection brings up a subtle light on the A pillar, in line with your rear view mirrors, telling you someone is sitting in your blind spot and you might want to wait to change lanes. A small thing, but can keep you from making a very expensive and traumatic mistake.
On the interior and the exterior, the M35h is nothing but class. The distinctive flowing curves were penned by designer Takashi Nakajima. The very curvy slinky design is very aerodynamic and yet seductive with a set of aggressive fenders that tell you this Infiniti means business, showing off its curves.
The curves continue on the inside with a dual-cowl dashboard that is loaded with high technology to make your trip a pleasant adventure. A Japanese White Ash wood trim is everywhere, powdered silver adds a high-class sheen to everything along with the luxurious leather trim, and suede-style headliner. Infiniti so wants to make this a memorable experience that is has something called a Forest Air system that, once the desired interior temperature has been reached, sends additional cold or warm air to passengers in pulses to simulate a breeze you might feel on a nice hike through a forest.
My only space problem was with the trunk that was smaller than I would have liked because of the space being taken up by the lithium batteries associated with the hybrid system.
Class does not come cheaply, so to put yourself in this beautiful, cutting edge sedan is going to cost you between $47,000 and $69,000 depending on the options you chose.
My M35h had a sticker price of $67,900 but then I had everything in this one minus the kitchen sink…and I am sure if you wanted it Infiniti would find a way to make that available, too.