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  • 2012 Infiniti M35h

    Posted on October 7th, 2011 ninarussin

    Hybrid sedan for driving enthusiasts

    By Nina Russin

    2012 Infiniti M35h

    Although hybrid vehicles are by no means a new idea, engineers continue to develop new performance matrices using the combined attributes of gas engines and electric motors. Unlike the first generation of hybrid sedans, fuel economy improvements in newer models sometimes take a back seat to power. This isn’t to say that the hybrid cars don’t outperform their gasoline-powered counterparts in terms of gas mileage; rather that they may well out-accelerate those cars as well.

    Infiniti’s new M35h sedan is a case in point. Because electric motors develop maximum torque at extremely low speeds, the gasoline-electric M produces neck-snapping acceleration off the line, worthy of a top fuel car. The fact that it also averages 32 miles-per-gallon on the highway as compared to the gasoline-powered M’s 26 is an added bonus.

    The closest hybrid technology to the M35h is probably Porsche’s, as seen in the Cayenne Hybrid. In both cases, the vehicle can operate at extremely high speeds on pure electric power. In the case of the M35h, top speed in electric mode is 62 miles-per-hour, with a range of 1.2 miles before the gas engine cuts in.

    Base price on the M35h is $53,700, not including an $895 destination charge. The test car comes with a premium package which adds semi aniline leather seats, a Bose 5.1 surround-sound audio system, wood accents, a suede headliner and power rear sunshade ($3800). A technology package includes Infiniti’s hard drive navigation system with XM real time traffic and weather updates, climate controlled front seats and a heated steering wheel ($3350). A trunk mat and first aid kit cost $200, while an 18-inch wheel package adds $650. Illuminated kick plates priced at $360 bring the total cost as tested to $62,955.

    V-6 engine delivers four-cylinder fuel economy

    2012 Infiniti M35h

    The electric motor in the M35h boosts the car’s gas mileage between 20 and 30 percent, as compared to the rear-wheel drive V-6 sedan. The biggest fuel economy gains are in stop-and-go-driving, since the gasoline engine cuts out when the car stops at a traffic light. The hybrid can run in pure electric mode long enough at low speeds to move through a parking lot or the side streets of a subdivision. Because of this, an audible approaching vehicle alarm for pedestrians in the area is standard equipment.

    Battery power comes from a lithium ion pack positioned between the rear seats and the trunk. As a result, the trunk is considerably smaller than for the gasoline-powered M, and there is no pass-through. Lithium ion batteries are among the lightest available for these types of applications, enabling engineers to limit the car’s curb weight to just over 4000 pounds.

    While many hybrid vehicles utilize continuously variable transmissions, the M contains a seven-speed automatic. The seven-speed gearbox not only stretches gas mileage with its large overdrive gears; it provides performance characteristics much closer to traditional sport sedans than some of the M’s hybrid-powered competitors.

    Loves to be driven hard

    I put about a hundred miles on the M35h sedan: most of it at speed. In order to avoid the long arm of the law and the wrath of fellow motorists I headed east out of Phoenix into the Superstition wilderness to the east.

    One thing which elevates Infiniti above the crowd is the front mid-ship configuration of the car engines: something engineers culled from formula-one racing. Across the board, Infiniti cars have superior front-to-rear weight balance, which is most noticeable on winding two-lane roads.

    Popping the seven-speed automatic transmission into manual mode, I was able to enjoy crisp downshifts through the corners, and maintain the engine’s sweet spot. Doing this means some sacrifice in fuel economy, since the engine doesn’t cycle on and off during steady state driving. By comparison, driving in fully automatic mode, there are frequently times when the tachometer is close to zero, since the car is running on electric power.

    Acceleration off the line is humbling, even at half throttle. Fortunately, the sedan’s large vented disk brakes stop it on a dime.

    Steering response is excellent at all speeds. There is virtually no difference in performance between the hybrid electric power steering system in the M35h and a conventional hydraulic setup. However, the electric system in the M hybrid has significantly less parasitic power loss, which translates to better fuel economy. To stretch gas mileage even further, steering assist is only active when the driver turns the wheel.

    The sedan’s four-wheel independent suspension consists of a compact double wishbone setup in front and multi-links in the rear. Stabilizer bars front and rear keep the chassis pancake flat in the corners.

    Upscale interior

    Infiniti M35h Interior

    The Infiniti M35h seats up to four adult passengers. The car’s high floor tunnel and the location of the center console eats up most of the legroom in the middle position of the second row.

    Upholstery tends to be on the hard side in most Nissan/Infiniti products. This one is no exception: some drivers will like it, while others may not. Side bolsters up front keep the driver and front passenger in place during aggressive driving.

    Accouterments which luxury buyers expect on this type of vehicle are all standard, from keyless ignition to ten-way adjustable front seats with position memory, dual zone temperature control and a power moonroof.

    Both the gauge cluster and center stack displays are easy to read in bright sunlight. Infiniti’s three-dimensional graphics give the navigation system a unique look. Yet the screen is easy to read.

    A power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel enables smaller drivers to maintain a clear forward view and a safe distance from the front airbag. Redundant audio, Bluetooth and cruise controls on the steering wheel minimize driver distraction.

    Both rows of passengers have access to cupholders which are large enough to hold 20-ounce water bottles.

    As mentioned up top, the sedan’s trunk is quite small due to the location of the battery pack. This is its biggest drawback for buyers with active lifestyles. It will hold some groceries or small luggage, but larger items such as snowboards, bicycles and skis would need to go on a roof rack.

    Standard safety

    The Infiniti M Hybrid comes with front, side and side curtain airbags, antilock brakes, traction and stability control. Standard high intensity discharge headlamps provide a brighter, longer beam of light than halogen. Infiniti’s comprehensive factory warranty includes complimentary roadside assistance and loaner vehicles.

    Infiniti builds the M35h sedan at its Tochigi, Japan assembly plant.

    Likes: Infiniti engineers use hybrid technology to significantly improve fuel economy while maintaining the response and handling of a true sport sedan.

    Dislike: Small trunk.

    Quick facts:

    Make: Infiniti
    Model: M35h sedan
    Year: 2012
    Base price: $53,700
    As tested: $62,955
    Horsepower: 302 Hp @ 6800 rpm*
    Torque: 258 lbs.-ft. @ 5000 rpm
    Zero-to-sixty: N/A
    Antilock brakes: Standard
    Side curtain airbags: Standard
    First aid kit: Optional
    Bicycle friendly: No
    Off-road: No
    Towing: No
    Fuel economy: 27/32 mpg city/highway
    Comment: *Horsepower and torque ratings are for the gasoline engine only. They do not factor in the electric motor’s 67 horsepower and 199 lbs.-ft. of torque. The electric motor reaches peak horsepower and torque at 1770 rpm.

     

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    46. I was recommended this blog by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by him as nobody else know such detailed about my trouble. Youre incredible! Thanks!

    47. Currently it sounds like Expression Engine is the preferred blogging platform available right now. (from what Ive read) Is that what youre using on your blog?

    48. Hi, i think that i saw you visited my web site so i came to return the favor.Im trying to find things to enhance my web site!I suppose its ok to use some of your ideas!!

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