Petrol-electric version of M saloon is Japanese firm's best car yet
The M35h is difficult to fault. It loses some boot space due to the battery pack, and the chassis isn’t as agile as some of its rivals, but performance is superb and fuel economy impressive. It also costs only fractionally more than the M30d, which is slower and less efficient. This Infiniti really makes sense.
Could this be the Infiniti that makes British drivers sit up and take notice?
The petrol-electric hybrid M35h joins existing diesel and petrol models in the M line-up. Not only is it the quickest from 0-62mph, but it’s the cleanest, too, emitting 162g/km of CO2. And it’s the huge pace on offer that comes as the real surprise.
Floor the throttle in any of the four modes – Snow, Eco, Normal and Sport – and the surge of acceleration as the electric motor and V6 powerplant combine is startling. Unfortunately, the rather lifeless steering and slow reactions can’t match up to the sporty performance.
[Official driving video of the Infiniti M35h]
It’s also a shame that there are no wheel-mounted paddles to control the gearbox manually, as it can be ponderous when left to change ratios itself. What really sets the M35h apart, though, is its ability to run on electric power only. In slow-moving traffic, you can crawl along in EV mode, leaving the engine disengaged. And pedestrians needn’t worry about your silent approach – it’s the first hybrid to feature a sound synthesiser mounted behind the front air intakes.
You can even travel at up to 60mph on battery power alone. The engine helps you get up to that speed, but once there, you can cruise along with zero emissions. Although the M35h is a bit of a mixed bag, its figures certainly stack up.
The hybrid is faster and more frugal than the M30d diesel, and costs only £1,180 more. And as we’ve come to expect from an Infiniti, it’s fully loaded with standard equipment. If you’re in the market for an M, this is the one to go for.