With the EPA fuel economy rating out of the way for the 2012 Infiniti M Hybrid, the remaining information about this new luxury hybrid were the starting price and the release date. Infiniti took care of that today by announcing the M Hybrid will hit Infiniti dealerships on March 16 with a starting price of $53,700. As we expected, this new M35h has a price that positions it between the M37 and the M56 as well as between the car's two key rivals, the Mercedes-Benz E350 BlueTEC and the Lexus GS 450h.
The M Hybrid will be Nissan's first hybrid developed in-house, and will likely be the first time many consumers - especially those outside of the 11 states where the Toyota-engineered Nissan Altima Hybrid is currently sold - have even heard of a Nissan/Infiniti-badged hybrid.
'We're excited to be able to bring in the new Infiniti M Hybrid - with its exceptional blend of power, efficiency, style, luxury and technology - at an M.S.R.P. of under $54,000,'? said Ben Poore, Infiniti Vice President. 'Competitively priced, though with little real direct competition, we expect the M Hybrid to continue the strong sales momentum the new Infiniti M Sedan has been experiencing since its launch in the 2011 model year.'?
As gasoline prices continue to creep back up and are expecting to hit record highs, there should be a decent market for a car that offers the fuel economy of a four-cylinder engine with the performance of a V-8. With its 3.5-liter Atkinson-cycle V-6 and 67-hp electric motor under the hood, the M35h will have a combined power output of 360 horsepower. With official EPA estimates of 27 miles per gallon in the city and 32 mpg on the highway, the new Infiniti M Hybrid will be the first car to deliver this combination of power and fuel economy. The motor is powered by a lithium-ion battery pack, and it allows the M35h to travel on full-electric power for up to 1.2 miles at speeds up to 62 miles per hour.
In addition to being priced between the diesel-powered E350 BlueTEC and the hybrid GS 450h, the M Hybrid offers fuel economy that also splits the competition. The 2011 Mercedes-Benz E350 BlueTEC starts at $50,900 and gets 32 mpg highway, while the 2011 Lexus GS 450h starts at $58,050 with a highway fuel economy rating of 25 mpg.
Aside from the new hybrid model, Infiniti also announced that the non-hybrid M models will go on sale on March 2. All models will receive a slight increase of $650 in the MSRP with the 2012 Infiniti M37 starting at $47,700 and the 2012 Infiniti M56 starting at $59,100.