Last year, the Ford Mustang made big news by being the first car to deliver more than 300 horsepower and at least 30 miles per gallon, but the all-new 2012 Infiniti M Hybrid will one up the iconic muscle car by producing 360 horsepower and 32 mpg on the highway. Later this spring, Infiniti will introduce the 2012 Infiniti M35h - Nissan's first in-house-developed hybrid-electric vehicle - and it is now one step closer to going on sale with the official EPA fuel economy estimates being announced. With this horsepower and fuel economy, the powertrain of the new Infiniti M35h will produce the power of a V-8 sedan with the fuel economy of a four-cylinder.
Instead of the current 3.7-liter V-6 engine used in the M, this new hybrid will feature a 302-hp, 3.5-liter Atkinson-cycle V-6 which is paired with a 67-hp (50 kW) electric motor for a combined power output of 360 hp. 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. The final component to the M Hybrid's mix of sportiness and fuel efficiency numbers is the seven-speed automatic transmission. In addition to the 32 mpg highway, the M Hybrid gets 27 mpg in the city for a combined fuel economy average of 29 mpg.
Despite becoming a green car, the Infiniti M Hybrid retains the performance attributes of the other M models due to the fact that the hybrid drivetrain only adds 276 pounds to the car's curb weight; acceleration from zero to 60 miles per hour hasn't been officially announced yet, but it is expected to happen in less than six seconds. Even the M Hybrid's brakes have been tuned to better balance the need for regenerative braking and performance braking.
'As hybrid technology has gotten more sophisticated, so have hybrid drivers. Where it was once enough to offer fuel efficiency alone, today's hybrid buyers need performance and handling to go along with the 'green' attributes - and that's where the new Infiniti Hybrid delivers like no other,'? said Infiniti Vice President Ben Poore.
When Infiniti's new luxury hybrid goes on sale, it will compete against other cars such as the Lexus GS 450h and the Mercedes-Benz E350 BlueTEC.Official pricing for the 2012 Infiniti M35h will be announced closer to the car's sale date, has yet to be announced, it will likely carry about a $6,000 premium over the M37 model which starts at $47,050 for 2011.
Other than the hybrid system, the only differences between the M35h and the other M models are the hybrid-specific instrument gauge and infotainment screen display that now both show information pertaining to the electric motor and battery pack.