What is it?
It’s tempting to see the Infiniti M35h petrol hybrid as an other-markets substitute for the M30d diesel-powered version of Infiniti’s big saloon, which is likely to be the big seller here. In fact, they’re surprisingly different, and for any buyer who seeks performance with efficiency the M35h is by a big margin the best-performing of Infiniti’s three M models.
What’s it like?
The M35h’s combined power of 359bhp and 457lb ft of torque give it a 155mph top speed and a 0-62mph sprint of 5.5 sec, while returning an impressive 40.4mpg combined with official CO2 emissions of just 162g/km. The diesel can manage only 37.7mpg and 199g/km, and its performance isn’t in the same league as the hybrid because it has just 235bhp to work with.
The M35h’s secret is a rear-drive petrol/electric twin-clutch powertrain arranged thus: 3.5 V6/clutch/electric motor/clutch/auto ’box. This not only lets the engine and motor drive together, but also allows the V6 to be declutched completely – up to about 60mph – so the car is powered only by the electric motor (the so-called ‘freewheeling’ mode). Naturally the M35h has clever engine controls that turn the V6 off when stationary, and generate power from braking.
All sounds great, doesn’t it? And mostly it is. The cockpit is cosseting, luxurious and well equipped, but the exterior styling looks rather Hyundai-like to me, and by that I mean from the previous generation. The Infiniti M35h also lacks some surprising dynamic essentials, such as proper steering precision at the straight-ahead, a smooth primary ride and the rolling comfort you expect in this class (a Mondeo is better).