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There are hybrids and then there are hybrids. The sole hybrid powerplant to be honored by WardsAuto.com and Wards Auto World magazine in their 2012 “10 Best Engines” list happens to be the one that challenges conventional wisdom about the compatibility of performance and fuel economy – the 2012 Infiniti M Hybrid’s innovative 3.5-liter V6 with Infiniti Direct Response Hybrid system.
Offering 360 horsepower and 32 miles per gallon highway fuel economy, the Infiniti M Hybrid system utilizes an advanced 1-motor, 2-clutch parallel hybrid design and high-speed motor control technology to enable seamless transitions between the combustion engine and electric motor.
“The Infiniti M hybrid is pure exhilaration in a world of uninspired hybrids, delivering the power of a luxury V8 engine with the fuel economy of a 4-cylinder,” said Infiniti Americas Vice President Ben Poore. “Able to accelerate from zero to 60 miles per hour in under 6.0 seconds, and capable of driving at speeds of 62 miles per hour in pure electric mode, it’s the one hybrid worthy of the Infiniti name – and, apparently, Ward’s recognition.”
The Wards Auto editors called out the design of the Infiniti Direct Response Hybrid system for its combination of “a single 50-kW (67 hp) electric motor linked to a powerful lithium-ion battery pack.” The editors also noted “the M35h trumps German luxury hybrid sedans that cost much more.”
To be eligible for the “10 Best Engines” award, each engine must be available in a regular-production U.S.-specific model on sale no later than first-quarter 2012, in a vehicle with a base price below $55,000. The full article on the awards testing and results will be available online at WardsAuto.com on January 3rd. The awards will be presented at a ceremony during the North American International Auto Show on January 12th.
About the 2012 Infiniti M Hybrid
The 2012 Infiniti M Hybrid breaks new ground as the first true luxury performance “driver’s” hybrid. Featuring the innovative Infiniti Direct Response Hybrid™ system – a one-motor, two-clutch parallel hybrid system – the M35h delivers the performance expected from a luxury sports sedan with the fuel efficiency of a compact car.
Precise, high-speed motor control technology, enabled by the powerful Lithium-ion battery, allows power to be delivered directly to the 7-speed automatic transmission. With its compact hybrid system design, the Infiniti M Hybrid also delivers uncompromised interior space and competitive trunk space.
The system also utilizes an innovative Hybrid Electric Power Steering system and Electric Driven Intelligent Brake regenerative braking system, both which help conserve energy and provide a natural, enjoyable driving feel. The Infiniti M Hybrid’s exhilarating driving performance also greatly benefits from use of Infiniti’s proven 3.5-liter DOHC 24-valve V6 engine, which paired with the 50 kW electric motor, provides a hybrid system net power of 360 horsepower.
Torque figures are equally impressive, with the V6′s 258 lb-ft of toque combining with the electric motor’s immediately available 199 lb-ft of torque to provide strong performance. Fuel economy figures are estimated at 32 mpg Highway, 27 mpg City and 29 mpg Combined.
The rear-wheel drive M Hybrid also embraces the essence of all things Infiniti – style, performance, luxury, craftsmanship and technology. The Infiniti M’s dramatic, sports styling provides a coefficient of drag of just 0.26, while the roomy, comfortable interior environment features standard leather-appointed seating, standard Japanese Ash wood trim or available silver powdered genuine White Ash wood trim, and available premium audio and climate control systems.
Key standard features include Active Noise Control, Infiniti Intelligent Key with Push Button Ignition, XM Satellite Radio (XM subscription required, sold separately), Bluetooth Hands-free Phone System and power sliding glass tinted moonroof.