2012 Infiniti M35h Hybrid

Infiniti's been telling us about its upcoming M hybrid for some time now, but the wait is over as the Japanese luxury brand officially unveiled the M35h hybrid earlier today.

With the M35h, Infiniti copied Lexus' idea of designing a hybrid system for performance rather than all out fuel economy. As such, the hybrid uses Infiniti's 3.5-liter V-6 coupled to an electric motor to produce a combined 360 horsepower. For what Infiniti calls a hybrid performance sedan, fuel economy isn't terrible either at an estimated 25/30/27 mpg (city/hwy/combined).

The hybrid system uses a single, 50-kW (67-horsepower) electric motor powered by a lithium-ion battery to deliver motive power directly to the seven-speed automatic transmission. Thanks to the motor's instantly available 199 pound-feet of torque, it can be clutched in without kicking the engine on to propel the M35h for up to 1.2 miles at speeds up to 62 mph. Of course the motor can do more than propel the car as well, turning into a generator when decelerating to charge the battery.

In addition to being Infiniti's first hybrid, the M35h is also the world's first hybrid to come standard with pedestrian alert technology. With the advent of near silent propulsion, many have advocated for the use of sound alert systems to alert people about the presence of a vehicle. Infiniti is the first automaker to offer such a system, accurately dubbed Approaching Vehicle Sound for Pedestrians, as standard on its new hybrid.

The system only operates at speeds up to 20 mph while accelerating as above that, the vehicle itself generates enough noise to warn pedestrians of its approach. When decelerating, the system kicks back in below 15 mph.

For a first attempt at a hybrid, Infiniti's M35h sounds impressive from the spec-sheet, but we'll reserve final judgment until we drive it. The M37 and M56 are already good, but this M may be the one to have. Look for the new M35h on Infiniti's stand at the L.A. Auto Show.

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