Presently, the number of Infiniti hybrid models stands at one, but that figure will triple for the 2014 model year. In addition to the Q70 Hybrid (nee M35h) that's presently on sale, the new Q50 sedan (formerly known as the G37) will spawn a hybrid variant, and the QX60 crossover -- once known as the JX35 -- will also be offered in hybrid-electric form for 2014.
If this catches you by surprise, chances are you invested in prime subterranean real estate. Not only have Nissan-Infiniti executives hinted at such a vehicle for quite some time now, but early QX60 hybrid prototypes were shown to journalists during a Nissan technology briefing last November. Arguably, the only surprise is that the QX60 Hybrid is debuting at the very same auto show as the 2014 Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid, which shares both its platform and powertrain with the Infiniti.
Let's touch on the latter point, as it's what separates the QX60 Hybrid from the QX60. In lieu of the typical 265-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 used in non-hybrid QX60s, the 2014 QX60 is powered by a supercharged 2.5-liter I-4 working in concert with a 15 kW electric motor. In total, the system -- which Infiniti labels as the "Direct Response Hybrid System" delivers 250 hp and 243 lb-ft of torque -- which is just shy of the 260 hp and 246 lb-ft of torque offered by the aforementioned 3.5-liter V-6.
If Infiniti's fuel economy predictions hold true in real-world use, we do think it might be worth sacrificing a little bit of power, as the QX60 Hybrid is expected a 24-percent improvement in fuel economy. Infiniti won't provide exact numbers, but says we should be able to expect combined EPA ratings of up to 26 mpg. That's substantial, as the present front- and all-wheel drive QX60s are rated at 21 and 20 mpg combined, respectively.
Many automakers toss about the "no compromise" banner, but it almost fits here. Although many vehicles sacrifice space and versatility in order to accommodate a hybrid battery pack, the QX60 Hybrid's lithium-ion battery pack is svelte enough to tuck neatly beneath the third-row seat, thus preserving the QX60's seven-passenger capacity, flat floor, and original cargo volume. Buyers won't have to sacrifice much at the dealer, either -- Infiniti says the hybrid driveline should only add about a $3000 premium, meaning base prices should fall close to $45,000 .
Like its non-hybrid siblings, the 2014 QX60 Hybrid will be offered in both front- and all-wheel drive forms. 19-inch wheels are standard, but giant 20-inch rims are included as part of an optional HEV Deluxe Touring Package, which also includes heated second-row seats, an advanced climate control with Plasmacluster air purification, and a 15-speaker Bose audio system.
Expect finalized pricing and content information to be available later this summer, closer to when production of the 2014 Infiniti QX60 hybrid begins in Smyrna, Tennessee.