As rookie seasons go, 2012 was a pretty good year for the Infiniti M Hybrid. As the first hybrid available to offer 360 horsepower and 32 miles per gallon fuel economy, it had the stats to get noticed. Deemed the fastest accelerating full hybrid, it also had the power to get the public's attention. And when it came to the trophy presentation, the Infiniti M Hybrid was the only hybrid named to the prestigious "Ward's 10 Best Engines" list.
Moving into the 2013 model year, the M Hybrid receives several enhancements, including standard auto-dimming sideview mirrors and auto-trunk cincher, and the addition of rear sonar system and Infiniti Connection™ telematics – with available safety, security and convenience services – to the popular Premium Package.
A Unique Combination of Power, Luxury and Efficiency
The selecting the Infiniti M Hybrid to the "Ward's 10 Best Engines" list from a record field of 38 engines, Ward's judges used criteria that included horsepower, torque, noise, vibration, harshness, technical specs, relevance against others in their field, and the "x factor" – that personally subjective feeling a judge has toward each engine as part of the overall package. That "x factor" might be more appropriately called the "I-factor," the Infiniti philosophy that says luxury should always thrill – even in full hybrid mode.
Core to its success is the Infiniti M Hybrid's unprecedented balance of three attributes:
- Power – the innovative one-motor, two-clutch parallel hybrid system in the Infiniti M35h delivers thrilling performance and is capable of driving in pure electric mode at speeds up to 62 mph
- Luxury – maintaining the Infiniti M Sedan's engaging driving feel and extensive array of standard comfort and convenience features
- Efficiency – utilizing the Infiniti Direct Response Hybrid™ system, with a powerful yet compact Lithium-ion battery pack, advanced 3.5-liter V6 engine, 50kW electric motor, connected to an electronic 7-speed automatic transmission, helps achieve fuel economy of 32 miles per gallon Highway, 27 mpg City and 29 mpg combined
The M35h's inspired – and green – performance is based on an innovative yet elegantly simple gasoline/electric drivetrain, which ensures that zero-emissions electric propulsion is used more often, for longer periods and at higher speeds than in typical hybrids. The M35h can drive on electric power alone at speeds up to 62 mph and can travel on electric propulsion for up to 1.2 miles at a time. Tests have shown that in mixed diving, the Infiniti M35h is able to drive in electric only mode for as much as 50% of the time.
Infiniti Direct Response Hybrid System
At the heart of the M35h is a front-engine, rear-wheel drive layout based around an innovative Infiniti Direct Response Hybrid™ one-motor, two-clutch parallel hybrid system. The electric motor is rated at 50 kW (67 hp) and peak torque of 199 lb-ft. It acts as either a propulsion unit, alone or in tandem with the V6, or as a power generator. As well as charging the battery in the normal way, the motor recovers energy otherwise lost during deceleration and braking.
The first of the two clutches is a dry clutch installed between the V6 engine and the electric motor. It facilitates full decoupling of the V6 when the car is in electric drive and power regeneration modes. Decoupling the V6 reduces mechanical losses and boosts efficiency of the electric motor. The proven 302-horsepower 3.5-liter DOHC 24-valve V6 was chosen for torque characteristics (258 lb-ft at 5,000 rpm) that perfectly complement the electric motor's output. It combines with the electric motor and high-power battery to produce 360 horsepower (hybrid system net power).
Both the gasoline V6 and electric motor deliver their power to the rear wheels via a 7-speed automatic transmission. The electric motor's high torque from zero rpm provides strong performance from a standing start and contributes to the sporting feel.
The M35h's Lithium-ion battery pack is designed to quickly alternate between charging/discharging and, size for size, offers twice as powerful as conventional Nickel-Metal Hydride batteries. Along with its fast charge/discharge response and 1.4 kWh capacity, the Lithium-ion battery pack is laminated to enhance the cooling performance. Temperature stability is further improved by the use of manganese positive electrodes, helping provide exceptional battery reliability. The batteries are located behind the rear seat, but the M35h is one hybrid sedan with practical luggage room, with the trunk able to accommodate four golf bags or two large suitcases.
Extra weight, the bane of many hybrids, is kept in check in the M35h by the lightweight batteries and features such as the single electric motor, no torque converter and innovative steering and braking systems. The weight gain over the non-hybrid M37 has been kept down to just 276 pounds.
Innovative Steering and Braking Systems
The Infiniti M35h is equipped with world's first steering and braking technologies, which have been designed to deliver both environmental benefits and natural driving feel. The Hybrid Electric Power Steering is an electro-hydraulic system with "on-demand" assistance. It offers the advantages of both types of steering – the natural and smooth feel of hydraulic power steering and the improved fuel efficiency of an electric system. The assist motor cuts in only when the wheel is turned, further boosting efficiency. The system is more compact and lighter than traditional power steering set-ups, achieved by integrating multiple parts. In addition, the Hybrid Electric Power Steering system helps reduce fuel consumption by approximately 2%.
The Electric Driven Intelligent Brake system is similarly designed primarily to suit sport sedan buyers' needs, while at the same time contributing to the M35h's efficient operation.
An electric booster motor is utilized to operate the brake cylinders, saving mass that would otherwise be added by a reserve pressure tank. The primary benefit of the system is that by controlling both regenerative and friction braking, depending on motor operation and battery condition, the Infiniti M35h operates more efficiently – recovering otherwise wasted energy. The simplicity of these elegant mechanical solutions, with their emphasis on compactness, lightweight and fewer parts, is made possible by advanced computerized control.
The M35h utilizes the proven FM (Front Mid-ship) platform, along with the M37's independent double-wishbone design in front and multi-link independent system in the rear. The suspension system also features front and rear stabilizer bars and double-piston shock absorbers that have been specially tuned for use with the M35h. Standard 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels and P245/50R18 all-season performance tires are standard.
The Infiniti M35h is also the world's first hybrid to provide a standard feature to help alert pedestrians to its presence. The Approaching Vehicle Sound for Pedestrians (VSP) system uses a range of distinctive sounds to help alert other road users that the vehicle is approaching. VSP automatically works from start-up to approximately miles per hour, cutting back in at approximately 15 miles per hour as the vehicle slows.
Exterior and Interior Design: Pure Infiniti M
Like the gasoline engine-equipped Infiniti M37, the 2013 Infiniti M Hybrid features an elegant yet sporty exterior and interior design. Its balanced, rear-wheel drive proportions and stance, with a long, low hood and high rear deck, provides a roomy cabin, uncompromised by the M Hybrid's compact battery design (located behind the rear seat).
The deep body shape of the fenders and doors give the M sedan a powerful look unlike anything on the road. The wave-style doors are constructed from aluminum for light weight, despite the material's difficult formability.
Other exterior features include an expressive, signature Infiniti double-arch upright low grille and crystal-look headlight clusters, and a wave-like trunk with a high aerodynamic performance that works like a spoiler to increase downforce.
Standard features include a power sliding tinted glass moonroof with one-touch open/close, tilt feature and sliding sunshade, automatic on/off High Intensity Discharge (HID) bi-functional Xenon headlights with windshield wiper interlock, dual exhaust with polished tips, power-folding heated outside mirrors with reverse tilt-down feature, rain-sensing variable intermittent front windshield wipers and courtesy lamps built into the outside door handles. An Adaptive Front lighting System (AFS) with auto-leveling headlights is available as part of the Technology Package. The Infiniti M Hybrid is available in six exterior colors: Malbec Black, Liquid Platinum, Platinum Graphite, Storm Front Grey, Black Obsidian and Moonlight White.
Inside, the Infiniti M instrument panel features hybrid-unique instrument meters, meter display and IT screen displays, providing battery and other essential system information. It allows the driver to view hybrid system and available navigation system information simultaneously. Fine Vision electroluminescent gauges, gear-like rings on the instrument cluster meters and Infiniti analog clock complete the elegant design.
The M35h interior also offers standard leather-appointed, heated 10-way power driver and front passenger's seats including 2-way power lumbar support, and dual occupant memory system for the driver's seat, steering wheel and outside mirrors. An entry/exit assist system for the driver's seat and steering wheel, heated front seats, sequential welcome lighting illuminated entry system and dual-zone automatic temperature also contribute to the M's outstanding level of standard luxury appointments. Standard technology equipment includes Bluetooth® Hands-free Phone System, Infiniti Intelligent Key with Illuminated Push Button Ignition, HomeLink® Universal Transceiver and RearView Monitor.
Other interior highlights include a large center console, power windows with one-touch up/down and auto-reverse feature, power door locks with automatic locking feature, power trunk release, retained accessory power for windows and moonroof, standard SiriusXM Satellite Radio (SiriusXM subscription required, sold separately) and 6-speaker audio system with AM/FM/CD, Radio Data System (RDS), USB connection port for iPod® interface and other compatible devices, steering wheel audio controls and speed-sensitive volume control.
The M35h also features a standard Active Noise Control system, which generates "canceling" sound from four door speakers (and subwoofer for models equipped with a Bose® sound system) to reduce unpleasant engine harmonics. Four interior colors are offered with the M35h depending on which options are selected – Graphite, Stone, Java or Wheat.
The Premium Package adds an Infiniti Hard Drive Navigation System with 8.0-inch WVGA color touch-screen display, NavTraffic with Real-Time Traffic Information, NavWeather with Real-Time Weather and 3-day forecast (SiriusXM subscription required, sold separately), and Zagat Survey® Restaurant Guide. The Premium Package also includes a Bose® 2-channel 10-speaker premium audio system, heated steering wheel and climate-controlled front seats. The Infiniti Connection telematics system includes the Infiniti Personal Assistant, a 24/7 personal concierge service that is offered at no charge for the first four years of ownership.
The Deluxe Touring Package adds such notable features as the Bose® Studio Surround® sound system with digital 5.1-channel decoding and 16 speakers (including two personal speakers mounted in the shoulders of each front seat), power rear sunshade, unique quilted seat pattern with contrasting piping and additional seat bolstering, suede-like headliner and a premium stitched meter hood. The Deluxe Touring Package also features semi-aniline leather and specially developed soft touch material for the armrests, door inserts, center console and kneepads. The Deluxe Touring Package's genuine White Ash wood trim has been enhanced with real silver powder (Japanese Ash wood trim is offered on M35h models without the Deluxe Touring Package).
The Forest Air® system attempts to recreate the refreshing climate and natural breezes of a relaxing forest setting. System sensors automatically open and close air intake ports to reduce the intrusion of dust, exhaust or unpleasant odors into the cabin, while the special Grape Polyphenol filter and Plasmacluster™ air purifier help filter allergens, mold and viruses out of the cabin. Humidity control prevents the over-drying of air from the air conditioner, while Breeze Mode provides a natural airflow feeling, gently and subtly varying the airflow from the upper and front air vents.
Like the M37, the M35h is available with a number of innovative technologies as part of the Technology Package, including Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Lane Departure Prevention (LDP) systems and Blind Spot Warning (BSW) and Blind Spot Intervention® (BSI) systems, all of which are available as part of the Technology Package. Other available safety features include Intelligent Brake Assist (IBA) with Forward Collision Warning (FCW) and Front Pre-Crash Seat Belts.
In addition, every 2013 Infiniti M35h comes equipped with standard Infiniti Advanced Air Bag System (AABS) with dual-stage supplemental front air bags with seat belt sensors and occupant classification sensor; standard front seat-mounted side impact supplemental air bags; and standard roof-mounted curtain side impact supplemental air bags for front and rear-seat outboard occupant head protection.
Also included are standard 3-point seat belts with Automatic Locking Retractor (ALR) and Emergency Locking Retractor (ELR) (driver's seat ELR only), front seat belts with pretensioners and load limiters, front seat Active Head Restraints with 4-way manual adjustments, along with Zone Body construction with front and rear crumple zones and LATCH System (Lower Anchors and Tether for CHildren).
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