Harry Pegg

2012 Infiniti M35h

Quiet confidence with M-phatic performance

2012 Infiniti M35h

Quiet confidence with M-phatic performance

Infiniti’s M sedans have not changed from the 2011 models in terms of looks. In fact the only outward sign the 2012 M35h is any different is the trunk lid badge and a “hybrid” on the front quarters.

The M35h is good-looking and well-proportioned but doesn’t stand out in a crowd. It’s no head-turner, but that may be a good thing, because in terms of off-the-line power, it’s certainly a sleeper and it will blow past slower highway traffic in a hurry.

Search available trim options for the 2012 Infiniti M35h

Maybe it’s my age, but I’m more interested in having a vehicle that works well, carries me in something resembling great comfort and convenience rather than something that says “hey, look at me!”

Under the hood is a 3.5-litre Atkinson Cycle gasoline V6 hooked to an electric motor and seven-speed automatic transmission with a sport shift. The engine puts out 302 horsepower and 258 lb.-ft. of torque while the 50-watt electric motor is rated at 67 horsepower and 199 lb. ft. The net output is set at 360 horsepower but Infiniti is not revealing the net torque figure.

That’s a lot of oomph, but it doesn’t translate into big bills at gas stations. The M35h is rated at 7.5 L/100km in town and 6.1 L/100km on the highway. That’s getting down into four-cylinder engine territory, a good thing when fuel prices are running high.

The two-clutch parallel hybrid system gets its electrical power from a lithium-ion battery residing behind the back seat, which means there’s no way to expand trunk space (You can carry golf clubs for you and three friends but you just have to pack them into the trunk by following the posted directions on the left inside of the trunk). The car runs on battery power alone at speeds up to 100 km/h – for about 1.9 km. Then the engine goes to work providing propulsion while at the same time charging the battery, until the EV system takes over again.

The trip odometer includes a reading on how far the vehicle has travelled using electricity alone. Company literature says the M35h can travel on battery alone up to 50% of the time in mixed driving conditions. Launch day was less than perfect, weather-wise, but during the test, the car recorded electric-only operation for 36% of the route.

There are no options on this car - everything is standard, and it’s a long list.

You get power everything, leather seating, navigation system and safety gear like lane departure warning and departure intervention, intelligent brake assist with forward collision control, blind spot warning and intervention, plus the usual things like stability control, traction control, ABS, EBD, etc.

The car even has a system that makes a sound so pedestrians will hear its approach when it’s running on battery power (so you can forget the idea of sneaking up on pedestrians and scaring then with a blast of the horn).

Fact file

  • Price range: $67,300
  • Freight: $1,600
  • Year/Make/Model: 2012 Infiniti M35h
  • Options: none.
  • EnerGuide fuel economy ratings: 7.5 L/100km city; 6.1 L/100km hwy
  • Warranty (powertrain): 6 years/ 110,000 km
  • Warranty (basic): 4 years/100,000
  • Competitors: Lexus GS450h; Mercedes E350 Bluetec