Feeds
Infiniti M35h

Review: Infiniti M35h hybrid sports saloon

To infinity and... er... Skelmersdale

The Power of One Brief: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

Torque of the town

This combination eliminates the need for a torque converter and allows for the full decoupling of the V6 when there is adequate battery charge to drive the car using electricity alone. It also smooths things out during gear changes and when the V6 is being tuned in or out of proceedings.

The drivetrain architecture allows the M35h to run with either just the electric motor or the petrol engine, or a combination of the two. It also saves fuel by automatically switching off the engine when the car is stopped or stopping. In fact, as soon as you start to slow down the M35h usually drops into EV mode. Think stop/start but writ large.

Infiniti M35h drivetrain schematic

The drivetrain

Being modular the IDRH system will eventually find itself in most if not all of Infiniti’s forthcoming models, including presumably the new premium compact that will go into production at Nissan’s Sunderland factory in 2015.

In the M35h, the electric motor serves a triple purpose: as a drive unit, a starter motor, and a generator to recover energy during deceleration and braking. On paper it’s one of the most compact and efficient hybrid system on the market and when it comes to energy recuperation it seems particularly efficient.

Even after deliberate attempts to drain the battery by maximising the EV-only range - the maximum electric-only range is quoted as 1.2 miles but I managed to get over two easily - the battery recovered to a full charge surprisingly quickly. Of course, part of the trick is the engine’s ability to charge the battery directly.

The compact size of the hybrid drive pays dividends when it comes to kerb weight. At 1830kg, the M35h is 95Kg lighter than a BMW ActivHybrid 5 and 80kg lighter than Lexus GS450h. That’s the equivalent of an extra passenger.

Infiniti M35h energy flow

Energy flow 1: driving in EV mode

Once inside the M35h, you’ll search in vain for an ‘EV’ button. In fact, the only obvious e-car giveaways are the green EV light in the tachometer dial and the power/charge gauge.

But don’t assume this is hybrid-lite. You can travel under electric power at speeds up to 65mph, and in everyday motoring I was surprised to see how often the tacho needle would suddenly drop down to zero even when my foot was still on the throttle pedal.

Such is the refinement of the Infiniti that even with the stereo turned off it’s difficult to tell when the V6 has decided it’s not needed and metaphorically stepped outside for a fag.

On the emissions front, the Infinti screws the global pooch to the tune of 159g/km of CO2. By comparison, the Lexus GS450h returns 141g/km but the Lexus achieves this by using a CVT transmission, something that in my opinion has no place in a car with even vaguely sporting pretensions.

Infiniti M35h energy flow

YEnergy flow 2: the V6 can charge the battery pack directly

The manufacturers’ economy figures as always err on the optimistic side. I covered over 350 miles in my week with the M35h and averaged 33.6mpg. That’s 16.8mpg less than the extra-urban best and 7.3mpg less than the on-paper average.

I should say in the car’s defence that most of the distance I covered was in a style best described as energetic and with the gearbox in Sport mode. You see, in addition to the manual gear selector, the M35h has four driving modes selected by a rotary knob on the centre console: Normal, ECO, Sport and, appositely given the recent weather, Snow.

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

More from The Register

next story
Report: American tech firms charge Britons a thumping nationality tax
Without representation, too. Time for a Boston (Lincs) Macbook Party?
Child diagnosed as allergic to iPad
Apple's fondleslab is the tablet dermatitis sufferers won't want to take
Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops
Redmond's chief salesman: We're taking 'hard' decisions
For Lenovo US, 8-inch Windows tablets are DEAD – long live 8-inch Windows tablets
Reports it's killing off smaller slabs are greatly exaggerated
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Seventh-gen SPARC silicon will accelerate Oracle databases
Uncle Larry's mutually-optimised stack to become clearer in August
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.