Infiniti’s M35 Hybrid: You Can Have it All
by The Car Family
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This sedan flies and no one notices. After all, it is a hybrid that yielded 33 mpg in daily driving. The reality is you can get to 60 mph in just over five seconds while sitting on heated and cooled seats, surrounded by a stunning leather and wood trimmed interior, and getting traffic and weather reports.
Expensive, yes, at $53,700, but worth it if you love to drive, need room for five, don’t like refueling costs, and enjoy understatement.
At first blush, we weren’t impressed. This car looked like an M 35 Infiniti and that model cost less. Sure the seats were comfortable, and the fit and finish similar to other luxury cars, but nothing really engaged the love at first site mode. We spent a full ten minutes trying to figure out what all the buttons, gauges, and other controls were before the urge to push the start button overcame our better judgment. The rpm and speedometer pointers swung up and down. The instrument panel lighted-up and that was it. Just silence. Unnoticed at first was a small readout informing us the car was ready. So, with some hesitation, we put the car in reverse and the huge monitor flashed an image of what was behind the Infiniti. Very nice.
Under electric power, we drove away. It was an eerie feeling, but it didn’t last. When we turned on the air-conditioning the gas engine came to life. From that moment on it was play time. The information system provides a plethora of data and you can even adjust the accelerator pedal feel. The heated and cooled seats were the best we’ve tested and there was always that feeling of luxury. Overall, this was one of the few cars we have tested that we would not mind keeping. The M 35 hybrid does it all.
Mom’s view: I had a difficult time trying to squeeze my hand between the seat and door to adjust the rake, lumbar and height settings. Good thing my husband didn’t buy me a large diamond ring. (Marry a teacher and those things happen.) The front and side visibility were good, crash scores excellent, and it was easy to park. The exterior does not draw attention to itself, but the interior is gorgeous. There was nothing not to like in this car. The acceleration is exhilarating, the ride firm, but not harsh, and there are plenty of storage. Among the unique safety features were blind spot and lane departure warning and intervention systems, and excellent headlights and interior lighting. My only concern was the smallish trunk due to the the battery pack. The best thing I can say it that it made me feel good, and that makes it worth every penny.
Dad’s view: The Infiniti has a heavy feel, but the suspension has a sporty nature. It is an excellent combination for most drivers. Brake feel is a bit different as the Infiniti uses regenerative brakes to help recharge its batteries. One thing for certain, the car can stop in a hurry. I came upon a texting driver who, without warning, decided my lane was better. I hit the brakes hard and the Infiniti was magnificent. Very little front end dip and the ABS enabled me to steer clear. Driving into the San Bernardino mountains brought out the best in the Infiniti. The instant power made passing slowing traffic safe. Truly a sedan for those who are looking for some fun, some substance, and good fuel economy in a safe package.
Young working woman’s view: The price may appear a little dear, but the standard equipment is abundant. Outside of the sophisticated hybrid system Infiniti offers iPod slots, USB integration, Bluetooth speakerphone, a six speaker stereo system, single in dash CD player and XM satellite radio. If you opt for the premium packages you own a high resolution 8-inch monitor, a Bose 5.1 audio package with speakers in the seat, and voice controls among other goodies. The system provides you with traffic conditions around your location and alerts you to extreme weather conditions. The price is too much for me, I prefer the smaller G37 model, but when I marry right this would be on my gift list.
Young working male’s view: It is all about numbers. Infiniti’s hybrid system uses a seven-speed automatic transmission and a the drivetrain produces 360 hp at 6,500 rpm. The EPA grants it ratings of 29 mpg combined. We always got better fuel numbers.The M can use the electric only mode for up to 50 percent of the time. The Infiniti has a 1.4-kwh lithium-ion battery pack that can provide acceleration up to 60 mph and be engaged up to 50 percent of driving time. There’s more numbers, but the best one may be that it is a Guinness record holder for the world’s fastest hybrid in a quarter mile at just over 13 seconds.
Family conference: Not many cars offer you understated elegance, performance, and the ability to get over 30 mpg while it keeping you informed of world events. If that isn’t enough, the Infiniti offers XM Radio, a Zagat restaurant guide, and a 9.3GB Music Box hard drive. You can have it all.