The Infiniti M35h was introduced in 2012 and is unchanged for 2013, the vehicle manages to combine uncompromising performance with fuel-conserving technologies for a truly unique all-around luxury sedan.
Aesthetically, the M35h looks almost exactly the same as the standard M. The only distinction is the “HYBRID” badging infront of the doors. Where most companies have gone for harder lines Infiniti has stuck to the gentle curves they introduced to the M in 2011.
The interior of the M35h is laid out in beautiful Japanese white ash wood trim that has been grain matched perfectly where pieces meet. Every corner of the cabin shows great attention to detail and a stunning level of fit and finish. Materials in the cabin, from the seats to the headliner, are of utmost quality, soft to the touch and color matched very nicely.
Infiniti has chosen to keep things straightforward with their all-in-one navigation system atop the center stack. Where many brands have turned to touch-screens or mouse-like devices to control their navigation, phone and media functions, Infiniti has stuck to a mostly button run system and it works. The button-heavy dashboard is easy to navigate and very functional without being distracting. There are, however, a few out of place controls — such as the steering wheel heat button which seats at knee level and requires a fair amount of yoga like movement from a six-foot-plus driver. One nice feature of the M35h is Infiniti’s Forest Air system which modulates airflow to make it more gentle and adds humidity and odor control to the HVAC system. The system sounds and, lets be honest, looks like a gimmick (figure below) but it actually works. Odors are whisked away and the air smells fresh and less industrial.
Hybrids always have to stash their batteries somewhere, Infiniti put the M35h’s behind the rear seats which is great for weight distribution but bad for trunk space. The M35h has a paltry 11.3 cubic feet of trunk space and the rear seats do not fold down to help out.
The Infiniti M35h is marketed as being the car that bested the Porsche Panamera Hybrid to 100 mph and in the quarter mile. It’s a blast to drive and any worries about fun going out the window in exchange for efficiency can be laid to rest. Power is smooth and constant from the V6 and electric motor combo and although there is some lag as the engine engages the M35h is quite snappy compared to most hybrids. The M35h is a very big car and it looks huge from outside, but behind the wheel it drives like something much smaller. The car is responsive with just a hint of oversteer.
Despite driving the M35h hard I was able to achieve 30 MPG average during my week with the car. I did give Infiniti’s Eco Pedal option a go, a system that actuates the gas pedal and actually pushes back against the driver when you’re being a bit too lead footed. It’s a neat feature and if your goal is to be as efficient as possible likely a helpful option, but I found it annoying and most enthusiasts will as well.
Overall, the Infiniti M35h is the perfect sport luxury sedan for any enthusiast looking to bring their carbon footprint down in size a bit. You don’t have to sacrifice performance or luxury for fuel economy and you can even have your gas whisked away by the Forest Air system in the process.
Sorry for the complete lack of photography this week, when computer things go bad, they really go bad….