From £37,366
Quick, well made hybrid exec, but lacks the classy all-round dynamics of its rivals

Our Verdict

Infiniti M
The Infiniti M is aimed squarely at its established rivals rather than being an alternative to them

The Infiniti M is a likeable and capable, if expensive, alternative to the obvious

  • First Drive

    Infiniti M35h GT Premium

    Quick, well made hybrid exec, but lacks the classy all-round dynamics of its rivals
  • First Drive

    Infiniti M30d GT Premium

    New diesel executive saloon holds its own next to rivals from BMW, Mercedes and Jaguar
3 June 2011

What is it?

It’s tempting to see the Infiniti M35h petrol hybrid as an other-markets substitute for the M30d diesel-powered version of Infiniti’s big saloon, which is likely to be the big seller here. In fact, they’re surprisingly different, and for any buyer who seeks performance with efficiency the M35h is by a big margin the best-performing of Infiniti’s three M models.

What’s it like?

The M35h’s combined power of 359bhp and 457lb ft of torque give it a 155mph top speed and a 0-62mph sprint of 5.5 sec, while returning an impressive 40.4mpg combined with official CO2 emissions of just 162g/km. The diesel can manage only 37.7mpg and 199g/km, and its performance isn’t in the same league as the hybrid because it has just 235bhp to work with.

The M35h’s secret is a rear-drive petrol/electric twin-clutch powertrain arranged thus: 3.5 V6/clutch/electric motor/clutch/auto ’box. This not only lets the engine and motor drive together, but also allows the V6 to be declutched completely – up to about 60mph – so the car is powered only by the electric motor (the so-called ‘freewheeling’ mode). Naturally the M35h has clever engine controls that turn the V6 off when stationary, and generate power from braking.

All sounds great, doesn’t it? And mostly it is. The cockpit is cosseting, luxurious and well equipped, but the exterior styling looks rather Hyundai-like to me, and by that I mean from the previous generation. The Infiniti M35h also lacks some surprising dynamic essentials, such as proper steering precision at the straight-ahead, a smooth primary ride and the rolling comfort you expect in this class (a Mondeo is better).

Should I buy one?

In sum, the Infiniti M35h is a decent car with a powertrain of rare efficiency, but it’s short on ultimate beauty or desirability.

Infiniti M35h GT Premium

Price: £46,840; Top speed: 155mph; 0-62mph: 5.5sec; Economy: 40.4mpg (combined); CO2: 162g/km; Kerb weight: 1500kg; Engine: V6, 3498cc, petrol, plus electric motor; Power: 359bhp (combined); Torque: 457lb ft (combined); Gearbox: 7-spd auto

Join the debate

Comments
8

8 June 2011

[quote Autocar]

the exterior styling looks rather Hyundai-like to me, and by that I mean from the previous generation.[/quote]

That's unfair........ on previous generation Hyundai's.

Now couple this drive train to the G series coupe and they could be on to a real winner.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

9 June 2011

Performance looks excellent, be good to see what the real world fuel consumption is. Agree the styling looks dated, and not in a classy way. It's good see a car in this class with the weight kept down to 1500kg, especially with all the hybrid gear on board.

9 June 2011

[quote Tatraman]It's good see a car in this class with the weight kept down to 1500kg, especially with all the hybrid gear on board[/quote] That is a typo from Autocar. Actual weight quoted by Infinity is 1830kg. Other interesting number is the boot space, which is 350l - 150l down on the M37. It is indeed a shame that the M is so ugly; and that apparently the dynamics, steering and drive are quite poor as well. Because the drivetrain is very interesting in these CO-emission-crazy times. I would expect a real world fuel efficieny of 27MPG; 50% worse than quoted seems about right for hybrids these days. Still not awful considering the poke at hand.

9 June 2011

Am I the only one who thinks this first drive is a bit sparse of information?? For me the power / economy of the drivetrain is a big deal, ok it's a bit ugly but there must be more to say on the car??

9 June 2011

Since the brands launch I've seen one of these cars on the road and that was the off roader and even that car had dealer blurb written all over it. Says all you need to know about how well they are doing shifting these cars in the UK. The depreciation on this car will make a Citroen C6 look like a great buy. Wait three years then purchase..... That's if they sell any.

9 June 2011

I actually like the styling. Interior looks very good in my opinion.

11 June 2011

roadster 198...........They always said it was going to be hard, you post appears to be laced with 'schadenfreude'. A true car lover would be wishing them well. How refreshing that we all have an alternative to the mainstream anodyne German barges. I would have a G or an EX in an instant if I was in the market for such a vehicle. Whoever signed the M's styling off should be shot. It is wrong on so many levels. I am surprised that the dynamics have taken a slating, that is one area where Infiniti are on par with the class leaders.....perhaps the Hybrid kit has upset the balance? 360bhp and 40mpg....thats a serious achievement.

14 June 2011

[quote roadster198]Says all you need to know about how well they are doing shifting these cars in the UK.[/quote]

Says more I think about our slavish German premium-brand obsession in the UK.

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • 2016 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron UK review
    First Drive
    29 September 2016
    First UK drive finds the facelifted A3 Sportback e-tron remains a first-rate plug-in hybrid that is packed with tech if a little short on driver appeal
  • Citroen C11.2 Puretech 82 Furio
    First Drive
    29 September 2016
    Citroën's city car gets a new sporty-looking trim level, adding visual adornments, but no premium for the 1.2-litre Puretech triple we're driving
  • Mercedes C350e Sport
    First Drive
    28 September 2016
    Petrol-electric C-Class is a surprisingly well-priced alternative to a diesel but not the greatest example of the new ‘PHEV’ breed
  • Car review
    23 September 2016
    Aston kicks off its ‘second century plan’ with an all-new turbo V12 grand tourer
  • Ford Ka+ 1.2 Ti-VCT 85
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    A rounded, refined and well-sorted bargain supermini – once you’re used to the confusing role redefinition imposed on the once-cheeky Ka