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

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

Steve Cropley

Steve Cropley Autocar
Title: Editor-in-chief

Steve Cropley is the oldest of Autocar’s editorial team, or the most experienced if you want to be polite about it. He joined over 30 years ago, and has driven many cars and interviewed many people in half a century in the business. 

Cropley, who regards himself as the magazine’s “long stop”, has seen many changes since Autocar was a print-only affair, but claims that in such a fast moving environment he has little appetite for looking back. 

He has been surprised and delighted by the generous reception afforded the My Week In Cars podcast he makes with long suffering colleague Matt Prior, and calls it the most enjoyable part of his working week.

Join the debate

Add a comment…
michael knight 14 June 2011

Re: Infiniti M35h GT Premium

roadster198 wrote:
Says all you need to know about how well they are doing shifting these cars in the UK.

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

geed 11 June 2011

Re: Infiniti M35h GT Premium

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.

Dan Marius 9 June 2011

Re: Infiniti M35h GT Premium

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