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Infiniti M35h GT Premium 2013 Review

Although this car is a hybrid it should not be confused with fuel misers like the Toyota Prius. In this case the term hybrid translates into performance and plenty of it, with 268kW of power on tap. Think of the electric motor as a new age turbocharger.

VALUE

Infiniti is the luxury arm of Nissan -- just as Lexus is to Toyota -- and says it aims to offer something that set it apart from other prestige brands. At $99,900 our M35h GT Premium sedan is the most expensive of the sedans. But, with the S Premium diesel model priced the same, it makes for an interesting choice.

The hybrid comes with a swag of luxury appointments like leather, wood grain dash, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, satellite navigation and a hi-end Bose sound system. The standard wheels are smallish 18s with 245/50 Dunlop Sport Maxx tyres and an alloy space saver spare is supplied. The 16-speaker Bose system features active noise cancellation just like some headphones.

TECHNOLOGY

The drivetrain consists of a 3.5-litre petrol V6 that puts out 225kW of power and an electric motor with another 50kW, for a combined total of 268kW (and fuel consumption of 6.9 litres/100km). Maximum torque from the petrol engine is 350Nm, with another 270Nm from the electric motor but a combined torque figure is not provided. 

It's the same acclaimed 3.5-litre V6 that has seen service in Nissan's 350Z sports car but that has now ben upsized to 3.7 litres. The engine is hooked up to a 7-speed auto that allows the driver to change gears manually, although steering wheel change paddles are absent.

DESIGN

The goal is luxury with a sporting bent. If you're in the market for a Benz or a Bimmer, you might want to give this one a look, particularly if you're after something a little different. With drive to the rear wheels the hybrid does the dash from 0-100km/h time of 5.5 secs and is billed as the fastest-accelerating production hybrid in the world.

SAFETY

It's designed to get five stars and does so from the American National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) which some might say is a tougher standard than we've got  but as yet it does not have a rating from the Australian NCAP organisation.

Suffice to say the car comes with blind spot warning, lane departure prevention, and forward collision warning automatically brakes if a collision is imminent.

DRIVING

Move off slowly and the car creeps along in near silent, full electric mode. Apply some pressure to the accelerator and the petrol engine springs to life. Punch the accelerator and it takes off with a satisfying growl from the twin exhausts. This car is a chameleon, a car with two very different personalities. 

A knob allows the driver to dial in four drive modes: Standard, Eco, Sport or Snow. With each setting the system adjusts throttle sensitivity and transmission mapping to help optimise performance. It's quiet inside but perhaps not as quiet as a Lexus, and this changed quickly over coarse bitumen that generates quite a bit of tyre noise. We clocked up more than 600km behind the wheel at a rate of 8.8 litres/100km.

The steering is light and the car is prone to wander unless the driver's attention remains focused. The active cruise control system can be annoying and the speedometer reading seems conservative. Because of the hybrid battery pack's location behind the back seat the boot is cut short but deep, smaller than you'd expect in a car this size.

VERDICT

It's comfortable enough and it's certainly got plenty of get up and go, but does not generate the kind of excitement that is going to make you run out and buy one.

Infiniti M35h GT Premium

Price: from $99,900
Warranty: 4 years roadside assist, 100,000km
Engine: 3.5L six-cylinder, 225kW/350Nm
Transmission: 7-speed auto, RWD
Thirst: 6.9L/100Km, CO2 159g/km

Pricing guides

$27,910
Based on third party pricing data
Lowest Price
$23,700
Highest Price
$32,120

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
GT Premium Hybrid 3.5L, Hyb/PULP, 7 SP AUTO $23,700 – 32,120 2013 Infiniti M35h 2013 GT Premium Hybrid Pricing and Specs